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Certified Welding Inspector: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Learn what certified welding inspectors do, where they work, and how you can prepare to become one. Get career and earnings information, and see what alternative career options are available.

Career Definition for Welding Inspectors

Certified welding inspectors perform visual inspections and tests on welded steel pieces to be used in the construction of buildings, bridges, and other structures. They must be able to notice possible welding defects, use test and measuring instruments, and monitor any repairs to faulty welds. As inspectors, they may perform inspections on location at construction sites or in manufacturing plants.

Places of employment for certified welding inspectors include civil or structural engineering firms, manufacturing companies, construction companies, engineering consultancy firms, and government safety regulating agencies. A certified welding inspector may also work as a self-employed, contracted worker.

Education Training program; associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs are available
Job Skills Blueprint reading, mathematics ability, problem solving, communication skills, welding proficiency
Median Salary (2017)* $59,090 (for building and construction inspectors)
Career Outlook (2016-2026)* 10% (for building and construction inspectors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Some colleges and universities offer an associate's or bachelor's degree in welding technology. Preparatory courses for a certification exam are offered by many technical institutes, colleges, and trade schools. Certification for welding inspectors is conducted by the American Welding Society. Programs include hands-on experience achieved by working with senior certified welding inspectors, seminars, classes, and workshops in standard welding codes and symbols, welding processes, and visual inspection.

Skills Required

A certified welding inspector needs to have good math skills, particularly in algebra, as well as excellent communication and problem-solving skills. Certified welding inspectors should also be skilled at reading blueprints and recognizing and understanding a wide variety of welding techniques.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected job growth for all building and construction inspectors is 10% from 2016-2026, with those who are certified, such as certified welding inspectors, having the greatest career opportunities. The median yearly salary for such inspectors was $59,090 in May 2017, per the BLS. Certified welding inspectors may have the best chances to find employment in cities and urban areas, where the construction of buildings and bridges is more common, than in suburban and rural areas.

Alternative Career Options

Similar careers are:

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers have usually completed at least a bachelor's degree program that prepares them to design and oversee the construction of structures such as bridges, roads, airports, and water treatment plants. Responsibilities include analysis of maps, funding, costs, soil, and building materials, plus the preparation of relevant reports to interested parties. A bachelor's degree and professional licensing is typically required for employment. Jobs in civil engineering are predicted to grow 11% from 2016-2026, per the BLS; the median salary was $84,770 in 2017.

Construction Manager

Construction managers carry out all aspects of implementing building plans. They may hire laborers, work with architects, and keep projects on time and within budget. A bachelor's degree is commonly required for employment, although previous experience is heavily valued, too; construction managers can also earn professional certification, such as the Certified Construction Manager (CCM), Associate Constructor (AC), and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) credentials. The BLS reports that jobs for construction managers are predicted to increase 11% from 2016-2026; the median salary for construction managers was $91,370 in 2017.


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