Educating Technicians to Elevate Asphalt Pavement Quality in Texas Since 1993

The development of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) Hot Mix Asphalt specification was a positive step toward improving the quality of hot mix asphalt pavements in the state.

TxDOT called on the industry to assist them in the research, data analysis, and review of existing QC/QA specifications to generate a comprehensive specification. Through this extensive process, they determined that a certification program for technicians involved in sampling, testing, and designing hot mix asphalt would play a major role in the success of the QC/QA specification.

The Hot Mix Asphalt Center (HMAC) was developed to implement the certification program. Today, the Texas Asphalt Pavement Association (TXAPA) manages and operates the center and certification program that meets TxDOT’s requirements and specifications. A joint TxDOT/TXAPA Steering Committee carries out oversight of the operation to ensure the integrity of the program meets the high standards originally stipulated.

The purpose of the Certification Program for Hot Mix Asphalt Specialists is to develop and maintain a pool of well-trained specialists for the state and contractors to design, test, and manage hot mix asphalt pavements. The intent of the program is to improve the quality and performance of hot mix asphalt pavements through knowledge and understanding of the product.

Currently, the HMAC provides three levels of certification in testing and evaluating hot mix asphalt. These levels include: field laboratory testing (Level 1A), quality management and mix design (Level 2), roadway testing (Level 1B), and in 2019 aggregates specialist (AGG101) was implemented. The original certification is valid for three years. At the end of the three-year period, specialists are required to complete re-certification courses. Procedures for certification include a hands-on demonstration of test performance, evaluation of test performance by a certified evaluator, classroom participation, and a written examination.

The teamwork philosophy that TxDOT and TXAPA used to develop the certification program has enabled the HMAC to gain national recognition as a superior program. Many states have visited the center and have used it as a model to develop their own certification programs.

In 2007, the HMAC began training and certifying technicians in Soils and Base. The center recognizes the importance of the role soils and bases play in construction. The HMAC administers TxDOT’s approved training and certification for individuals in five levels of certification: SB 101, SB 102, SB 103, SB 201, and SB 202.

With the addition of soils and base training to an existing successful program, the HMAC provides all required training and certification for TxDOT and Industry in the QC/QA field.

The HMAC is located just south of Austin in Buda, Texas, in a 10,000-square-foot building containing eight laboratories. Since 1993, nearly 11,000 students have attended certification and re-certification courses at the center.