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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.

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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 a certified welding inspector 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 are available at some universities
Job Skills Blueprint reading, mathematics ability, problem solving, communication skills, welding proficiency
Median Salary (2015)* $57,340 (for building and construction inspectors)
Career Outlook (2014-2024)* 8% (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. The program includes hands-on experience achieved by working with a senior certified welding inspector, 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 will be 8% from 2014-2024, with those who are certified, such as certified welding inspectors, having the greatest career opportunities. The median yearly salary for such inspectors was $57,340 in May 2015, 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 8% from 2014-2024, per the BLS; the median salary was $82,220 in 2015.

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 5% from 2014-2024; the median salary for construction managers was $87,400 in 2015.

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