9-Year CWI Recertification Explained

If you’re an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), then you probably know that at some point you’ll need to do your 9-year recertification. The American Welding Society (AWS) offers a number of ways to complete that recertification. These options are designed to make the process easy, but with each path having its own set of requirements it can be tough to make a decision about how to recertify. Not to worry. In this two-part guide to recertification, we’ll map out your recertification options and offer helpful advice from AWS instructor Professor Jim Greer.

What is Recertification?
Recertification is AWS’ way of making sure your certification remains valuable. The AWS Certified Welding Inspector certification assures employers and practitioners that you have met the nationally recognized requirements embodied in the AWS B5.1:2003 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors. Yet this promise is based on the continued ability of every certified welding inspectors to demonstrate the knowledge and skills contained in this rigorous standard. So, every 9 years AWS requires its certified inspectors to show that they are still able to meet the requirements in the standard.

Paths to Recertification:
1. Examination: The most straightforward of the renewal options is to simply take Part B of the CWI exam. This hands-on test covers a wide range of topics including welding examination and nondestructive test processes, with a focus on visual inspection. Participants are provided with visual inspection tools, plastic replicas of welds, and an Examination Book of Specifications to complete this part of the exam. If you’re a Senior Certified Welding Inspector, you’ll need to take the same two-part SCWI exam.

2. Continuing Education: A much more gradual, but potentially beneficial, option for recertification is to continue your welding education. Throughout the nine years leading up to your recertification, you can accumulate Professional Development Hours (PDH). If you accumulate 80 PDHs you can apply to be certified without taking Part B of the CWI exam. PDHs can be gained in a number of ways, including attending AWS-sponsored seminars and conferences, AWS Section meetings and events, teaching or presenting a technical session at an AWS conference, and more. Section 16.5 of AWS QC1 Standard for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors contains the rules that govern the use of PDHs toward 9-year recertification. Just remember that 20 of the 80 PDHs must be earned in the final three years leading up to recertification.

3. The AWS 9-Year Recertification Course: The AWS Recertification Course is a solid middle ground between taking Part B of the CWI exam and accumulating personal development hours (PDH). This intensive six-day course reviews fundamental principles and current real-world problems encountered in the field. It’s also one of the simplest ways to earn your recertification as it automatically fulfills the 80 hour continuing education requirement for recertification. You can apply for the course online, but don’t wait to the last minute. The standard application processing time is 6 weeks.

4. Endorsement or Certification: Certified Welding Inspectors who have taken and passed one or more AWS endorsement exams prior to their nine-year cycle can apply for recertification without having to meet further examination, professional development hour, or seminar requirements. This is an attractive option because endorsements enhance your credentials and you don’t have to sit for Part B of the CWI exam, accumulate PDH’s, or take the 9-Year Recertification Course.

There’s no right way to recertify. The process is designed to present you with multiple options so that you can choose one that works best for you. However, if you’re still having trouble deciding which option is best for you, or you want the inside scoop on how to make the most out of your recertification, check out some of the tips and tricks offered by AWS recertification course instructor Professor Jim Greer.

As always we invite you to explore AWS Learning where you can find resources to help you advance your welding career, including online courses and virtual conferences that fulfill the PDHs requirements for 9-year CWI recertification.

Is your recertification coming up? Tell us how you plan to recertify in the comments below.

39 thoughts on “9-Year CWI Recertification Explained”

  1. In the first two paragraphs you refer to a CWI as a Certified Welding Instructor? Did you mean to do this? Other than that the article is helpful for someone ready for a nine year re-certification.

  2. I registered for the January 10 – 15 of 2016 9 year Renewal Seminar in New Orleans, the next scheduled Seminar in New Orleans is not until after my certification expires in October of 2016. I am being told that I may not be able to take the seminar more than 6 months in advance of my expiration date, is this true? And if so, why? The Seminar is for the needed 80 PDH and all hours would have all been earned in the last 3 years. This is in compliance with AWS QC1:2007 Section 16. Please advise

    1. With regards to the 9YR course, the reason it is limited to six months, is because the Visual Acuity Record which is only valid for 7 months must fall within your certification expiration date; limiting the time frame one can sign up for the course guarantees that their paperwork will be up to date and current. Also, a time limit is set so that individuals don’t sign up too far in advance for recertification. The six month rule is used across the board with regards to all certifications (with the exception of welder certs).

  3. My certificate is going to expire on October 2016 and I am living in Bangladesh. In this situation how will I attend the 9YR re-certification seminar?

      1. Dear Sir
        Thank you very much for your kind reply.
        I have completed ASNT Level-II certification in RT, UT, MT and PT on May 2016. Is this certification fulfill the requirement 80PDH as per QC1 16.5.7.?

        I am waiting for your prompt reply.

  4. My certificate is expiring on March 1 2016, I am going to attend the SCWI exam on January 2016 in KSA. If I am not pass that exam up to what time my CWI certificate valued. and up to what time I want to complete the SCWI exam.

  5. Are the 9 year recertification, do the locations change or are they always in Denver and New Orleans? Mine does not expire until 2017, but Denver is near. Thanks.

