How to Become a Certified Welding Inspector

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The job of the welding inspector is to examine the bonds and connections between metals. It is done through a visual examination and electrical instruments. For the safety of both users and welder, they adopt strict safety precautions. The American Welding Society offers certification to welding inspectors after some regularized tests. Here is all you need to know about how to become a certified welding inspector.

If you have the creativity and a passion for working in a field that requires dedication and perfection, becoming a certified welding inspector is a suitable career for you.

How to become a Certified Welding Inspector

The applicants have to follow these steps if they wish to get certified.

Registration Process:

The registration form can be downloaded from American Welding Association Official Website.

 The registration fee is $850 for AWS members and $1065 for the nonmembers. The applicant must also choose a code test subject for specialization.

The applicant can choose three locations of their priority. After confirmation, they can arrange conveyance and residence to the allocated city.

Preparatory Courses:

Applicants can also attend preparation courses from different vocational and technical institutes. They are not compulsory to attend. These courses help prepare for code enforcement, the inspection documentation, and safety principles. They also provide practical classes to help candidates learn to use inspection tools.

AWS Seminar:

It is mandatory to attend the five days seminar organized by the AWS, the last day of which is the exam day. It provides some essential training to the candidates appearing in the exam.

The AWS Weld Inspector Exam

The exam consists of three different parts:

  • Vision Test:The eyesight of the applicants should be perfect.
  • Questionnaire and Code Application test: These are open-book exams, usually consisting of 150 questions. They are used to evaluate the candidate’s understanding of themetals, welding symbols, and welding procedures.
  • Practical Exam:The candidates are tested in a laboratory imitating real-life welding environments. Students are assessed for their skills and handling of testing machinery.
  • The minimum percentage required for passing the AWS certification for Welding Inspector Exam is 72.

Education and Experience Required

  • It is essential for candidates to have the bachelor’s degree in welding engineering and 1-year work experience.
  • For candidates with an associate or higher degree in welding technology, 2-years of experience in the welding field is required.
  • For candidates with one year technical courses or high school diplomas, an experience of 4-5 years of welding based work is the requirement.
  • For candidates with schooling till 8th grade or below, an experience of 9-12 years is required.


Becoming a CWI will open up an array of several jobs you can adopt. You can become a “structural inspector” and supervise welders on-site for designing and creating structures. You may choose to become a pipeline inspector. As a “pipeline welding inspector,” you will have to supervise all the processes from the digging of trenches to the laying of the pipes.

Job Description and required skills of a Certified Inspector

Communication: the inspector is responsible to convey the requirements of engineers and designers to welders.

Documentation: The inspectors must know the basic needs of creating survey reports. They should be expert in different Microsoft Office programs essential for creating reports.

Vocabulary: The inspector must be well-versed in the technical welding terminology. This is essential to avoid miscommunication and confusion during their work.          

Perfection: The welding inspector must have the ability to observe the welds to spot the imperfections carefully. They shouldn’t overlook a tiniest of mistake in the welded joints.

Dedication: the most crucial part of the welding career is to stay motivated. This job requires a passion for keeping your knowledge and skills updated.

The Required Skills

The candidates who want to become certified welding inspectors should have a thorough understanding of the following:

  • Thorough knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of metals.
  • Detailed knowledge of welding procedures, including GMAW, GTAW, SMAW, and FCAW.
  • Different testing methods.
  • Interpretation of welding symbols and drawings.
  • Basics of report writing.

Personal Protective Gear

While working on-site with the welders, the inspectors must ensure their own safety as well as the safety of welders. They must wear protective gear before starting their work as well as during practical examination. It will include protective eyewear, leather, and steel-toed boots.

Step By Step Career Progression

Certified Associate Welding Inspector:

Becoming a CAWI does not require any examination. The candidate has to work under the supervision of a Certified Welding Inspector to gain experience.

Certified Welding Inspector:

Candidates must pass the certification exam consisting of a practical and written examination. The CWI certification requires renewal every 3-years.

Senior Certified Welding Inspector:

For becoming an SCWI, an experience of 15 years in the welding field is required. The candidate must pass the eye test and written exam. After that, they are eligible to supervise the welding inspectors.


How long does it take to become a welder inspector?

To become a welding inspector, usually, 5 to 7 years of practical experience in the field of welding is required.

How much does a certified weld inspector make?

The average income of a certified weld inspector is $66,000. They can earn through inspecting bridges, industrial and aeronautical equipment.

Do you have to be a welder to become a CWI?

You must have working experience in the field of welding. It is essential to have hands-on experience and knowledge in welding and nondestructive testing.

Is becoming a CWI worth it?

The CWI certification will help you grow professionally in the field of welding inspection. National and international organizations prefer the AWS certification for hiring welding inspectors. It is a rewarding and promising career.

How do you get a welding license?

To obtain a welding license, the applicants have to register on the AWS official website, select their preferred location, attend the AWS seminar, and appear in the AWS Certification Exam.

Last Updated on May 25, 2021 by weldinghubs

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