Learn how to be an AASHTO lab 24/7

"“…if you do everything that the AASHTO accreditation requires you to do, if you execute all of the requirements of [AASHTO re:source], you will have a well-run laboratory."

Florida Department of Transportation

Tim Ruelke, P.E., Director, Office of Materials

55+ years of experience
PSP participants
samples shipped per year
laboratory assessments per year
accredited labs

Laboratory Assessor Training Program

By Sonya Puterbaugh, Laboratory Assessment Program Director; Michele Bronk and Mike Wagner, Laboratory Assessment Program Managers; and Kate Humphries, Training Manager

Updated: September 2023

The comprehensive training program starts with the hiring and selection process. We pour through hundreds of resumes each year to select the candidates that we will interview for the position. We look for individuals with a technical background, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and a desire to travel extensively. Because our assessment staff are the only face-to-face interaction that our customers have with AASHTO re:source, we take the communication and interpersonal skills of a potential candidate just as seriously as we do the technical skills. Careful selection of the right candidates, who will do an excellent job of providing the high-quality service you have come to know and expect from AASHTO re:source, is crucial to the success of the Laboratory Assessment Program.

Each new laboratory assessor, regardless of previous work experience, is put through a comprehensive training process that lasts approximately six months. The purpose of the program is to ensure that we provide services that are performed consistently and professionally to provide laboratories with assessments of the highest quality possible. The program covers AASHTO re:source’s audit process for quality management systems and laboratory testing for each of the materials types that our assessment covers.

Training generally lasts for 4-6 months and consists of the following components:

  1. Standards Review:
    Trainees will learn the structure of ASTM and AASHTO test methods. Test standards are considered the authority while assessor worksheets used for efficiency and guidance.

  2. In-House Training:
    The In-House Training is broken into 4 modules which are punctuated by training trips. It includes a basic introduction to the industry, AASHTO re:source policies and procedures, and an introduction to the Laboratory Assessment Program (LAP). Observation of test procedures, quality systems, trip planning and preparation, and report writing procedures will also be covered during in-house training.

  3. Proficiency Sample Testing:
    Assessors are required to test AASHTO re:source proficiency samples. The purpose of the Proficiency Sample Testing is to allow the trainee to intimately learn the test procedures and laboratory process through hands-on experience. Proficiency sample testing is completed after an assessor has seen the test performed for them during in- house training. Where possible, time will be allowed for trainees to work on Proficiency Sample Testing during their training period.

  4. Field Training:
    Trainees will complete at least four assessment trips (each approximately 2 weeks in length) with trained LAP staff members to complete their field training.

  5. Competency Evaluation:
    The training program is structured to include multiple forms of evaluation to ensure the trainees’ competency, including self-assessment, peer assessment, and formal observation. All feedback is transparent and collaborative, and the agile training program is responsive to the individual trainee’s needs.

How are we doing?
Feedback from our customers has been key in implementing changes and continual improvements to our training program. What do you think of our assessment staff? Please let us know if there are any ways that we can improve our assessment services by submitting feedback or by sending an email to our Quality Manager, Tracy Barnhart.