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An Investigation into the Value and Benefits of the SOLIDWORKS Certification Program

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 1 - Current Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Joseph Rudy Ottway Murray State University

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Dr. Rudy Ottway is an assistant professor in the Institute of Engineering at Murray State University in Murray, KY. He teaches SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, and engineering drawing in the Engineering Graphics and Design program. Prior to academia, he worked as a CAD Analyst with Science Applications International Corporation in Huntsville, AL. He completed a B.S. in Engineering Graphics and Design and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in Technology Management with a specialization in Manufacturing Systems from Indiana State University. His research interests include computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), additive manufacturing, product design and development, and experiential learning.

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Rustin Webster Purdue University, New Albany

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Dr. Rustin Webster is an assistant professor in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University and specializes in mechanical engineering and computer graphics technology. Dr. Webster’s industry experience includes time as a contractor for the Department of Defense as an engineer, project manager, and researcher. He holds a B.S. in Engineering Graphics and Design and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Webster has received various professional certifications from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SOLIDWORKS, and the Project Management Institute. His research interests include ET outreach (e.g., recruitment and retention) and design education with focus areas in CAD, instructional techniques (e.g., project-based learning), and technology.

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This descriptive research study explores the perceived value and benefits of the SOLIDWORKS certification program for students and working professionals. In the last decade, computer-aided design (CAD) certifications have grown in availability and popularity, and CAD software vendors and resellers have made bold claims concerning their value. However, minimal evidence-based research has been conducted to explore the actual value gained from obtaining such a certification. This study involved the use of an online survey given to a cross-sectional sample of certified SOLIDWORKS professionals located in the western region of the United States. Students, educators, and SOLIDWORKS employees and resellers were excluded in an attempt to reduce survey bias. LinkedIn® InMail™ messages containing the survey link were sent to 182 individuals, of which 36 (19.78%) responded. Results show respondents generally perceive SOLIDWORKS certifications as valuable and the benefits of obtaining a certification outweigh the cost. Students achieving a SOLIDWORKS certification may experience a competitive advantage over non-certified candidates when applying for a job. Earning a SOLIDWORKS certification demonstrates a benchmark skillset and indicates a candidate’s level of interest in professional development. In general, this paper sheds light on an emerging academic and professional development trend and more specifically, calls for additional research studies investigating the impact of vendor-controlled certification programs.

Ottway, J. R., & Webster, R. (2019, June), An Investigation into the Value and Benefits of the SOLIDWORKS Certification Program Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32079

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