Some of the most common questions that we receive at GD&T Basics is regarding the ASME GDTP Certification Exams. (Yes, you can become a certified GD&T expert!) Read on to learn more about the different exams and how to become certified in GD&T.

You probably know what GD&T is and that it is important, but did you know that there are professional certifications for it? The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the governing body of the ASME Y14.5 standard, has created a GDTP certification to recognize proficiency in both interpreting and applying their standard. However, this is not just one test. Rather, there are two different levels, Technologist and Senior, as well as two different releases, the 1994 and 2009 exams.

Which Exam Should You Take?

Technologist vs. Senior

ASME GDTP Technologist Level
Image Courtesy of the ASME
ASME GDTP Technologist Level Exam
ASME GDTP Senior Level
Image Courtesy of the ASME
ASME GDTP Senior Level Exam

Deciding which exam to take depends on how you will use GD&T in your work.

The GD&T Technologist Level Exam is great for people who want to interpret GD&T on drawings that have been prepared by someone else.

Jobs that might find this exam useful include:

  • Machinists
  • Measurement Technicians
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Suppliers working with GD&T drawings

The GD&T Senior Level Exam is great for people who are applying GD&T to prints and are responsible for deciding the tolerances or controls to be used.

Jobs that might find this exam useful include:

  • Those adding GD&T to CAD Drawings
  • Design Engineers
  • QA Plan Creators
  • Tooling and Gage Engineers
  • Process Development Engineers
  • Anyone who influences how a part is designed

While these lists are far from inclusive, they help give you a good idea which test might be right for you. The most important thing to consider when deciding which certification program to take is whether your job requires you to interpret or apply GD&T.

The 1994 Exam vs. the 2009 Exam

In addition to the difference between the Technologist and Senior Exams, there are also two additional versions of the exam. Up until 2017, there was only the 1994 exam; however, the 2009 version has been added since then.

  • The 1994 Technologist Level ASME GDTP Exam – tests your ability to understand drawings using GD&T based off of the Y14.5M 1994 Standard.
  • The 1994 Senior Level ASME GDTP Exam – measures an individual’s ability to select and apply GD&T based off of the Y14.5M 1994 Standard.
  • The 2009 Technologist Level ASME GDTP Exam – tests your ability to understand drawings using GD&T based off of the Y14.5 2009 Standard.
  • The 2009 Senior Level ASME GDTP Exam – measures an individual’s ability to select and apply GD&T based off of the Y14.5 2009 Standard.

Choosing which exam to take is mostly based on your situation. If the company you work for uses the older standard, the 1994 Exams might be for you. However, if you want to be certified in the latest uses of GD&T, we recommend taking the 2009 version of the exam.

Requirements & Pricing of the Exams

When you register for your desired exam, you will also have the option to sign up for an ASME membership for 1-year.

The Senior exam requires your boss to sign off on 5 years of verifiable experience working with GD&T. The Technologist exam does not have this requirement. This makes a huge difference when choosing which exam to take.

Applying for the Exam & Recertification

To apply for the exam, you must:

  1. Provide the following information:
    • Applicant’s contact information (name, title, organization, mailing address, email, phone)
    • Payment information
    • Preferred GDTP Certification
  2. Submit payment to the ASME for the exam
  3. Within 24 hours, you will receive an email to access ASME PC Connect to submit your application.
  4. Once your application has been accepted, you will receive an email on how to schedule your exam at a Prometric Testing Center.

After passing the exam, you will receive a certification that is valid for 3 years. However, please note, that if you take the 1994 exam, it does not certify you for the 2009 exam and vice versa.

When you need to recertify your level, you can do so without having to retake the exam as long as you can verify that you have used GD&T for at least 24 months.

In order to show your experience, you will need to log into ASME-PC Connect and in the Work Experience section add your ‘units’ of experience that add up to 24 months. ASME will then verify this with the reference you have provided.

Exam Content

While the test is never the same, below are some charts that give approximate distributions and the number of questions for the different subjects that will most likely appear on the exam.

To achieve a passing grade on the 1994 Technologist level exam, you must score an overall grade of 75% or higher and no less than 50% on any of the specific categories listed above.

To achieve a passing grade in the GDTP 2009 Technologist level exam, you must score an overall grade of 78% or higher and no less than 50% on any of the specific categories.

To achieve a passing grade in the 1994 Senior level exam, you must score an overall grade of 80% or higher, and no less than 50% on any of the specific categories listed above.

To achieve a passing grade in the 2009 Senior level exam, you must get an overall grade of 78% and no less than 50% on any of the above specific categories.

So Why Should You Take the Test?

So is it worthwhile to take the GDTP exam or is it just another piece of paper? Even if you don’t end up using it directly in your job if you deal with reading and creating drawings, learning the rules of the standard is very important. Being a GDTP certificate holder can have many direct advantages, both for your company as well as yourself:

  • Increases accuracy in communication between customers, suppliers, and staff
  • Reduces costs by decreasing manufacturing errors
  • Improves quality through a high level of engineering design
  • Streamlines your supply chain
  • Instill confidence in your customers as they trust your ability to make the product right
  • Shows that you have a high level of proficiency with mechanical engineering drawings and design
  • Can help you stand out professionally, which is always a great reason for promotion
  • Identifies you as the local go-to GD&T expert

Study Tips

Even if you have been working with GD&T for a long time, you must study for the exam as the test covers a wide range of specific topics. Whether you are taking the ASME Y14.5 – 1994 or ASME Y14.5 – 2009 exam, it is not possible to go into the exam without studying the specifics of these standards.

In addition, just because you have passed the Technologist exam doesn’t mean that you are ready for the Senior level. It is a big jump in difficulty. It is best that after taking the first exam you spend a few years using the knowledge gained from it daily before taking the Senior exam.

If you are interested in taking the GDTP exam, we can help.

If your goal is to become certified in either version of the test, we would recommend looking into our GD&T Professional Training Plan. This program is intended to provide you with an expert level understanding of the standard, covering close to 100% of the topics.

While we do believe in the merits of taking the GDTP Exam – at GD&T Basics, our primary focus is to help you work better with engineering drawings in your day-to-day work. This is what our GD&T Fundamentals course focuses on. The ASME exams include a wide variety of advanced GD&T topics that most people will only utilize 20% of in their job. For this reason – our advanced course, found in our Professional Plan, includes all of the topics that you would see on either of the ASME GDTP Exams. Check out the syllabus for these courses here.

Video Overview of the GD&T Certification Exams

Check out these 3 videos that we’ve pulled directly from our GD&T Advanced course reviewing the ASME GD&T Certification Exams.

In Episode 1, we review what the ASME GDTP Exam is and provide a quick overview of the different exam options available – the Technologist Level and the Senior Level for both the 1994 and 2009 ASME Standard.

In Episode 2 of our ASME Certification Overview Series, we review how to choose which exam to take, requirements & pricing for each exam, how to apply, and what to expect for both the Technologist and Senior Level exams.

In Episode 3 of our ASME Certification Overview Series, we review the benefits of taking the ASME Professional Certification exams. We also provide a list of exam preparation resources that are available in our GD&T Professional Training Program.