06 – Site Readiness

The evaluation site must comply with the criteria in the Skill Standards.

If an evaluation site is being used for the first time, develop a relationship with the site supervisor. Make contact by phone and, if possible, visit the site prior to the session.

There can be no compromise with regard to safety.

Confirm that any machine used by a Candidate for evaluation is in working order and equipped with any relevant guards or safety devices, dust collection, sufficient lighting, safe footing and clear working access.

It is expected educators and supervisors in industry will be working in a site suitable for evaluation.

Safety – when to STOP an Evaluation

It goes without saying that SAFETY is always a consideration in any manufacturing process. Woodworking , by its very nature, can be hazardous to the woodworker and to others in the vicinity. So, when is an operation unsafe to the point of terminating the evaluation?

A rule of thumb that might be applied to all woodworking operations is this:

If a given operation requires PERFECT execution to avoid mishap, then it is NOT SAFE.

A safe working situation is one that allows for imperfection in execution. It provides protection and/or an escape plan.

Safety should first be addressed by the Candidate in the Pre-Op period. He/she should make sure that the appropriate guarding is in place and that any other required tools or equipment are at hand. The Accredited Skill Evaluator shall confirm the Candidate has done so and is ready to begin, without prejudice or approbation.

Personal Protective Equipment

Safety glasses must be worn at all times.

Face masks, shop aprons or other protective clothing can be used. Restrictive or loose clothing or accessories which may, in the opinion of the Accredited Skill Evaluator, pose a threat to safe execution of the operation shall be modified and/or removed prior to the evaluation.


A machine or tool may have a factory-supplied guard, which can be used.

If the standard guard cannot be used, an alternate method of guarding the process must be employed.

If an operation absolutely cannot be done with a physical guard, then the operator must utilize process procedures that “guard” the hands and body through position and technique.

Jigs and Fixtures

By holding the work piece or guiding the tool, jigs and fixtures make the process safer. Hands can be kept away from the cutting tool.

Auxiliary fences, hold-downs, stops and other devices can help control the work piece.

Push sticks and push blocks can be used to keep hands away from the cutting tool.

When to Stop

During the operation, if the Evaluator observes that the Candidate is attempting to complete the operation in a manner that could be deemed unsafe, the Evaluation should be stopped. Incorrect body position, placing the hands in imminent danger from the cutting tool, not using appropriate guarding, restrictive or loose clothing, etc. are all possible reasons. You must be the judge.

05 – Scheduling an Evaluation

If a candidate contacts the WCA to request an assessment, an Evaluator close to the candidate will be identified. If that Evaluator is you, you must decide to accept or decline the invitation.

When you decline you shall notify the Candidate within 24 hours, including your Accredited Chief Evaluator so other arrangements can be made.

When you accept you must contact the Candidate and/or the supervisor of the facility used for the assessments as soon as possible to make an appointment.

Evaluators should select a time which causes minimal disruption to the ordinary routines of the shop/school. If multiple assessments are required, work with the Candidate/s and facility provider to streamline the process.

Multiple assessments (either for several Candidates on the same or similar process, or a single Candidate for several processes) increases the efficiency and benefit to the Candidate and employer and is generally desirable since it reduces the logistical preparation. For example, it takes as much preparation to test one individual as it does for 5 or more.

Educators and supervisors in industry will naturally conduct in-house assessments and scheduling according to their own needs.

04 – The Evaluation Process

The owner or his/her designated representative shall sign an affidavit of suitability and safety on the shop and tools/machines before evaluations begin.

The evaluation site, and all machines/tools/materials to be used, will be inspected and accepted by the Evaluator prior to the evaluation.

Candidates will attest to having read the standard(s) on which they will be evaluated and their understanding of the performance goals and other considerations being observed and their training thereon, including all aspects of safety related to the machine/tool and operation to be evaluated.

The candidate will be given an explanation of the evaluation process prior to the assessment.

The assessment itself will consist of 3 parts:

1. The Pre-operation checklist (Required).

The Evaluator will observe the candidate as s/he performs the activities listed. The result is pass/fail. IMPORTANT :: No Assessment Credits are deducted for the Pre-operation checklist associated with any machine/tool operation.

