How Does the New AWS QC1 Affect CAWI, CWI & SCWI Certification, Pt.1

The first edition of AWS QC1: Specification for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors was published in 1975. Since then, more than 100,000 individuals around the world have met its requirements and received the AWS Certified Welding Inspector certification. Of course, technological innovations and evolving industrial practices necessitate periodic updates. New editions of AWS QC1 were published in 1988, 1996, 2006, 2007 and 2016. This latest edition directly impacts the Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI), Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), and Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI) programs. In this three part series, we will look at some of the revised clauses and how they affect initial application, 3-year renewal, and 9-year recertification.

In this article, we will learn how to identify the changes in the new edition of AWS QC1, examine the difference between AWS QC1 and B5.1 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors, and review the major changes to clauses 4 and 5 of AWS QC1. Part 2 of the series will cover clauses 6 through 10, and part 3 will cover clauses 11 through 16.

If you would like to see the actual text to which we are referring as we move from clause to clause, please click here to download a complete copy of AWS QC1:2016, courtesy of the American Welding Society. The changes we will be referring to are identified in the text of the document. In the foreword, located on page ix, we are told that, “vertical lines in the margin and underlined text indicate a substantive revision from the 2007 edition.” This excerpt from clause 16 of the new edition includes both vertical lines and underlined text to indicate where changes were made. The foreword goes on to list all the changes that are not indicated by vertical lines or underlined text.

AWS QC1 and AWS B5.1: What’s the Difference?
AWS QC1 often refers to AWS B5.1 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors. So, before we discuss the revisions in the latest edition of AWS QC1, it’s important to note the relationship between these sister documents. AWS B5.1 establishes the education, experience, knowledge, and capabilities required to be recognized as an Associate Welding Inspector (AWI), Welding Inspector (WI), and Senior Welding Inspector (SWI). AWS QC1 refers to these qualifications when explaining what is required to become certified by the American Welding Society. For example, in AWS QC1, subclause 5.1 states that, “applicants seeking AWS SCWI, CWI, or CAWI certification shall meet the applicable education and experience requirements as stated in 5.5 of AWS B5.1 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors for the desired level of certification”. The foreword on page ix of AWS B5.1 2013 explains the distinction between the two documents in the following manner:

“AWS QC1 sets the requirements for the AWS Certified Welding Inspector program. AWS B5.1 establishes a basic definition of a welding inspector, and is referenced by QC1. Companies or individuals wishing to establish in-house or internal qualification programs for inspection personnel may use AWS B5.1 as the basis for their program. Companies or individuals wishing to obtain AWS certification must follow the requirements in AWS QC1. Individuals who comply with AWS B5.1 but not with AWS QC1 should not be labeled as AWS Certified Welding Inspectors; only individuals who comply with AWS QC1, as determined by AWS, may obtain that title.”

Now that we’ve covered the relationship between AWS QC1 and AWS B5.1, let’s look at some of the major revisions to the 2016 edition of AWS QC1 in numerical order beginning with clause number four.


Subclause 4.4 CAWI Active Supervision
The Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI) was already required to perform inspections under the direct supervision of a CWI or SCWI. However, direct supervision has been clarified and defined as “active supervision,” meaning “direct on-site or readily available supervision by the CWI/SCWI in the form of necessary instructions to ensure that the CAWI can perform specific evaluations as specified by the employer.” As before, the CWI or SCWI maintains the responsibility for determining final acceptance of the welds.


Subclause 5.2 Education and Experience Requirements for SCWI
Previously, an individual who held a CWI for at least 6 years, then let it lapse for any duration of time (for example, 20 years), could apply and earn an SCWI without first reestablishing their CWI certification. Now, SCWI applicants are can only draw from the last 8 years to meet the 6-year minimum CWI certification status requirement.

Subclause 5.3 Exam Application Requirements
Subclause 5.3 requires applicants to provide more detailed work and employment information. This includes “… a listing of all relevant employers and their contact information when available, the nature of the work performed, [and] the dates of employment.” Applicants attest to the accuracy of the information provided which is subject to review by the AWS Certification Department. It is important to note that false information on the application is cause for rejection and can disqualify the applicant from testing to be an AWS CAWI, CWI, or SCWI. This applies to the first and second 3-year renewals as well as 9-year recertification.

That’s it for part 1 of our series. Come back next week for part 2, and remember to read your own copy of AWS QC1:2016 to find out if and how you might be affected by any of the revisions that aren’t covered in this series.

5 thoughts on “How Does the New AWS QC1 Affect CAWI, CWI & SCWI Certification, Pt.1”

  1. I will be taking the CWI Seminar and exam beginning this weekend. Will I need to use the 2007 version or the 2016 version of AWS QC1 ?

    1. FYI. I just took and passed the CWI exam. Any information that was changed was not questioned on my exam.

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