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(Superseded by Non-Regulatory Supplement 23 CFR Part 637)

Subject: INFORMATION: Technician Qualification Date: July 17, 1998
From: Chief, Highway Operations Division Refer To: HNG-23
To: Resource Center Directors
Division Administrators
Acting Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator

The purpose of this memorandum is to serve as a reminder that all sampling and testing of highway materials for Federal-aid projects on the National Highway System (NHS), subsequent to June 29, 2000, must be performed by qualified technicians. Suggestions for what constitutes a technician qualification program are also included.

The regulation for Quality Assurance Procedures for Construction was published as 23 CFR 637 on June 29, 1995. This regulation established a deadline of June 29, 2000 for having all sampling and testing used in the acceptance decision performed by qualified technicians.

The primary objective in establishing technician qualification programs is to assure that the technician is capable of performing the appropriate sampling and testing procedures correctly. In addition, it is likely that a technician will continue to perform the test correctly if they understand the importance of the test and the consequences of conducting improper sampling and testing procedures. The ultimate objective is to assure that maximum quality control and superior highway materials are incorporated into the finished highway infrastructure element.

Technician qualification programs can vary in format while achieving the primary objective of qualified technicians. Currently, several State departments of transportation (DOT) have combined to develop regional programs that promote reciprocity as well as establishing qualification requirements. Similarly, many individual State DOT's are pursuing their own programs.

While the State or regional flexibility for a technician qualification program format is readily supported, the following items are offered as suggested elements of a complete qualification program:

  • Formal training of personnel including all sampling and testing procedures with instructions on the importance of proper procedures and the significance of test results,
  • Hands-on training to demonstrate proficiency of all sampling and testing to be performed,
  • A period of on-the-job training with a qualified individual to assure familiarity with State DOT procedures,
  • A written examination and the demonstration of the various sampling and testing methods,
  • Requalification at 2 to 3 year intervals (data from the Independent Assurance program can be used as one element of requalification), and
  • The qualification program should have a documented process for removing personnel that perform the sampling and testing procedures incorrectly.

Grandfathering, the acceptance of a Professional Engineer or Engineer-in-Training certificate, or lifetime qualification are not considered to be appropriate criteria for achieving or maintaining qualification status.

Any regulation questions concerning technician qualification should be directed to Jason Dietz, Materials Group, at 202-366-8534. Questions concerning the development of a technician qualification program should be directed to George Jones, Quality Initiatives Group, at 202-366-1554.

/Original Signed by/
Donald P. Steinke

Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000