2. The machine/tool operation

The Evaluator will examine the work piece to determine if the result meets the standard. The result is pass/fail. Each Level of each Operation requires one Assessment Credit in the account of the Candidate in order for the assessment to be entered into the official WCA Registry records.

3. Considerations

The Evaluator will observe the candidate throughout the assessment process and make a judgment as to whether the candidate met the performance standard with regard to safety and correct working procedures, as listed in the Considerations section of the Skill Standards.

  • Result will be pass/fail at the discretion of the Evaluator.
  • The Candidate will be informed immediately of the assessment results.
  • Evaluation measures performance against published criteria, in this case the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America Skill Standards for the Woodworking Industry.

03 – Evaluation Policies and Confidentiality

Evaluation is voluntary. The Skill Standards may be selected for use without coercion, with equal treatment for all, and with the informed consent of participants in an open process.

In order to receive Passport Tool Points, records in the Transcript Archive, and/or Certificates, a candidate must be paid up and in good standing, have purchased enough assessment credits, and must complete all criteria for the selected tool/machine and operation.

  • The Candidate shall acknowledge, by affidavit, that s/he is physically qualified to operate the tool/machine being evaluated.
  • The Candidate shall acknowledge and agree to the terms and policies of the Woodwork Career Alliance and Woodwork Credentials Board Standards and Evaluation programs.
  • The tool/machine used in the evaluation shall be accepted by the Evaluator as in good/safe working condition as a prerequisite to evaluation.
  • The Evaluator shall create and maintain a supportive environment before, during and after the evaluation, which is intended to encourage a successful performance.
  • Evaluators and Candidates shall maintain the security of the Transcript Archive and the records kept therein.

The Evaluator may deny the award of Tool Points(s) to candidates who lack understanding in any subject area in which operators of that tool/machine are expected to have competence, including the stated General Considerations and Pre-Operation criteria.

The Evaluator may, in the event a candidate engages in inappropriate conduct or behavior, reserve the right to take responsive actions, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Reject the application(s) for evaluation and stop the process.
  • Prohibit or preclude a candidate from participation in an evaluation.
  • Prevent a candidate from continuing at any time during an evaluation, including removal of that person from the evaluation site.
  • Invalidate a candidate’s results after evaluation.
  • Issue and enforce any other lesser response to action determined to be appropriate or necessary.


Records of all Evaluators and Candidates in the program shall be confidentially maintained and protected to the greatest extent possible and practical.

Information supplied by candidates is for the confidential use of the WCA and will not be disclosed to any party without the specific written permission of the individual participant.

Information supplied by schools or employers is for the confidential use of the WCA and will not be disclosed to any party without the specific written permission of the school or employer.

All participants in the WCA programs will be required to sign a WCA release form allowing the WCA to verify a candidate’s status to a Skill Evaluator or Chief Evaluator if requested.

02 – How Credentialing Works


Very simply; individuals qualify as a Candidate by purchasing an Individual Membership and being assessed against the Skill Standards Earning Skill Points and experience hours leads to WCA Certifications and Credentials…

Everyone in the program carries a Personal WCA Passport. Woodworkers earn WCA Credentials by accumulating Tool Points in the Passport and by time-on-job. Tool Points are earned by demonstrating competence on tool skills defined in the Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, published by the Woodwork Career Alliance. The skill demonstrations are watched by a Skill Evaluator, a person specially accredited by the WCA to issue Tool Points.

Both the Tool Points and Hours are cumulative, each Credential adding to the one above. The Red, Gold, and Diamond Credentials require a practical demonstration of acquired skills, which will be custom tailored and related to the candidate’s real world working situation and experience.

The Green and Blue Credential could be earned by students in a qualified training program, which may include some time in a manufacturing shop or plant. By the time a candidate applies for the Red Credential s/he is assumed to be employed in the industry.

