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WAQTC Qualification Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Attend This Program?
What is the Purpose of This Program?
What Should I Expect from This Program?
How Much Does it Cost?
How Long Does the Certification Last?
When Can I Take the Exam?
Where Can I Register For The Exam?
Links to Online Training Videos
What If I Do Not Pass the Exam the First Time?
How Can I Reschedule or Cancel My Exam?
Where Can I Take the Exam?
How Can I Get a Copy of My Certificate?


Who Should Attend This Program?

Engineering Technicians and Engineers responsible for sampling, testing and inspection for quality control of soils and aggregate.


What is the Purpose of This Program?

The Federal Government set a deadline of June 29, 2000 that requires any person performing QA/QC on State or Federally funded transportation projects to be “qualified”. As a result, CDOT, in conjunction with GROUND Engineering Consultants, Inc. and Kumar & Associates have implemented the WAQTC soils qualification program.

The purpose of this program is to meet the federal requirements and ensure that individuals responsible for the QA/QC aspects of highway transportation projects are qualified to perform soils test procedures in accordance with the applicable test methods and consistent test procedures.

As of January 2005, CDOT will provide technicians with a qualification for inspection of soils. This will be included in the WAQTC qualification.

CDOT releases a new version of its 203 Specification for Excavation and Embankment as program updates occur.  The current specification now defines requirements to utilize different moisture conditioning, compaction techniques, and testing requirements for different soil classifications and material types.  Therefore, CDOT’s current version of written exams for Soils, Excavation, and Embankment Inspection will have a heavy emphasis on soil classification and laboratory testing procedures used to classify soils.  Another goal of the current written exams is to test examinees on their knowledge and understanding of the new 203 Specification.  In addition to the revised written exams, CDOT will also require examinees to demonstrate their ability to run laboratory tests related to soil classification, and they will be required to identify the different AASHTO Soil Types using similar procedures to ASTM’s Visual Manual Procedure.  These practicals will be in addition to those already required  for WAQTC’s Embankment and Base and In-Place Density Certification.

To assist individuals seeking certification for WAQTC Embankment and Base and In-Place Density, and CDOT’s Soils, Excavation, and Embankment Inspection, CDOT has developed online training videos that are available through our Youtube channel.  Several videos contain recorded Power Point Presentations that provide an overview of the CDOT Soils, Excavation, and Embankment Inspection Manual.  The remaining videos provide a demonstration of the Practical Examinations that participants will need to be familiar with and complete in order to pass their certification.  We encourage anyone intending to certify to view these training videos.  

Currently because of reduced class sizes and increased frequency of certification days due to health and safety restrictions related to COVID-19, CDOT is unable to offer in-person training at this time.  When individuals come in to certify, they will immediately take the written exams without any overview, and proceed directly to the laboratory for Practical Exams.  

We strongly encourage entry level technicians, new employees to the industry, and first-time examinees to watch our training videos.  We also encourage veterans to the industry that are re-certifying to watch the videos to learn CDOT’s current requirements for soils testing and embankment construction; and to refresh their knowledge.  Agencies and consultants are also encouraged to download the manual from this site and provide in-house preparation for the exam to their employees in addition to having them view these training videos.  Hands-on experience and additional training beyond our videos is critical for your employees’ success in passing this certification. 


What Should I Expect from This Program?

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) qualifies soils and embankment inspectors through WAQTC’s Embankment and Base and In-Place Density modules.  This portion of the certification program involves written and performance exams on the WAQTC Materials.  In addition to the WAQTC qualification materials, CDOT desires to have our inspectors familiar with construction practices, geological conditions, testing procedures, and construction specifications that are unique for Colorado.  The second portion of CDOT’s soils and embankment qualification process includes demonstrating a familiarity of the materials contained in in our Soils, Excavation, and Embankment Inspection Manual by passing another written exam with questions related to the manual’s content.  This exam is open-book.  Additional performance exams are also required to demonstrate ability and knowledge to complete other soil tests beyond that which are required to qualify for WAQTC Embankment and Base and In-Place Density certification.

Certification day will generally adhere to the following schedule:

  • 7:30 to 9:30 AM – Soil Inspection Written Exam
  • 9:30 to 10:00 – Break
  • 10:00 to 11:00 – WAQTC Written Exam
  • 11:00 to 4:00 – WAQTC and Soil Inspection Practical Exams (in lab)

All times are approximate, and may vary due to class participation.

Participants may elect to take only the Soils Inspector portion of the certification to become inspectors, however CDOT does require that any individual certifying for WAQTC Embankment and Base must also pass the Soils Inspection portion of the exam. 

Prior to arriving at the examination, you should download and review the WAQTC Embankment & Base/In-Place Density manual

Download Manual (PDF format, 4.8mb)

The manual will provide you with the WAQTC field operating procedures based on AASHTO test methods. These field operating procedures provide you with the necessary information to equip yourself to pass both the written and performance aspects of the examination. It will also include the Soils Inspection Manual.


