Are You Ready to be an AWS Certified Welding Inspector News WELDLINK

A higher income, new career challenges, personal enrichment, there are many reasons why after working as a welder, inspector, or engineer for a few years, many decide to solidify their passion for their profession and become an American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Inspector (CWI). But once they decide they’re interested in taking the next step, many are unsure if they’re ready and what they should do next. Should I Become a Welding Inspector?

For those focused on their long-term career plan, becoming a welding inspector might seem like the logical next step. A welding inspector has several duties and responsibilities including examining welding work to make sure it follows federal, local, and state codes; ensuring that safety codes are followed during projects that involve welding; and testing and examining welds to ensure there are no defects or cracks that can jeopardize the safety of the structure.

Paul Cameron, a CWI who works as a nondestructive examination technician for Braun Intertec and also teaches several AWS Certified Welding Inspector seminars, said a good CWI candidate is also someone who has integrity, good reading comprehension, good writing skills, and is a good communicator. What Does the CWI Exam Cover?

To meet the requirements to sit for the exam, you must pass a vision test and have a combination of qualifying education and work experience, with supporting documentation. As seen in Table 1, the combination of education and work experience varies. Someone with less than an 8th grade education would need a minimum of 12 years welding-based work experience to sit for the exam, while an individual with a bachelor’s degree or higher in welding engineering or welding technology will only need a minimum of one year’s welding-based work experience. But just because you fit into the minimum education/work experience guidelines on the chart doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to take the exam, according to Senior CWI Rick Suria.

For the past six years, Suria, who is also an AWS Certified Welding Educator (CWE) and consultant and owner of Industrial Technology & Inspection LLC, has been teaching the AWS CWI seminar, a week-long course to help prepare individuals for the exam. Over the years, he has seen many people walk into his seminar class thinking they are ready to take the test only to find out they don’t have the basic understanding of everything they will need to know to pass the exam. “A CWI is expected to have a wide range of knowledge and skills. If you don’t have a good comfort level with all the disciplines covered on the test before you walk into the seminar, you are not ready,” said Suria. The Right Knowledge

Cameron believes a candidate’s success is highly dependent on what he or she knows about the fundamentals of welding. “The thing with the fundamentals of welding…they touch every section of the test,” said Cameron. “An example, you could get a code book or hands-on [exam] question that mentions little more than the welding electrode E7028. From that electrode designation, you would already have to know what process the question is referring to, the position limitations, and that that is a low-hydrogen process.”

Suria agrees that a well-rounded background is key, especially for someone who has only ever welded. “If you haven’t worked as an inspector, you have probably never seen the code book. If you’re just welding in a shop, you may have not ever used the hand tools required to inspect a weld. You don’t know how to use gauges.” Hit the Books and the Web

There are several classes and seminars offered year-round by AWS as well as other training and educational institutions to help prepare candidates for the CWI exam. The AWS Welding Inspector Seminar takes places the week of the test to best help prepare candidates for success. The seminars offer expert instructors, guided instruction materials, including homework, practice exams, realistic replica training sets, a copy of D1.1:2015 for seminar/exam registrants testing to D1.1, a copy of the Code Clinic Reference Manual, and a copy of the the API Code Clinic Study Guide for registrants testing to the API 1104.

For those candidates who aren’t sure if they have enough knowledge to sign up for the seminar and exam, Suria recommends the AWS online CWI Pre-Seminar, a program compromised of seven courses designed to prepare you for the extensive body of knowledge reviewed during the live seminar. Each self-paced course is divided into interactive modules with quizzes, tests, and learning activities that map out the skills and knowledge points needed to become a CWI. “The online seminar lets you find out what you don’t know. And you don’t know what you don’t know until you find out you don’t know it,” he said. “The pre-seminar gives you a little taste of what’s going to be covered on the test, and if you have a weak background, it’s the perfect tool. CWI seminars are a refresher. It’s going to be a review, tips, questions, and answers.”