How to Become a CRI: Tips for Success

Last week, we discussed how becoming a Certified Radiographic Interpreter can make you a more valuable asset to your employer. As a CRI, you are your company’s line of defense against poor quality welds and potential lawsuits. This week, we’ll be offering a few tips that can help you attain this important certification.

Tip 1: Know what you need to know. Read AWS B5.15:2010 Specification for the Qualification of Radiographic Interpreters and AWS QC15:2008 Specification for the Certification of Radiographic Interpreters. Both documents outline every aspect of the CRI program and exam. The B5.15 covers the skills and knowledge required of a CRI, while the QC15 gives a detailed overview of the various sections of the CWI exam.

Tip 2: Get Experience: Shadow a CRI, and don’t just observe—practice. Use the opportunity to gain some practical experience reading radiographic images. Although you must be supervised by the CRI at all times when performing interpretation, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a great way to understand how interpretation works. The more experience you can get before the exam the better. The minimum training and experience requirements to sit for the CRI exam are listed in Clause 6 of AWS B5.15:2003 Specification for the Qualification of Radiographic Interpreters.

Tip 3: Don’t Underestimate the Responsibilities of the CRI: According to Kenneth Coryell, longtime instructor of the AWS CRI instruction course, many potential CRIs believe that all they’re expected to do is look for flaws in the weld. However, you’ll also be expected to keep an eye on the quality of the film and image. Features like the image’s contrast, blurriness, darkness, and more must all meet specific standards depending on the code being used for the weld. The AWS CRI Seminar addresses the variety of codes as well because, according to Coryell, most CRI candidates also come in knowing one or two codes.

Tip 4:   Get Involved with a Radiographic Company: Work with more than one certified radiographic interpreter and learn how the whole process works, including documentation requirements and the workings of radiographic equipment. The more you understand and are comfortable around radiography and radiographic equipment, the more you’ll stand out from your peers. You don’t need to know how to take radiographic images to be a CRI, but the better you understand the details of the process, the better you’ll be on the job.

Tip 5: Take the AWS CRI Seminar: As with CWIs, AWS offers a CRI seminar to train potential interpreters. The seminar lasts five days, with the test being given on the 6th day. The seminar also includes $200 worth of books for your use, several of which will be newly updated this coming year. Also new to the seminar next year are updated equipment for image displays and larger class sizes to create more opportunities for people interested in becoming CRIs. The course comes with a 3 year AWS membership and is designed specifically to help you become a CRI.

Tip 6: Study, Study, Study: It’s never enough to simply read through the textbooks and attend the seminar. The seminar covers a lot of material in a relatively short amount of time. Therefore, you should already have a basic understanding of the course material when you begin. It is critical to actively engage in the learning process. AWS B5.15:2010 Specification for the Qualification of Radiographic Interpreters and the AWS CRI Body of Knowledge provide an approximate breakdown of the examination categories and the number of questions drawn from each subject area. They also list the reference publications that are is used in the formulation of examination questions.

Tip 7: Create a Study Plan: It can be difficult to establish just how to go about studying for a comprehensive exam, especially if you have a busy work schedule and haven’t had to study for an exam in a long time. No worries, just follow the recommendations in tips number 2 and 6, in the How to Become a CWI: Tips for Success blog post.

If you have your own tips for people seeking to become CRIs, feel free to share them below in our comments section. If you’d like to learn more about what CRIs do or why you should become one, check out the other articles in this blog series. Visit the AWS Radiographic Interpreter Certification webpage for contact information and the CRI seminar and exam application.

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