How Much Does it Cost?

In order to cover the cost of the Colorado portion of the WAQTC Pooled Fund, the cost of the complete exam (Embankment & Base and Soils Inspection) is $160.00 for courses held in Denver, and $210.00 for courses held elsewhere. There is no cost difference for the Soils Inspection certification if taken alone. Each exam requires a minimum of 10 participants and is registered on a first come basis, with preference given to companies providing proctors. Payment is due at the time of registration. While we do allow substitution of participants at any time without notification or additional cost, no refunds will be issued for enrollment, retake or reschedule fees for any reason.


How Long Does the Certification Last?

Currently, initial certification is for three years, and subsequent certifications last five years. Certifications issued prior to 2008 may have been issued for a different duration, so depending on when you took the exam, your certification may be for a different length of time. Please check your certificate for your expiration date.


When Can I Take the Exam?

Courses are generally offered on a monthly basis. Please continue to the Exam Registration Form for a list of available dates.


Where Can I Register For The Exam?

Click the link below to register. You will be required to pay the course fee at the time of enrollment by credit card or PayPal account (CDOT Employees will not be required to pay at the time of enrollment).

Exam Registration Form


Links to Online Training Videos

CDOT Soil Inspector Training Playlist – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLigDEmKztB2SIXuiIrLZtNlyDL7axA05U

CDOT Soil Inspector – Introduction – https://youtu.be/OhSEEntVncE

CDOT Soil Inspector – Chapter 1 – https://youtu.be/-jDbXj47evw

CDOT Soil Inspector – Chapter 2 – https://youtu.be/PGlHJUK3_PM

CDOT Soil Inspector – Chapter 3 – https://youtu.be/97lx7F3DlLk

CDOT Soil Inspector – Chapter 4 – https://youtu.be/v8_eKSqr8Mo

CDOT Soil Inspector – Chapter 5 – https://youtu.be/cW_QcZsEVuQ

AASHTO M145 – Soil Identification – https://youtu.be/U9zHojLCu0I

AASHTO T85 – Specific Gravity and Absorption of Coarse Aggregate – https://youtu.be/KLx_dy4P610

AASHTO R75 – Developing a Family of Curves – https://youtu.be/wLaR0yMHWtw

AASHTO T89 – Determining the Liquid Limit of Soils (Method B) – https://youtu.be/se1iolOV7Ts

AASHTO T90 – Determining the Plastic Limit and Plasticity Index of Soils – https://youtu.be/DilXXf7zNY4

AASHTO T99_T180 – Moisture Density Relations of Soil – https://youtu.be/Q2X_-zXXEIA

AASHTO T255_T265 – Total Evaporable Moisture Content of Aggregate by Drying; Laboratory Determination of Moisture – https://youtu.be/Rcg4OHvvy00

AASHTO T272 – One Point Determination – https://youtu.be/d14ol1siylM

AASHTO T310 – In Place Density and Moisture Content of Soil and Soil-Aggregate by the Nuclear Method – https://youtu.be/ZAF5B_p1Xzs


How Can I Reschedule or Cancel My Exam?

Click the appropriate link below to reschedule your exam. Please note that reschedules cannot be made within 48 hours of the course, and no refunds or credits will be made for no-shows. If your reschedule request is submitted online at least 48 hours prior to the exam date there will be a $35 charge. You will be required to pay the reschedule fee at the time of enrollment by credit card or PayPal account (CDOT Employees will not be required to pay at the time of enrollment).

Course cancellation is not available, but your company may substitute a current registration with an alternate participant at no additional charge. No notification of the substitution is necessary. You may simply send the alternate participant to the exam.

Exam Reschedule Form 


What If I Do Not Pass the Exam the First Time?

If the participant does not pass the written exam, he/she may retake the written exam the same day at no additional charge (first time retest only). Failing participants need to return to a future scheduled class at full charge.

If the participant passes the written portion, but does not complete or pass the practical portion on the date of the exam, he/she may return to one future exam for a $60 charge to retake the practical portion. You will have up to 12 months to complete the practical portion retake. Retakes will be administered at the CDOT Materials Lab at 10:30AM on the date of the exam. Click the link below to sign up to retake the practical portion. You will be required to pay the registration fee at the time of enrollment by credit card or PayPal account (CDOT Employees will not be required to pay at the time of enrollment).

Exam Retake Form

Where Can I Take the Exam?

The exam is administered at the CDOT Materials Lab Training Room, located at: 4670 Holly Street, Denver, CO 80216-6408. Click here for a map & directions.

Please note, exam participants must park in the lots to the east and west of the building (green areas). Vehicles parked on the north side of the building (red area) will be towed. See image below for details:

Call or email with questions, let me know when these updates are complete so I can notify the industry. 


How Can I Get a Copy of My Certificate?

Use the following link to request a duplicate copy of your certificate. A duplicate copy of the certificate will be sent within 2 weeks.

Duplicate Certificate Request

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