Welding Inspector Certifications schemes, CWI renewal procedure


Welding Inspectors Importance

Are you planning to be becoming a certified welding inspector (CWI)? If you are creative, have an eye for perfection, and enjoy working in field with your hands, this can be the career for you to enjoy & earn good money.

Certified welding inspectors play an important role in the welding sector. Welding inspector job is to ensure each, and every weld is of high quality, effective and most importantly, meet the standard with safety regulations. This career path comes with a lot of responsibility—but it can be very rewarding for those who have a passion for the welding.

If you’re seeing this career, you’re on the right path. Keep reading to learn all about becoming a welding inspector, types of various certification schemes, from day-to-day responsibilities to the specific steps to become certified.

cwi inspector

Welding Inspection Certification Schemes:

Watch this You Tube video and learn various Welding Inspection Certification schemes.

Various Scheme of Welding Inspection Certification.

cwi certification

Who is a Certified Welding Inspector?

Welding inspectors examine the welding joints, materials and work as a QA/QC personnel in a welding industry. They use various tools & instruments to examine welds and ensure they have been done correctly and meets the code and standard requirements.

There are many different types of welding inspectors, all of which perform various tasks. For example, structural inspectors will spend time on site watching welders create structures and digitally examining them. They also perform the welder qualification and welding procedure qualification along with witness for these tests.

Additionally, some welding inspectors choose to go into the pipeline industry. These inspectors, commonly referred to as CPWIs (certified pipeline welding inspectors), will inspect pipelines and oversee the entire process, from the surveying of the ground to laying the pipes, digging up ditches, inspecting the coating that goes over the welds, and finally, covering the pipes.

What is the work of a Welding Inspector?

Certified welding inspectors are exposed to the conditions just like welders on the field and similar to engineer while in office performing their tasks. On any given day, they will spend time on job sites physically inspecting their welds-looking at them and touching them to see the entire circumference of the weld. This career may involve occasional lifting of materials, which requires inspectors to be physically fit. As the work involve visually inspected the welds, they must have good eyesight either naturally or corrected and must not have color blindness.

In addition to working in the field, inspectors spend time in an office setting compiling their reports. A CWI inspector typically spend anywhere from 30-40% of their time on a computer inputting numbers and making reports and weld maps.

How to Become a Certified Welding Inspector

To be an AWS-CWI, keep reading this post.

The first thing to do is make sure that you qualify for the AWS-CWI exam. Not just anyone can take the test. An individual need to qualify and be approved by the American Welding Society (AWS). AWS is a body that offers the CWI certification.

To qualify for the CWI certification, you need to have a combination of education and work experience. The more education you have, the less work experience you need. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering, you only need one year of work experience.

Equally, the more work experience you have, the less education you need. For example, if you have five years of work experience, you only need a high school diploma or approved high school equivalency diploma to qualify for the exam.

Also, the work experience you submit must be related to welding, steel, or steel quality control/inspection to qualify for the certification requirements.

1. Qualify for the exam: Evaluate Minimum Education and Work Experience

The first thing to do is make sure that you qualify for the AWS-CWI exam. Not just anyone can take the test. An individual needs to qualify and be approved by the American Welding Society (AWS). AWS is a body that offers CWI certification.

To qualify for the CWI certification, you need to have a combination of education and work experience. The more education you have, the less work experience you need. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering, you only need one year of work experience.

Equally, the more work experience you have, the less education you need. For example, if you have five years of work experience, you only need a high school diploma or approved high school equivalency diploma to qualify for the exam.

Also, the work experience you submit must be related to welding, steel, or steel quality control/inspection to qualify for the certification requirements.

For more details on work experience and education requirements, refer this table on AWS website.

Do you Lack Work Experience?

Assume, you don’t currently meet the minimum work experience and education requirements, you can still take the CWI examination and you pass the all exams with a 72% or higher score, you will become a Certified Associate Welding Inspector (AWS-CAWI).

Companies usually hires CAWI and help them get the necessary work experience. After you get the needed experience as a CAWI, you can submit this application form and a fee to upgrade to CWI status without having to take the test again.

Satisfying Missing Requirements

Make sure to check all the requirements for AWS-CWI exam before actually applying for the certification. This includes education, work experience, training requirements.

Visual acuity Examination

CWI work involves visually inspecting the weldments. Therefore, AWS requires to get an eye examination to demonstrate good vision and assess any color blindness.

When you go to the examination, make sure to bring the Visual Acuity Form found on the CWI Initial Application. The eye examiner will be the one to complete the form. You can take the examination with or without corrective lenses. The passing score is Jaeger J2 at 12 inches or greater.

The eye exam is important because AWS will not release exam results without a completed Visual Acuity Form on file.

Understanding Costs for AWS-CWI

Before jumping into any new career path, it’s helpful to understand costs, which is why we’ve included this as part of Step 1. We’ve tried to break out the costs you will encounter to get you close to what you can expect to invest in this career route.

EXAM COSTS
CWI Exam Only: $1,070
SI Certs Training: $1,197 + $300 for molds and tools
Part C Code Book: $355-$432
AWS Membership: $100

Total money required to be invested for CWI: ~ $3,000

2. Pick: Select Your Code Book for Part C

The CWI examination consists of 3 parts – Parts A, B, and C. When you appear for the exam, everyone takes the same Part A and Part B, but Part C can be different based on the selection of code book.

There are eight different Part C code options a person can take for CWI exam as red outlined options below.

