Certified Welding Inspector is one of the most rewarding and challenging careers in the welding industry. It involves great responsibility, an extensive bank of knowledge, and a significant amount of skill. Some of the best CWI’s are honored with the AWS National Dalton E. Hamilton Award, a yearly prize that recognizes AWS members participating in the SCWI/CWI programs whose inspection, Society, and civic activities have enhanced public awareness of the Society and the CWI program or who have otherwise made an outstanding contribution to the science of welding inspection. In the current edition of Inspection Trends Magazine, four winners of the award offered tips to new CWI’s:
John Willard (2007):
- Do your homework and pay attention to details; you don’t want to have to retract your opinion after you sign your report.
- Ask other CWI’s for help if you encounter a unique situation; most of them understand that we all benefit when one CWI improves in the application of the codes and standards.
- Do not proceed in the face of uncertainty: no one is served by errors and the integrity of the industry suffers.
Phil Zammit (2009)
- Maintain a positive attitude; The vast majority of welders want to do a good job, so compliment good welds, and if you find relevant discontinuities point them out with the attitude that, ‘ these are not normally the work of this welder.”
- Always give the welder the benefit of the doubt except if you can clearly determine there was deliberate fraud, intent to deceive, or something to hide.
Dennis Wright (2010):
- Always be fair and follow the code you are working with; don’t’ make your own rules up as you go.
- Ask questions of other CWI’s and learn from their experience.
- Apply to become a member of a code committee and learn.
Jenord Alston (2012)
- Allow time to review the drawings and become familiar with the work you’re being asked to cover and the code you’re being asked to verify compliance to.
- Take plenty of notes and pictures to record as much detail as possible.
- Keep copies of the welding-related documentation packages of any inspection you are involved with; there is always the possibility that one of them will become Exhibit A in a courtroom
- It pays to put in extra time and effort, even when you are off the clock; every hour you are working you are learning, and this will help you become a better CWI.
- Get involved in your local AWS and sit on their local national committees; the people you meet there can help you grow.
If you’re interested in becoming a CWI, check out the AWO series of blogs titled How to Prepare for the Certified Welding Exam.