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.