AWS-CWI

Regarding Part C help, AWS only has Code Clinics (part of the week-long classroom seminar) for the D1.1 and 1104 – the two most popular code books. They also have an online Code Clinic option for D17.1 – Aerospace.

No matter which code book you choose for Part C, the CWI certification is the same. There is no mention of the code book to your license that specifies which code book you used in the examination.

Choosing the Part C Code Book

Most people take two approaches in selecting a Part C code book. They either choose the one they are most familiar with or the one with the least amount of pages to make the study process easier. Based on this rationale, people often go with the API 1104 code book which is small and easy to understand.

AWS-CWI Upcoming Test Dates

You can check the upcoming test dates and locations on AWS website. The entire test is taken at two different testing locations. Part B is taken on a Saturday at the end of the traditional week-long seminar. Parts A and C are taken at a Prometric Testing Center.

With above link, find your closest Prometric Testing Center. This will help you find where you will need to travel to take Parts A and C examination.

You should also look at the U.S. schedule or International schedule for upcoming Part B test dates. See when AWS is coming to or near your area. After finding the best fit for your schedule, you can work backwards, determining how much time you actually have to study for the test.

The Part B dates and locations are critical because you cannot control when AWS plan any classes in nearby to you. Therefore, you should prepare for the test based on those dates and locations.

Once you have decided on a date and location for Part B, you will see an exam CODE next to each listed seminar and Part B test date. This code is two letters followed by about 5 numbers. This is the CODE you will enter on your CWI application, indicating your Part B date and location preference.

After taking Part B, AWS gives you 60 days to schedule your Part A and Part C tests.

Becoming an AWS Member

There is absolutely no reason not to become an AWS member. The cost is about $100 (which is due annually, but you are not required to renew it), but it will save you over $250 on the cost of the exam alone. Also, if you plan to purchase the Part C code book, you can potentially save another $100+ with discounted member pricing.

Once you’ve decided on a Part C code book, select a test date and location, and become an AWS member, now you’re ready to move on to Step 3: Study.

3. Study: Prepare yourself for the CWI Exam

Given that the CWI exam is six hours long, it perhaps won’t shock you to know that studying for the exam is the most significant step in becoming a Certified Welding Inspector. It is very rare that a person tries this test without going through some type of formal training program.

The pass rate for the test is not very high because it has a lot of material to learn and many test takers do not spend enough time studying.

To adequately prepare for the exam, you should spend many weeks going over the study material. The AWS B5.1 Specification for the Qualification of Welding InspectorsAWS QC1 Specification for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors, and AWS Body of Knowledge has the list of subjects that will be on the test.

During this step, people get help by taking the AWS week-long seminar or going through an exam prep training course. These courses can be useful because you get access to a teacher who has passed the exam and understands the material.

We invite you to check out our online prep course. It has over 80 hours of teaching that you can do at your own pace, multiple practice tests that simulate the real thing, and many quizzes to track your learning progress along the way.

4. Apply: Send in Your Application and Payment

Next, you’ll complete the CWI Initial Application. The application form is where you’ll list your education and work experience. Also, there is an employment verification section that your supervisor or manager needs to sign.

To complete the section about exam locations, check out the Certified Welding Inspector Schedule to see your options and enter the correct exam CODE. You should list three locations, just in case your first or even second location is not available due to any reason.

To qualify for a location, AWS must receive your application by the deadline date of the location. We recommend start this step right after you begin your online study. You certainly don’t want to wait until you finish studying for 80 hours to submit your application that has your chosen test date.

Making CWI Examination Payment

Note that the payment is due with the application submission. This fee includes your Prometric Testing Center fee for Parts A and C. Part B fees need to be paid to the exam Centre.

AWS will give you a validation code that you will use when registering for Parts A and C through Prometric. No payment will be due to Prometric when signing up, provided you use that validation code. The code is good for up to 60 days from your Part B test date.

5.Final Test Day: Your Goal is to Pass the Exam!

If you’ve gotten this far in the process and completed all of your online test prep training, all that’s left to become a CWI is passing the exam.

As you’ve spent months in studying and taken a CWI preparatory course. Therefore, you can be confident instead of anxious when you appear for the exam. You’ve done the necessary hard work to put yourself in a position to pass it.

Tip for you! Make sure to get enough sleep the night before the exam because you don’t want to be sleep deprived. Getting enough sleep is key to having a clear mind to clear the test.

Level of AWS-CWI Certification

1.Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI)

Certified associate welding inspector (CAWI) candidates must pass a written and practical test. Topics covered on the test include welding processes, quality assurance, and mathematics. Candidates need at least two years of experience in a welding-related job. Certified associate welding inspectors can only hold their level of certification for three years, after which they may take the test to qualify for the certified welding inspector credential. CAWI certification is not eligible for renewal.

2. Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

Like the CAWI certification, the CWI requires individuals to successfully complete a written and practical test. The practical test includes plastic replicas of welds, inspection tools and a codebook. The first knowledge test is a closed-book 150-question exam, while the second knowledge test, taken after the practical exam, is a 46-60 question test in a welding specialization chosen by the applicant. Certification must generally be renewed every three years.

3. Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI)

Senior certification for welding inspectors calls for at least six years as a CWI and a minimum of 15 years in a welding-related profession. Candidates must pass an eye examination and written test. Certification must be renewed every three years. A 9-year recertification cycle is available for CWIs and SCWIs by examination or by completing continuing education courses.

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