Summary of Credential Progression:

  • Sawblade Certificate – 10 tool points, >80% on Sawblade Quiz, Enrolled at a WCA EDUcation™ school.
  • Green Credential – 30 tool points, 800 hours (education and/or work)
  • Blue Credential – 60 tool points, 1600 total hours (education and/or work)
  • Red Credential – 120 tool points, 3200 total hours employed, skill demonstration
  • Gold Credential – 180 tool points, 4800 total hours employed, skill demonstration
  • Diamond Credential – 240 tool points, 6400 total hours employed, master project

Every Passport Holder’s credentials are backed up in our database, called the WCA Registry. A person can access their personal record online at the WCA website, using their unique user name and personal password. Passport Holders can export their transcripts to send to educators and/or employers.

01 – Vision Behind the Standards

ASE Patch Proof Small — WCA Evaluator Requirements

Founded in 2007, the Woodwork Career Alliance is the first neutral association to award Credentials to woodworkers. Accredited Skill Evaluators are an essential part of the process.

  1. Individuals may apply for or be nominated by Members of the WCA board, or associated industry partners, to be an evaluator.
  2. All evaluators will be required to agree to a professional ethics agreement.
  3. Evaluators must complete a training process which includes a face to face component.
  4. Evaluators shall respond to regular updates to maintain active status.
  5. Evaluators will complete a self-assessment of their skills and will be authorized to perform skill assessments and issue stamps for the tools/operations in which the WCA determines s/he is qualified.
  6. Evaluators may be skilled tradespersons, machinery technicians, production supervisors, woodworking educators, or anyone possessing expertise in the skills being evaluated and meeting the WCA criteria.

WCA Skill Evaluators

Skill Evaluator candidates must submit an Evaluator Application, and provide the following:

  • Any credential (diploma, certificate, license) that pertains to their qualification
  • A resume of employment in the woodworking industry or woodworking education
  • Three references that affirm the candidate’s skill set
  • List of tools/machines for which competence is claimed, as a part of typical “data collection” for the Application for Skill Standards Evaluator.


You have the desire to become a Skill Evaluator. If you’ve already met the criteria above, continue your journey to accreditation by continuing the Lesson Pages.

  • The ultimate responsibility for operations, tool/machine maintenance, and the actions of the candidate are the responsibility of the educator or employer.
  • The actions and recommendations of the Skill Evaluators are theirs alone.
  • Updates and improvements in the Skill Standards will take place. Notice will be published in Trade Press and on the WCA website. it is the responsibility of the Skill Evaluator to ensure s/he is using the latest edition of the WCA Skill Standards.

The Standards are defined in 2 Levels:

Level 1 is Output oriented.

This might be seen as Entry Level skills.   This person would be able to safely produce wood parts using machines and tools that are set-up and ready for them.   They can produce parts to specification, but are not expected to have in-depth knowledge of the tools or machines they are using. Safe working procedures are stressed here.

Level 2 is Setup oriented.

We could call this Intermediate skill level.   The woodworker at this level will have greater knowledge of the machines and tools they are using and will be expected to complete their own setups and tool preparation. Given plans and specs, they will be able to select and use jigs and fixtures and use appropriate materials to complete the task.

(beyond Level 2) Machine Specialist and Area Specialist.

This person has Advanced skills.   The final criteria for this Certificate are still being developed. The objective is to reward a person with in-depth knowledge about a specific machine or set of machines.

Relation of Tool Points to Levels

Every “level” of every “operation” qualifies as a Tool Point. On a particular Tool/Machine and Operation, most people will pass Level 1 and Level 2 at the same time. That means they spend two Assessment Credits and earn two Tool Points. As you will see in the Credentialing section, it only takes 30 Tool points to earn the Green Credential. That could be done in as few as 15 operations.

Continue to learn more about how Tool Points translate into the actual Credentials.

ASE Online Training Course

COURSE GOAL: To reduce the amount of “classroom” time required at the face-to-face, hands-on training session.

To take this course, you must have purchased a passport and be logged into this website. Once logged in, you should see the course below and be able to take it. If you are not able to access the course, please contact us for help. You will be required to show that you’ve successfully completed this course in order to attend a hands-on training course.