  6. I will be completing my 9 years as a cwi and wants to renew my certificate.
    can you tell me centres in india who takes part b exam and gives training also

    1. I will be completing my 9 years as a cwi and wants to renew my certificate.
      can you tell me centres in india who takes part b exam and gives training also

  7. My AWS CWI will expire on Sept.2016 for its 9th year. I want to have it to re-certify again. Can I use my certification as API 570, API 510, ASNT/PCN RI Level II and ISO auditor which I gained on the last 3 years of my CWI certification as a proof of continuing education so I can recertify again without taking any seminars and exams.

    1. The certifications you mentioned are not covered by QC1 as acceptable certifications that can be used for your 9-year. Per QC1, only if an individual is certified as an AWS CRI, or if they received a previous endorsement through AWS, then these certifications may be used for 9-year CWI recertification. If an individual achieved an ASNT ACCP Level II or III certification, they are awarded 20 PDHs per NDE certification.

      If an individual took courses to achieve these certifications, they can use the hours for their 9-year. A total of 80 PDHs must be submitted and (20) of the 80 hours must have been completed during the last three years of their CWI certification. A certificate of completion and course description must be furnished for the hours being claimed (section 16.5.1 of QC1).

      16.5.7 PDHs may be earned for initial certification as an AWS Radiographic Interpreter or ASNT ACCP Level II or Level III inspector in any non-destructive method listed in AWS B5.1, Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors (except Visual Testing (VT)). Each initial NDE certification will result in an award of 20 PDHs with no maximum of PDHs over the 9-year period. All claims for PDHs under this provision must be accompanied by evidence of the date of original certification.

      16.5.8 PDHs may be earned for initial certification to endorsements offered under the AWS QC1 program. The award of PDHs will be determined based upon the decision of the Committee. Contact the AWS Certification Department for a listing of endorsements and their respective PDH values.

      Section 16 of QC1 indicates all the acceptable methods for recertification.

  8. I was a welding instructor for a United Association apprenticeship program, I’m told hours in the classroom can count towards your renewal.

  9. I have attened American Society of Quality world confenrece in 2013 for three days and attended many presentations on Quality Management. This subject is included in Table 1 of AWS B5.1. Can I claim any PDHs for my 9-year CWI renewal?

  10. How about N.A.C.E. Level II (80 HRS.) ? Seems like here lately, I can’t do a job without Paint being involved. And some require dual cert.’s

  11. My nine year CWI renewal is coming up, if I take the SCWI exam and do not pass it does the CWI stay in effect or does it expire on its last date of the ninth year?

    1. If you test to SCWI and don’t pass, you can still renew your CWI certification. However, keep in mind that if you are taking the SCWI exam close to the expiration of your CWI, you may want to also submit a CWI recertification application in the event that you don’t pass the Senior exam. Those individuals who fail the SCWI exam are still subject to the recertification requirements for CWI and must recertify by the end of their (60) day grace period or lose their certification.

      QC1 states the following:

      15.6 CWIs who are renewing or are at their 9-year recertification but seek SCWI certification must complete two applications. One application shall be for 9-year CWI recertification (by either Part B exam or continuing education) and the other application shall be to take the SCWI exam. CWIs who recertify in accordance with
      16.3.1 of this standard and desire to sit for the SCWI examinations will have to take both the CWI Part B Practical and the SCWI examinations. Applicants for SCWI certification who successfully meet the requirements for CWI renewal or recertification in advance but fail to meet the requirements of 6.1.2 of this standard shall not lose their CWI status.

  12. Carlos,
    Thanks for answering my SCWI question, I am considering taking the “9 year CWI boot camp / 80 pdh course” for my CWI renewal but the location (closest) I would like to attend starts 11/6 ( Chicago,Illinois) but my CWI expires 11/1. In the SCWI response you said there is a 60 day grace period am I correct that my current CWI would actually be good until 1/1/17 which would still allow me to take the boot camp seminar in Chicago?


    1. Glad to help. You can take the boot camp during this grace period, but your certification is considered expired during this time.

      15.3 Certification becomes effective on the first day of
      the month following the date of examination. On that
      same month and day, expiration occurs three years later.
      A 60 day administrative extension period is allowed.
      During this time certification will be considered as
      If the paperwork is received on time and all
      renewal or recertification requirements have been met,
      certification will be reactivated.

  13. Hi,
    I completed the 9 year CWI in 2000. I tried upgrade SCWI in 2000 but failed. I was not able to renew it as CWI since then. I went for an API 510 PV Inspector and got certified. Now my question is how can I get back to being a CWI again?

  14. Hi,

    My 9 year CWI was in 2000. I tried to upgrade it to SCWI in the same year but failed to pass it. I went for an API 510 PV Inspector and passed it. Now I wanted to get back with my Welding Certification. Which is best way to move forward in this situation? Can I go straight again for a SCWI, since I got the 9 year CWI already? Or for CWI first? if for CWI, do I need to go for the whole examination or only Part B? Thank you.

  15. Good morning Carlos am writing from Nigeria. I have an organization that organises CWI training and exams here in Nigeria, I have read your options on recertification, how do I organise my people to attend this seminars, PDH or take the part B alone.

  16. I would like to recertify either by AWS online Learning mode or by endorsement exam through Prometric centres in India.
    Please guide me on these two options.

  17. I’m about to complete the online recertification course offered by Son Set consulting.after I complete the course, what steps do I take to finalize the 9 year renewal with AWS and how much lead time do I need to give AWS to give me my 9 year renewal. My 9 years is up on November 1.
    Thank you

Comments are closed.