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Earthwork and Base Course Technician

The Earthwork and Base Course Technician course is intended to assure an understanding of SCDOT requirements for Earthwork and Base Course construction and competency at performing the proper SCDOT testing procedures needed to monitor this construction.  Individuals who complete this course will be certified to perform Earthwork and Base Course Technician duties on SCDOT projects.  The participants are required to perform mathematical problems that occur while working as an earthwork and base course technician.  The instructors for the course are made up of knowledgeable industry consultants, equipment manufacturers, academia, and SCDOT representatives.

Course Outline:
To become certified, participants are required to attend a four-and-a-half (4½) day course, pass a written exam (open book and open notes) with a score of 80% or higher, and individually demonstrate proficiency (closed book and closed notes) in the required field tests:

NEW FIELD TEST requirements (effective 7/23/18):

  • Participants must score 100% on each individual field test during the field demonstration portion.
    • Sampling of Coarse and Fine Aggregate (SC-T-1 and SC-T-2)
    • Moisture Content with Speedy Moisture Tester (SC-T-22)
    • One-Point Proctor (SC-T-29)
    • Density with Nuclear Gauge (SC-T-31)
    • All SCDOT test procedures may be found on the SCDOT test procedures website
  • If the participant either performs at least one step of the field test procedure incorrectly or skips at least one step of the field test procedure, the participant fails that field test. 
  • For each field test, that participant will have the opportunity for one "re-take" and one "withdraw/re-start" that same day. 
    • A "re-take" may be utilized when a participant fails a field test.  Only one "re-take" is allowed per individual field test procedure. 
    • A "withdraw/re-start" may also be utilized when a participant realizes DURING the field test procedure that he/she incorrectly performed a step or forgot a step and indicates this to the test proctor prior to the completion of that field test.  In this instance, the participant may request to "withdraw" and re-start that field test from the beginning without it counting as a "re-take".  Only one "withdraw/re-start" is allowed per field test procedure. 

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Nuclear Density Gauge Operation and Handling
  • Pipe Construction
  • Soil, Density and Compaction Concepts
  • Types of Samples and Tests
  • SCDOT Sampling and Testing Procedures
  • Geosynthetics and Related Materials
  • SCDOT Specifications
  • SCDOT Forms and Related Calculations

Entry Requirements/What to Expect:
The first day of the Earthwork and Base Course Technician course involves nuclear gauge certification, which is conducted by a representative from Troxler.  All participants attending the Earthwork and Base Course Technician Certification course must attend this portion of the course.  There are NO EXCEPTIONS to the required attendance for nuclear gauge certification, regardless of your current certification status.

Prerequisites for All Participants

  • Experience form signed by a certified Earthwork and Base Course Technician confirming: 
    • EITHER 6 months of related experience in asphalt roadway construction  
    • OR successful completion of the Pre-Highway Construction Inspector/Testing Technician: Asphalt Roadway and Earthwork training course (offered through Tri-County Technical CCE Division) plus 1 month of related work experience. 
    • NOTE: In the case of successful completion of the Pre-Highway Construction Inspector course, participants will be allowed to attempt certification as part of that course without attending a separate certification course. 

Course Materials: 
Electronic versions of the course materials are available below.  However, course materials can be updated at any time, and these electronic materials may not be the most updated version.  The most updated version of the course materials is distributed to all course registrants on the first day the course.   

NEW: SCDOT SC-T-1 Coarse Aggregate Sampling Training Video

Section 1 - Pipe Installation
Section 2 - Geosynthetics
Section 3 - Standard Specification Slides
Section 4 - Problems
Section 5 - Sampling and Testing Slides
Section 6 - CMRB
Section 7 - Soil as a Construction Material
Other SCDOT Resources(*Note)

Note: Other materials in the manual for this course are not posted here because of periodic updates by SCDOT.  Those materials include selected sections of the SCDOT Construction Manual, SCDOT Supplemental Specifications, SCDOT Test Procedures, and SCDOT Forms, and SCDOT QPLs.  The most updated versions of all of those materials may be found on the SCDOT website (


For more information, call (864) 646-1700 or toll free 866-269-5677, Ext 1700 (within the 864 area code) or e-mail