CWI vs. CSWIP vs. IWIP Certification: Which one is Best?


Are you planning to take a Welding Inspector course such as CWI or CSWIP or IWIP 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 continents).
  2. CSWIP 3.1/ 3.2 (in UK, Australia, Gulf, Australia & Europe)
  3. CWB Welding Inspector (In Canada)
  4. IWIP (In European countries mainly)

What is CWI: Certified Welding Inspector?

CWI, or Certified Welding Inspector, is a designation earned by those who have met specific qualifications in welding inspection and quality control. CWI’s are often employed by welding contractors, manufacturers, and other organizations that utilize welding in their operations.

The duties of a CWI include ensuring that welders are qualified for the work they are performing, inspecting welds for defects, and maintaining records of welding inspection activities.

To become a CWI, one must first meet certain requirements in education and experience. A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is required, along with at least three years of welding experience OR two years of welding experience and an Associate’s degree in welding technology or related field.

In addition, candidates must pass a written examination administered by the American Welding Society (AWS).

AWS CWI Full Form

The AWS CWI Full Form is the American Welding Society’s Certified Welding Inspector. The AWS CWI is a globally recognized certification that represents the welding industry’s highest standard of excellence. The AWS CWI certification is widely respected and sought after by employers in the welding industry.

The AWS CWI certification process is rigorous and requires candidates to successfully complete a written examination, an oral examination, and a practical welding inspection exam.

The written examination covers topics such as welding safety, metallurgy, blueprint reading, and weld quality requirements & an open book exam for welding code.

The practical welding inspection exam requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to properly inspect welds using various methods and tools. Candidates who successfully pass all three examinations are awarded the AWS CWI certification.

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CSWIP vs. CWI Welding Inspector Course

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. 

Related reading: CSWIP 3.1/3.2 Certification, fees, Exam patterns, Exam tips

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.

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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.

CSWIP 3.1 and 3.2 Difference

CSWIP 3.2 is a much more comprehensive certification, and as such, it is generally more respected by employers. The main differences between CSWIP 3.1 and 3.2 are:

First, CSWIP 3.2 is only available to senior welding inspectors. Second, CSWIP 3.2 requires more extensive experience than CSWIP 3.1 in order to be certified.

Other main difference between the two is that 3.1 covers basic welding principles while 3.2 goes into more detail about advanced welding techniques. This means that someone with a CSWIP 3.2 certification will have a better understanding of how to inspect welds and catch defects than someone with just a CSWIP 3.1 certification.

CSWIP 3.1 certification is available to both welding inspectors and senior welding inspector candidates. The requirements for this certification include passing an examination and having at least two years of relevant work experience.

CSWIP 3.2 certification is only available to senior welding inspectors who have at least five years of relevant work experience. In addition, candidates must pass a written examination and a practical examination in order to be certified.

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AWS or CSWIP, Which is best?

There are many different welding certifications an individual can receive, but the two most popular are from the American Welding Society (AWS-CWI) and the Certification Scheme for Personnel with Welding Inspector Level or also called CSWIP. So, which is best?

There is no easy answer when it comes to deciding between AWS-CWI and CSWIP 3.1. Both have their pros and cons. However, ultimately it depends on your specific needs and goals as to which one is the best for you.

AWS welding certifications are more widely recognized in North America and middle east, while CSWIP is more popular in UK, Europe and Australia. However, both programs are recognized internationally.

Both AWS-CWI and CSWIP offers several levels of certification, from entry-level to advanced.

So, which is best for you? If you plan to work in North America, getting an AWS certification may be your best bet.

AWS-CWI is administered by the American Welding Society, while CSWIP 3.1 is administered by TWI Certification Ltd. Both programs are internationally recognized and will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to become a certified welding inspector.

CWB welding Inspector Course

A CWB welding inspector is a professional who inspects welds to ensure they meet Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) standards. CWB welding inspectors must be certified by the CWB and have at least three years of welding experience.

As a CWB welding inspector, you will be responsible for inspecting welds on a variety of projects, from small-scale home renovations to large-scale commercial construction projects. You will need to have a keen eye for detail and be able to identify even the smallest imperfections in a weld.

In order to become a CWB welding inspector, you must first complete an accredited welding program and then pass the CWB certification exam. Once you are certified, you will need to maintain your certification by completing continuing education credits every three years.

CSWIP Australia

CSWIP is a global organization that provides certification for welding inspectors and engineers.

To become a certified welder in Australia, you must meet the minimum requirements set by CSWIP Australia. These include having completed an accredited welding course, having at least two years of welding experience and passing a written examination.

Click here to find upcoming TWI- CSWIP courses in Australia.

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