An unusual sight at construction sites, women make up only 2.5 percent of all construction workers and 2.7 percent of concrete and cement workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite being a man’s world, more and more women join the concrete industry each year and receive certification from the American Concrete Institute. ACI sponsors a number of different types of certifications for concrete workers, many of which have several levels workers can achieve.
The ACI strives to continue its mission of concrete-construction education by offering industry seminars, publishing technical documents and providing scholarships to students pursuing concrete-related degrees. As part of that mission, ACI also sponsors 18 certification programs, including Adhesive Anchor Installation, Field Technician, Craftsman and Inspector designations. Two of ACI’s certifications have a Level I designation: Laboratory Technician and Aggregate Technician.
Both Level I certification programs allow a concrete worker to show potential employers that she has the skills and know-how to perform the duties of that particular job. Employers use the designations to weed out unqualified candidates. Holding an ACI Aggregate Technician Level I certification shows that the employee has the ability to perform, record and report basic field and laboratory results for concrete aggregates. The ACI Laboratory Technician Level I certification proves the employee can perform, record and report laboratory results for all types of concrete and aggregates. Earning Level I certification also allows the candidate to move on to Level II certification to advance in her career.
ACI Aggregate Testing Technician Level I
Earning the Aggregate Testing Technician Level I certification requires the applicant to take and pass two tests. The open-book written test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, and test-takers must score at least a 70 percent or better to pass. The second test is a performance exam where the candidate actually performs a number of procedures; the ACI judges each candidate based on how well she completes the tasks. The tests cover concepts including sampling aggregates; reducing aggregate samples to testing size; sieve analysis; specific gravity and absorption of course and fine aggregates; and total moisture content. Certification holders must renew every five years by retaking the written and performance exams.
ACI Concrete Laboratory Testing Technician Level I
The Concrete Laboratory Technician Level I certification goes hand-in-hand with the Concrete Strength Testing Technician certification, in that earning one means earning both. Candidates must take a 40 multiple-choice open-book test and a performance test. The performance exam covers topics like concrete specimens; flexural strength of concrete; sampling of aggregates; moisture content by drying; and organic impurities. Candidates for this certification must also renew every five years by retaking and passing the written and performance exams. The ACI provides study guides, textbooks and workbooks to help students prepare for the certification exams.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2012 Household Data Annual Averages
- American Concrete Institute: Certification Programs
- American Concrete Institute: Aggregate Testing Technician Level I Certification Program
- American Concrete Institute: Concrete Laboratory Testing Technician Level I Certification Program
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.