How Does the New AWS QC1 Affect CAWI, CWI & SCWI Certification, Pt.2

Welcome to our three part series on the major revisions to the latest edition of AWS QC1 Specification for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors. In the first part of our series we learned how to identify the changes in the new edition of AWS QC1, examined the difference between AWS QC1 and B5.1, and reviewed the major changes to clauses 4 and 5 of AWS QC1. In this article, we will cover clauses 6 through 10. In the next and last part of our series will look at the major revisions to clauses 11 through 16. If you would like to follow along as we move from clause to clause, click here to download your own copy of AWS QC1.


Subclause 6.1.4 Alternative Certification for the SCWI
Subclause 6.1.4 provides an alternative method for CWIs to obtain SCWI certification by earning AWS endorsements. The applicant has to sit for an approved core of mandatory endorsement exams and a specified additional number of elective endorsement exams. These endorsement exams are under development or pending approval. Therefore, CWIs cannot obtain SCWI certification with the existing endorsements. The details of this SCWI certification option will be established at a later date by the AWS Qualification & Certification Committee.

Subclauses 6.2.2 and 7.1 Examination Requirements for CWI and CAWI
The minimum number of questions for the practical portion (Part B) of the CWI exam has been decreased from 46 to 40. This change gives CWI exam developers more flexibility. For example, fewer questions could allow for more time-intensive questions that better differentiate candidates’ abilities in the given testing period. However, it’s important to note that there are presently no plans to reduce the number of questions on the current Part B exam to fewer than 46. The revision was included in this edition of AWS QC1 in order to provide test developers with more options during the recent development of the new Part B exam.

Subclauses and Retesting
The AWS CWI exam is comprised of three segments: Part A-Fundamentals, Part B-Practical, and Part C-Code Book. A retest is the testing of a previously failed segment of the AWS CWI exam. As before, applicants may retake one or more failed segments of the exam without additional training. However, if a candidate has to retake one or two portions of the test a second or third time, he or she will be required to receive 16 hours of additional welding inspection training after each failed attempt ( If a candidate has to retake all 3 portions of the exam a second or third time, he or she will have to receive 40 hours of additional welding inspection training after each failed attempt ( The welding inspection training must be specific to the exam subjects and categories listed in AWS B5.1, and the qualifying training must be documented as per subclause

Subclause Retesting to the Same Codebook
AWS QC1 has been revised to clarify that applicants who fail to pass the Code Book segment (Part C) of the CWI examination are required to use the same code used for the original examination.

Subclause 6.2.6 Codebook Retesting
This new subclause describes a Certified Welding Educator (CWE) exemption: If the CWI applicant previously passed Parts A and B of the CWE exam at or above the CWI level, then he or she need only take and pass Part C at the CWI level in order to obtain AWS CWI Certification.

Subclause 6.2.7 Split Examination
During the 2016 revision of AWS QC1, the Certification Committee was considering changing the testing model of the CWI to require individuals to first pass Part A of the CWI exam before being able to take Parts B and C. That is, Part A would serve as a prerequisite. At the same time, AWS was considering moving some of its testing to computer based testing (CBT) platforms, which would have helped facilitate this new testing model. Subclause 6.2.7 was added to allow for the possibility of implementing this spit examination model in the future. AWS is planning to move most of its exams to CBT in 2017, but the split examination model described in subclause 6.2.7 will NOT be implemented at this time.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that AWS is planning to change its administration of CWI exams in mid-2017. As before, candidates will take Part B of the exam on the day after the conclusion of a scheduled CWI Instructor-led Seminar. Candidates will then have a given amount of time to take Parts A and C at a computer based testing (CBT) location. This is not a split examination as described in subclause 6.2.7 because Part B is not a prerequisite for taking Parts A and C of the CWI exam. In fact, this B, then A and C testing method is subject to the existing rules found in subclauses 6.2.1 through 6.2.6. As before, all three exams scores will be combined to determine if the candidate achieved the scores necessary to become a CWI. This new approach will simply change the timing and location of the existing test segments in order to take advantage of the efficiencies offered by new technologies.


Note on CAWI Limitations
A new note in clause 7 cautions CAWIs that they are now limited on how they can practice inspection activities. For those who are unable to comply with these restrictions, it is recommended to surrender the CAWI certification and to continue to work uncertified. The functions of a CAWI are listed in Clause 4 of AWS B5.1 2013. Clause 4.4 of AWS QC1:2016 contains new, more specific, language about the oversight of CAWIs. See part 1 of this series.


Subclauses 8.1 thru 8.2
Applicants for certification as a SCWI, CWI, or CAWI, must comply with the visual acuity requirements found in subclause 6.1 of AWS B5.1. In addition, QC1:2016 introduces the AWS Visual Acuity Form, which must be completed by a designated medical professional as described in subclause 8.1.1. This subclause also extends the period of validity for visual examinations. Before, candidates had to have received a visual examination no more than 7 months prior to the welding inspector examination or the expiration date for renewal and recertification. Subclause 8.1 extends this period to 1 year. It also states that in the case of a retest, the candidate’s visual acuity record remains valid for up to 1 year from the original examination date. Finally, a new subclause (8.2) describes AWS Certification Photo Requirements.


Subclauses 10.1 and 10.2
New language in subclause 10.1 specifies that certification becomes effective on the first day of the month following the date of examination and that the wallet card will include the photo of the person certified. Subclause 10.2 states that requests for the verification of status and certification number of a SCWI, CWI, or CAWI will now include the certified person’s photo, in addition to the certification number, date certified, expiration date, current status (current, revoked, etc.), and certification limitations (corrected vision, etc.). Current AWS Certification credentials can be verified free of charge at AWS Certification Quickcheck.

That’s it for part 2 of our series. Be sure to join us next week for part 3. Also, remember to review your own copy of AWS QC1:2016 to find out about the revisions that aren’t covered in this series and how these changes might affect you.

3 thoughts on “How Does the New AWS QC1 Affect CAWI, CWI & SCWI Certification, Pt.2”

  1. As a Certified Welder Inspector with the American Welding Society is it a requirement that we get certified AWS QC-1 Certification or is this all ready a part of the CWI Program.
    I’m working on a USACE Project and they asked for this QC-1 Certification. Please advise me in what direction i need to go.

    Charles Herbert IV

    1. AWS QC-1 simply lays out the requirements that need to be complied with in order to be elegible for certification.

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