What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Do?

Many welders start out without any long-term career goals. However, the field of welding offers many different paths, both in terms of jobs and industries. There are pipefitters, iron welders, sheet metal workers, robotic weld technicians, welding equipment salespersons, welding instructors, welding engineers, and the list goes on. One of the most popular options for welders looking to take the next step in their careers is the role of welding inspector. The AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) certification is an internationally recognized accreditation that can open the door to a highly rewarding and lucrative profession. However, many people thinking about investing the time and money required to become a CWI, aren’t fully informed about what a CWI actually does.

Jackie photo for CWI blog post
CWI Jackie Morris demonstrates how to use a dial caliper to measure the thickness of the material.

“A lot of people think a CWI just looks at a finished weld,” said long-time Welding Inspector Jackie Morris, but this is simply not the case. According to Morris, it’s one of the most common misconceptions about the field. CWIs have one of the busiest and most diverse careers in welding. A CWI is usually expected to handle qualification records, oversee non-destructive testing, make sure proper materials are available during tests, and much more. Morris adds, “If your job is just looking at a finished weld, then economically speaking, something is screwed up.”

In addition to the tasks already mentioned, a CWI is expected to:

Be a Safety Watchdog
You’ll need to make sure that all welding work complies with your employer’s safety regulations, as well as the safety regulations stipulated by local, state and federal governments. If you’re working for an Accredited Testing Facility, you can also expect to help to develop the facility’s quality control program.

Review Documents
Welding Procedure Specifications, building and welding plans, equipment calibration, and welding materials. You’ll be responsible for verifying that all of these documents are correct. You’ll also be instrumental in the development of WPSs.

Inspect the Pre-welding Environment (not just the post-weld)
It’ll be your responsibility to inspect base and consumable materials. You’ll also need to make sure that the correct cutting methods, joint positions, welder settings and even things like clamp placement and alignment are correct.

Monitor the Welding Process
You’ll need to keep an eye on the welding process throughout production to make sure that everything proceeds smoothly and that everyone continues to follow the expectations of the standard.

Inspect Welds
Conduct inspections, and identify and supervise repairs.

Certified Welding Inspectors have a lot of responsibility, but that’s largely because they’re in a position of accountability. CWIs are responsible to the public for the quality of the things they help produce. Bridges, elevators, buildings, vehicles, it’s the CWI’s job to ensure that these things are assembled correctly and okay for public use. CWIs are also responsible to the employers who sign their checks and have a duty to keep the profession respectable. Don’t let all this responsibility shake you from considering a career as a CWI. Inspectors often work on teams, and the responsibility isn’t without its rewards. In our next blog CWI Jackie Morris will identify some of those rewards.

Additional Resources:

AWS Certified Welding Inspector
Inspector Responsibilities
What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Actually Do?
So you want to be a certified welding inspector?

19 thoughts on “What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Do?”

    1. Please read through this page carefully to make sure you qualify to take the CWI exam: http://www.aws.org/certification/CWI/

      Then, review this page to see the body of knowledge covered in the exam and the standards from which that information is taken: http://www.aws.org/certification/endorsebok/index.html

      After that, you might consider taking the online CWI Pre-Seminar to prepare for the CWI live seminar. The first represents 57 hours of in-depth course material covering welding fundamentals, safety, symbols, non-destructive testing and basic math. The second one (the live seminar) is a five-day review of the complete body of knowledge. Note that the live seminar is more of a review of material that should already be familiar with. For example, if you’ve never worked with welding symbols or aren’t familiar with safety codes you are probably going to want to take the online course, or study on your own before attending the live seminar.

      I also recommend reading the AWO series of blogs on how to prepare for the CWI exam: http://awo.aws.org/2013/04/how-to-prepare-for-the-certified-welding-inspector-exam-part-1-the-cwi-exam-playbooks/

      Best of Luck!

  1. Hi, im a welder whit mote than 18 years.on this field, and my dream is become a welding inspector can y’all tell me.whay I need to do.

  2. I am already a welder for about 5 yrs and i am planning to be a certified welding insfector but i dont know where to start and I think I found out here.Maybe i need to get a Non destructive test course first! This will be a incouragement for me.thank you and more power!

  3. Welding is a fascinating and exciting career but also requires patience and meticulous. Not everyone can be two factors that matter. This article is very useful but still need to add some comments for welding and welders

  4. I really want to know what a welding inspector does at work please reply I am really intersted or contact me at whatsapp on 0745092734 or 0788798646

  5. Hello, I am already a CWI and have just gotten my first job. My question is about payment, how do I get paid legally? I’m sure the company will pay me with an official company check but how do I legally deal with it. Do I have to make a company, or just a separate bank account? Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can offer.

    Syed Naqvi

  6. I just recently passed my CWI to the D1.1. I am a 23 year old female that started welding in high school. I went to the Hobart Welding Institute in Troy, OH training course that was 2 weeks long and passed my first try. I would highly recommend this place for anyone wanting to pass their CWI. I had never opened my code book until the class so I believe this class is what really helped me pass.

  7. hello.
    why we don’t go for welding inspection and fitup inspection in night.? light is the only problem or anything else?

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