Certified Welding Inspector Education Requirements and Career Info

Sep 10, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified welding inspector. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

A certified welding inspector ensures the safety and compliance of various welding projects to protect the public and assure quality of the finished product. Certified welding inspectors will need to have a technical education in welding, as well as the required licensure or certification in the state where they plan to work. The following outlines the educational requirements and job outlook for a certified welding inspector.

Essential Information

Certified welding inspectors check the welding projects in construction, ensure safety and regulatory compliance, conduct inspections, and identify and supervise welding-related repairs. Inspectors are usually experienced welders who have completed a postsecondary training program and earned certification or state licensure.

Required Education Vocational/technical education in welding; an associate's or bachelor's degree in welding technology
Other Requirements State licensing or certification may be required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% for all construction and building inspectors*
Median Average Salary (2018) $59,700 for all construction and building inspectors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Educational pathways for certified welding inspectors include high school welding classes and certificate programs at vocational schools, trade schools, technical schools or community colleges. Candidates can even earn associate's or bachelor's degrees in welding technology before becoming inspectors. Common course topics include introductory welding, gas welding, pipe welding, arc welding, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, physics and mathematics.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), building and construction inspectors may need to be licensed or certified (www.bls.gov). The American Welding Society (AWS) offers three certification levels for welding inspectors: certified associate welding inspector, certified welding inspector and senior certified welding inspector (aws.org). All candidates must meet basic education and work experience requirements in order to be eligible for certification.

The BLS further reported that employment growth for construction and building inspectors was expected to be 7% between 2018 and 2028. It added that those who were certified would have the best job prospects. The average annual salary for all construction and building inspectors in May 2018 was reported to be $59,700, according to the BLS.

Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI)

Certified associate welding inspector (CAWI) candidates must pass a written and practical test. Topics covered on the test include welding processes, quality assurance and mathematics. Candidates need at least two years of experience in a welding-related job. Certified associate welding inspectors can only hold their level of certification for three years, after which they may take the test to qualify for the certified welding inspector credential. CAWI certification is not eligible for renewal.

Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

Like the CAWI certification, the CWI requires individuals to successfully complete a written and practical test. The practical test includes plastic replicas of welds, inspection tools and a codebook. The first knowledge test is a closed-book 150-question exam, while the second knowledge test, taken after the practical exam, is a 46-60 question test in a welding specialization chosen by the applicant. Certification must generally be renewed every three years.

Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI)

Senior certification for welding inspectors calls for at least six years as a CWI and a minimum of 15 years in a welding-related profession. Candidates must pass an eye examination and written test. Certification must be renewed every three years. A 9-year recertification cycle is available for CWIs and SCWIs by examination or by completing continuing education courses.

Job Duties

Welding inspectors check the quality of the metal-joining work done by other welders. Specific job duties depend upon qualification levels and are determined by the employer. In general, certified associate welding inspectors perform inspections under the supervision of CWIs and SCWIs, according to the AWS. Certified Welding Inspectors review various welds to ensure that the join between the two pieces doesn't break, mark defective welds for repair and observe welders in metal shops, according to job listings on Monster.com in Nov. 2011.

Certified welding inspectors are responsible for assuring the quality of welding work done by other welders. They may be certified in one or more specific types of welding that they will be inspecting. A certified welding inspector will need to have technical training in welding technology, and will need to meet the licensing and certification requirements of the state in which they plan to work.

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