Mission Statement
SGA / RFP Policies


Q: What is the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)?

A: Click Here.     



Q: What is the difference between accreditation and certification? 

A: We accredit training programs. We certify individuals and issue credentials as proof of that certification.

Q: Who is eligible for NIMS certifications? 

A: Anyone, anywhere, who is 18 years of age or older. (Students may be younger than 18 years of age, depending on circumstances)

Q: Does my instructor need to be NIMS certified? 

A: No

Q: Does my school, my company or instructor need to be certified or accredited?

A: No

Q: How much does it cost to register with NIMS?

A: There is a one-time registration fee of $40 per person.  Registration is for life, so if you graduate from a training program and two years later find that you need more certifications for your employer, you will still be registered and will only need to pay for the exams you need.

Q: Why should I register?

A: By registering your organization, instructors or students you receive access to a wealth of supporting materials including sample tests, study guides, part prints and standards.

Q: How much does NIMS certification cost? 

A: Level I credentials are $35. Level II and III credentials are $50. There are discounts for accredited programs.

Q: How do I pay? 

A: All payments can be made by credit card, purchase order, or check. Check and purchase order payments must be made well in advance of testing.

Q: Who is the sponsor?

A: The sponsor is usually the instructor or technical trainer of employees.  Sponsors are not required to earn any credentials before students/employees.  Sponsor responsibilities do include:

·  Supervise as students/employees machine parts during the Performance Exam

·  Coordinate with the MET-TEC Committee to have machined parts inspected

·  Sign Performance Affidavits once parts are inspected and approved

·  Fax Performance Affidavits to NIMS

Q: Who or what is a proctor?

A: The proctor is any person of integrity. The proctor cannot be the instructor or anyone with the ability to alter a student’s grade. Proctors duties include:

§    Be present for the duration of the online testing

§    Verify each student by checking IDs before online testing begins

§    Instruct students to log in at www.nims-skills.org and purchase appropriate exam

§    Allow no talking during the exam

§    Allow only the following NIMS-approved items:             

o      Calculator

o      Pencil/pen and blank paper for calculations

o      Machinery’s Handbook or Student’s Shop Reference Handbook

§    Enter your secret proctor code, which allows the student to access the first question.

Q: Are all NIMS tests on-line?

A: They are but we can deliver them in a pencil and paper format to meet special circumstances.

Q: What is a MET-TEC Committee?

A: It is a committee of volunteers from local industry who have access to measuring tools and the time to inspect the performance parts. The committee must have a minimum of three members. Sponsors must inform NIMS of member names and contact information using the MET-TEC Committee form, found on the Resources page of the NIMS website. You must log in to access the Resources page.

Q: What is the performance affidavit? 

A: This is the approval of the performance exam, stating that the candidate’s machined part met our requirements. For machining credentials in a school program it is completed by a sponsor and MET-TEC Committee. For machining credentials in a company with quality certification, it is completed by the inspection department. For all other certifications (e.g. stamping) it is completed by a trainer and his or her supervisor.

Q: Who needs to sign the performance affidavit?

A: For Measurement Materials & Safety there is no performance part – only an online exam, so a performance affidavit is not required

·    Job Planning, Benchwork and Layout requires only the approval and signature of the sponsor

·    For all other Machining Level I and II parts, NIMS requires the sponsors signature and a minimum of two MET-TEC Committee member signatures. (MET-TEC Committees are for school programs only. For company programs with quality certifications, the official signature of the inspection dept. is required in leu of a MET-TEC)

·    The affidavit for CARs is signed by the candidates’ trainer/evaluator

·    For the OJT Trainer Program affidavits for performance demonstration reports (similar to CARs) are signed by the candidates’ trainer/evaluator

Q: I’ve passed the online test, how soon will I receive my credentials?

A: Within one week.

Q: Why should I get credentials?

A: To demonstrate that your skills meet the industry established standards.

Q: What is the passing score or percentage for NIMS exams?

A: The “cut-score” or percentage passing rates are determined by the industry work groups and companies who write and pilot the tests. NIMS cannot release this information.

Q: What do I do if I lost my username or password?

A: Please call us at 703-352-4971 and state that you need a password reset.

Q: There’s a 90 minute time limit for the exam, but is there a time limit between when a candidate registers and when a candidate can take the exam?

A: No

Q: Can I retake the online exam?

A: Yes. Follow the same process as though you were taking the initial exam. The cost is the same.

Q: Is there a time frame on how soon I can retake a failed exam?

A: No. One can retake the exam immediately, as long as the proctor is still present, and you can retake the exam as many times as you necessary.

