AWS-CWI vs. CSWIP vs IWIP Certification

What are the various welding Inspectors Certifications?

Are you planning to take a Welding Inspector course and confusing which one is best for your career progression? these are a few questions that came to mind in this case:

  1. Are you a Welder, welding supervisor, or welding professional?
  2. Do you wish to upgrade your skills with AWS-CWI or CSWIP certification?
  3. Do you wish to secure a lucrative job?
  4. Which certification is most suitable for your country?

It’s a very common confusion for many aspirants & they found dilemma over:

  1. Which certification to go?
  2. Which have more value?
  3. Which will land me a good job easily?
  4. Which certification is easy to pass?

After figuring out all these obvious queries for a welder, supervisor, or engineer’s mind. I have tried to elaborate detailed information regarding these both courses.

We must know that both certifications are for welding inspectors. A person having a certified welding Inspector can land easily a job in construction, structural fabrication, railroads, manufacturing, oil & gas, and many other similar areas.

Welding Inspector Certification

Worldwide there are various welding inspector certification schemes. They are in demand in their regions & countries. Following are the main welding inspector certifications & their respective in-demand countries:

  1. AWS-CWI (in the USA, gulf, India, Australia & american contintents.
  2. CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 (in UK, Gulf, Australia & europe)
  3. CWB Welding Inspector (In Canada)
  4. IWIP (In European countries mainly)


The first comparison for AWS-CWI and CSWIP is the certification body. The American Welding Society (AWS) is based in the USA & has a regional reach around the world. The AWS codes (e.g. API 1104, AWS D1.1, ASME Section IX) used for the CWI examination are very well-known for welders, welding supervisors, QA-QC personnel, and engineers.

CSWIP examination & certification is managed by the TWI (The Welding Institute) which is based in the UK. For welding, CSWIP, or called Certification Scheme for Welding and Inspection Personnel is the personnel certification program by the TWI UK. 

Subjects of study for CWI & CSWIP Certification

Candidate has to demonstrate his/her skills as a Visual Welding Inspector and knowledge of Welding processes, base materials, Welding & cutting safety, Duty and responsibility, Welding symbols and drawing, Welding procedures, Destructive tests, NDT (RT, UT, MT, PT, VT, etc.), Weld defects, welding metallurgy, and Inspection & reporting, etc.

While AWS-CWI follows American codes and standards for the exam, CSWIP certification is based on the ISO standards. For example, in AWS-CWI, welding symbols are based on AWS A2.4, and in CSWIP, it is based on ISO 2553 standard. Similarly, it’s a different code for welding qualification & inspection.

Both the certifications have theoretical and practical exams. For CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2, full details about the course, study material, exam tips, fees, and other details are given in the below link.

How many questions are on the AWS-CWI?

For getting an AWS – CWI certificate, the individual candidate requires to pass the following three exams:

  1. Part A- Closed book theory exam having toal 150 objective type questions & need to answer correctly total 108 answers out of 150. Part-A exam duration for AWS-CWI is 2 hours.
  2. Part B- Practical exam
  3. Part C- Open code book exam. Total 46 questions & need to answer 34 right answers.

What is AWS-CWI pass rate?

For passing the exam and getting certified as a Certified Welding Inspector (AWS-CWI) candidate needs to achieve a minimum of 72% score in each part.

Part-A requires the right answers for 108 questions out of 150 objective-type questions. This is a closed book exam and candidates are not permitted to take any study material in the exam. Click here to practice the full Part-A Mock examination for the AWS-CWI examination. Click here for 2nd full mock exam.

Part-B requires 34 right answers out of 46 multiple-choice questions to cross 72% score. Part-B is a practical exam where candidates have given welding defects samples and need to inspect according to the given book of specification. The unit used in inspection is in inches. Part-B exam duration for AWS-CWI is 2 hours. Click here for a sample Part-B exam.

Part-C is for open book codebook examination having a total of 60 questions. The candidate needs to answer correctly a minimum of 44 questions to achieve a 72% passing score. Part-C exam duration for AWS-CWI is 2 hours. Click here to practice the full Part-C Mock examination for the AWS-CWI examination. Click here for 2nd full mock exam.

In part-C candidate has to choose one welding code (AWS D1.1 or ASME Section 9 or API 1104) for this exam, and they can carry a copy of this code with them in the exam. They can highlight or mark in this copy.

Eligibility Criteria of CWI & CSWIP

Watch our YouTube video to learn more about the application process, qualification requirements, vision, test requirements, etc.

Differences between AWS-CWI and CSWIP Welding Inspector

The main differences between AWS-CWI and CSWIP Welding Inspector courses are:

  1. CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 is valid for 5 years while AWS-CWI is valid for 3 years. At the end of this period candidates requires to apply for certificate renewal.
  2. AWS-CWI uses measuring units in inches in the exam, while CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 uses dimensions in millimeters.
  3. In CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 welding symbols are as per ISO 2553 while in AWS-CWI, it follows AWS A2.4 welding standard.
  4. CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 uses all applicable welding & NDT ISO standards while the AWS-CWI uses only AWS/ ASME & API codes & standards. So, AWS-CWI exam is based on american codes & standards while CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 is based on ISO standards.
  5. Total fees of CSWIP 3.1/3.2 is same as AWS-CWI. It sound more for CSWIP but if you compare the certificate duration i.e. 5 years vs. AWS-CWI 3 years, the total cost comes to equal.
  6. CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 certification is in demand in UK, Australia, Gulf and in Europe. While AWS-CWI is used mostly in the USA, Gulf, India & South American countries.

International Welding Inspection Personnel (IWIP)

International Welding Inspection Personnel (IWIP) certification has 3 levels:

  1. International Welding Inspection Personnel- Comprehensive (IWIP-C)
  2. International Welding Inspection Personnel-Standards (IWIP-S)
  3. International Welding Inspection Personnel-Basic (IWIP-B)

IWIP certification is not in much demand in the USA, Canada, Gulf, Australia except in European Countries. So if you reside in the above countries or plan to work there, better to go for AWS-CWI certifications.

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