Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

5456: Mass Metrology Seminar

The Mass Metrology Seminar is a two-week, "hands-on" seminar. It incorporates approximately 30 percent lectures and 70 percent demonstrations and laboratory work in which the trainee performs measurements by applying procedures and equations discussed in the classroom. The seminar focuses on the comprehension and application of the procedures, the equations, and calculations involved. The seminar includes the operation of the laboratory equipment, review of publications, standards, specifications, and tolerances relevant to the measurements. Training covers mass calibration procedures published in NISTIR 6969 and are suitable for the calibration of mass standards to OIML R111 Class E2 through M3 tolerances, ASTM classes 1 through 7 and NIST HB 105-1 Class F. Training is provided to enable the participant to correctly identify and implement the correct calibration process for each weight classification. Each procedure and the entire seminar incorporates concepts covered in the Fundamentals of Metrology seminar, especially, concepts related to metrological traceability, statistical analysis, measurement assurance methods, uncertainty analyses, software validation, and generation of ISO/IEC 17025 compliant calibration certificates for all measurements made during the seminar.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this seminar, using Standard Operating Procedures 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 29, and 30 and Good Measurement Practices 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14, participants will be able to:

  • IDENTIFY mass artifacts and use appropriate procedures to ensure good quality, accurate, traceable mass measurement results;
  • EXPLAIN highlights and key concepts of each topic to each other and to your managers using the slides and reference materials; and
  • PERFORM mass calibration procedures, use and validate the job aids, and use reference materials to perform laboratory calibrations, including hands on handling of mass standards and balances, calculation of measurement results, integration of measurement assurance, uncertainty analysis, and software validation to produce valid calibration results and certificates.

Materials & Supplies:

Participants are encouraged to bring template versions of the mass calibration certificates issued by their laboratory as a starting point for the calibration certificates to be submitted during the seminar. Alternatively, participants should bring the calibration certificate they generated during the Fundamentals of Metrology seminar as a starting point. The former is recommended! Feedback and suggested changes to ensure ISO/IEC 17025 compliance will be provided during the seminar. Generation of calibration certificates will be required, so come prepared. A number of notebooks and course materials will be provided, so please ensure you have extra luggage space to carry these items.


Successful completion of the Fundamentals of Metrology Seminar is a prerequisite for the Mass Metrology Seminar. The Mass Metrology Seminar is built on the concepts learned during the Fundamentals of Metrology Seminar, applying units, measurement uncertainty, measurement assurance, traceability and Quality Management System concepts to the mass calibration procedures.


It is strongly recommended that you complete the Basic Mass Metrology CD as it will give you a head start on the Mass Seminar, including exposure to the contents of NISTIR 6969, Sept. 2014, Selected Laboratory and Measurement Practices, and Procedures to Support Basic Mass Calibrations and its associated errata pages. Completing the CD should take 16 to 40 hours. Participants are encouraged to read and comprehend as much as possible the content of NISTIR 6969 regardless of completing NISTSP 1001. If you have problems downloading the material, please send Yvonne.branden [at] (Yvonne Branden) a request to mail a copy of the CD.


Laboratory Auditing Program (LAP) problems are assigned at the completion of the course to those metrologists who participate in the NIST OWM State Laboratory Program. Acceptable completion of the problems is required for NIST Office of Weights and Measures Laboratory Recognition in support of mass calibrations. (See Handbook 143, Program Handbook training requirements)

Post-Work Deadline:

One (1) year after class.

Minimum Requirement(s):

To receive a Training Certificate for this course, successful completion requires participants to actively participate in the entire course (e.g., take notes, engage in discussions, ask questions), complete all classroom, homework*, and application exercise assignments, and submit a series of calibration certificates as evidence of completion of all application exercises conducted during the hands-on portion of class exercises (guidance is provided in the course). A written final exam will contribute 50 percent of the grade and the class and laboratory exercises will be 50 percent of the grade. A passing grade (70 % minimum) on both portions is required to obtain a training certificate that indicates “successful completion”.
*Homework note: students generally report taking one to two hours for homework each night.


This training seminar is open to industry and government metrologists.


The current fee for this seminar is $4,200 and is due by October 2, 2017. The registration fee does not cover travel costs. Registration fees for State weights and measures regulatory officials and metrologists are funded by NIST OWM.


Georgia Harris, Val Miller, and Tim Osmer
Phone: (301) 975 - 4014
E-mail: g.harris [at] (g[dot]harris[at]nist[dot]gov)g.harris [at] ( (link sends e-mail))

Technology Requirement(s): 

  • Participants must provide a notebook computer for the Mass Metrology Seminar and be well trained in the development and use of spreadsheets for complex repetitive calculations.
  • Participants must have access to Microsoft Excel (versions 2007 and later are acceptable) and can open and effectively create their own spreadsheets to perform calculations, and use template Excel workbooks that will be provided on USB media.
  • Participants must have administrative rights for the computer so that that files can be transferred to and from it as required by the seminar exercises through the use of USB memory sticks. You must also be able to save/store files to USB media devices to facilitate printing. Internet and network access is not provided during the seminar.
  • Availability of a scientific calculator (minimum 12 digits) and familiarity with its operation is required.
  • Internet access is not provided during the seminar.


NIST / Office of Weights and Measures

You will need a government-issued photo ID (e.g., passport or driver's license) when you check into the Visitors Center at the entrance of NIST on Monday morning. If you will be driving, please bring your Vehicle Registration card also.
PLEASE NOTE: Effective July 21, 2014, under the REAL ID Act of 2005 ( (link is external)), agencies, including NIST, can only accept a state-issued driver's license or identification card for access to federal facilities if issued by states that are REAL ID compliant or have an extension. NIST currently accepts other forms of federally issued identification in lieu of a state-issued driver's license, such as a valid passport, passport card, DOD's Common Access Card (CAC), Veterans ID, Federal Agency HSPD-12 IDs, Military Dependents ID, Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC), and TSA Trusted Traveler ID. See Visitor Information for the latest information.

Visitor Information:

Gaithersburg, MD - Campus visitor information.

Created March 1, 2017, Updated June 2, 2021