Q: Do you have to earn NIMS credentials in any specific order?

A: No

Q: Can I start with Level II credentials, and skip Level I?

A: Yes you can, but if you fail the Level II online exam then you must pass the Level I exam before you can retake the Level II exam.

Q: Do I have to earn all of Level I to receive the credentials?

A: No

Q: What is the “Certificate of Special Merit?

A: This is an award given by NIMS to any candidate who earns any seven of the Level I Machining Credentials or who earn any seven Level II Machining Credentials.

Q: I don’t see a part for Level I CNC operator?

A: There is none. You need to complete a Credentialing Achievement Record (CAR) that demonstrates that you possess the skills to operate a CNC mill or CNC lathe. The program does not need to run a NIMS part.

Q: What are Credentialing Achievement Records (CAR)?

A: The Credentialing Achievement Record (CAR) contains a series of skill checks through which you demonstrate that you possess the competency for a particular manufacturing process. NIMS uses CARs for all its manufacturing credentials outside of Machining Levels I and II.

Q: How long are my credentials valid?

A: For a lifetime. NIMS Credentials have no expiration.

Q: NIMS credentials are portable. Will this lead to the poaching of my employees?


This question was best answered by the former chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association who said, “It is better to have my employees trained and have them leave,  then not to train them and have them stay.”  In fact many employers today pay incentives to their employees upon earning credentials.



Q: What is NIMS Accreditation and why should my training program seek to be accredited?

A: NIMS Accreditation is the industry’s statement of approval that the training program meets the industry’s quality standards. Accreditation tells the customer supporters and stakeholders of the training program that they can rely on the quality of training being delivered and be assured that it instructs to the level of the national skills standards.

Q: How do I get my program accredited?


§  Step 1: Submit a one page application for accreditation to NIMS by fax or email.  In response NIMS will send you a Self-Study Kit.  

§  Step 2: Complete the Self-Study Kit within 18 months and return a copy to NIMS.  Samples of the kit are available on our Resources page (users must log in first).

§  Step 3:  A three person NIMS appointed evaluation team will conduct a two day On-Site Evaluation. Accreditation will be awarded pending the team’s review of your program and facility.

Q: How long is the accreditation valid?

A: Accreditation is valid for five years at a time.  Upon expiration, the program will submit an Application for Re-Accreditation, complete a modified Self-Study Kit and NIMS will conduct a one day onsite evaluation.

Q: Where can I find a step by step guide to earning NIMS Accreditation?

A: See the NIMS Checklist Towards Accreditation



Q: Where can I find a curriculum guide for my apprenticeship program?

A: Curriculum guides are available on the Resources page of the NIMS website (users must log in first).  If you have not already done so, register your organization and sign in using the username and password that are to be emailed within 24 hours of registering.

Q: How do I start an apprenticeship program for my company?

A: Read the Guideline Standards for Apprenticeship on the Resources page on our website, and then contact us directly.

Q: I want to be an apprentice. What do I do?

A: Please contact: http://21stcenturyapprenticeship.workforce3one.org/page/about The Office of Apprenticeship

Q: Who sets the wage for apprentices? And is there a training wage? 

A: Apprentices are paid on a graduated wages scale that increases to the journey worker level at the end of the apprenticeship. This wage is determined by the company.

Q: Can I tire the progressive wage scale to NIMS credentials?

A: Yes

Q: Can my apprenticeship program be competency based rather than time based?

A: Yes. The new regulations permit this and we have developed a competency based program for that purpose. Please see the guidelines standards.

Q: Who delivers the apprenticeship training?

A: Apprenticeship is a combination of on the job training and related technical instruction. The OJT portion should be delivered by an employee of your company who is a subject matter expert in that field. We highly recommend that person be certified by us as a NIMS OJT trainer. The related technical instruction can be delivered in a variety of ways including distance learning, classroom instruction, or a combination of both. It should be no less than 144 hours in a 12 month period.

Q: Can I get help from NIMs in setting up my apprenticeship program?

A: Yes! Please contact us. 

Q: What are the benefits of an apprenticeship program?

A: Apprenticeship is structured training in which requirement are known in advance to both the employer and employee. It describes clean and concise expectations through which the apprentice achieves the desired level of competency. Simply stated the guess work is taking out of training.

For all apprenticeship questions please register your organization online with us, at no cost to you.  You will receive a username and password enabling you to access our apprenticeship information on our Resources page.




Q: How can I support, donate, or become involved in advertising or sponsorship?

A: Please contact Brian Franklin at 703-352-4971 or bfranklin@nims-skills.org 


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