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How welders can benefit from becoming a certified welding inspector

CareerBuilder | July 12, 2017

Whether you're hoping for a promotion, a raise, or a leadership role — or looking to make your next career move — becoming a CWI will help you stand out, impressing employers and peers alike.

If you already have experience as a welder, solderer, or brazer, consider becoming a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI). This official certification from the American Welding Society is sure to boost your resume credentials. Becoming a CWI puts you in the company of 97,000 other welders certified by the American Welding Society since 1976. Earning a welding inspector certification shows that you're committed to learning and growing in your chosen field, which appeals to prospective employers.

How welders can benefit from becoming a certified welding inspector

How to become a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

Before applying to take the exam or enrolling in any preparatory classes, check how much education and experience you need to qualify for the certification. If you have a bachelor’s or higher degree in welding engineering or welding technology, you'll need just one year of welding-based work experience; if you have an associate degree in welding or non-welding related engineering technology, you'll need two years of welding-based work experience; and if you have a high school diploma, you need at least five years of welding-based work experience. For other education levels, consult the American Welding Society website.

Once you check your education level and work experience, you need to fill out a visual acuity form [PDF] (signed by a medical professional) and
obtain a passport-style photo for your certification card.

After verifying those four credentials, you can choose to take a pre-exam seminar for the certification offered through the American Welding Society, which can be completed either online or in-person. This course teaches important concepts like welding fundamentals (such as understanding welding symbols), jobsite safety, fabrication math, and basic metallurgy — all topics subject to questions on the final examination.

The exam is divided into three parts: fundamentals (welding processes, definitions and terminology, welding symbols, etc.), a practical section (procedures, welding inspections), and code book applications (fabrication, qualification, materials and design). When you're ready to take the exam, you'll have three chances to pass (receive a score of 72 percent or above on all three parts) within three years.

Once you've become a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), you'll have to renew your certification every three years. Every nine years, however, you'll have to re-certify; you can either take one part of the practical exam again or a two-hour endorsement exam.

Why does the certification matter?

Having this certification communicates that you're knowledgeable, experienced, and reliable to companies seeking to hire new welders, solderers, or brazers — in other words, you'll be able to adhere to codes and standards, you're extremely familiar with the entire welding process, and you have the managerial and organizational skills necessary to keep orderly records. Becoming a Certified Welding Inspector is particularly important for welders, solderers, and brazers because it's accredited by the American Welding Society (AWS), an organization committed to advancing the field of welding on both scientific and industrial fronts since 1919. The AWS has high standards, and so do many employers in this field — show them you mean business by becoming a CWI.

With this certification, future employers will rest easy knowing that your skills and experience is legitimate and that you care about high standards as much as they do. If you have the appropriate amount of education and work experience and you're looking to get promoted at your workplace, take the time to become a Certified Welding Inspector — this small step can give you the forward momentum you need to forge and even more lucrative and promising career.

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