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How to Become a CWI in 5 Steps

how to become a cwiThe responsibility of a certified welding inspector is extensive. The CWI manages the operation's oversight. It's hard work but the outlook for a CWI career path is growing and pays well for those willing to shine.

The average CWI salary is $72K/year with increasing demand. The field thrives no matter the economic ups and downs. CWI jobs offer competitive benefits, too, further bonding its opportunity.

Would you like to learn how to become a CWI, tapping this in-demand field? Read on and follow this career path.

Arcing Your Career: How to Become a CWI

A CWI career has a low barriers-to-entry via certification. This is a lucrative opportunity for those wanting to scale their welding prowess. Or, desiring a shift and arc into a new career path. Let's go through the steps on how to become a certified welding inspector.

1. Understand Where You Stand

You'll need to meet an education and experience threshold before you can take the CWI test. The CWI exam requires a 72% passing score (or higher).

Do you meet these AWS requirements?

  • 4/year Bachelors (or higher) or Welding Engineering/Tech + 1/year work
  • 3/year Associates (or higher) or Eng tech/science/Phys. tech + 2/year work
  • 2/year Engineering/Tech courses + Bachelors (or higher) + 3/year work
  • 1/year Trade/Voc. courses + 4/year work
  • HS Diploma (or GED) + 5/year work
  • 8th Grade + 9/year work
  • >8th Grade + 12/year work

Continue work or go back-to-school to fill the needed gaps. Higher education can gap 1-year increments. Push through!

2. Get Your Eyes Checked

You're required to pass a vision test alongside the AWS certified exam.

The process includes:

  1. Filing the VAF (Visual Acuity Form) within 7-months of the exam
  2. Having an eye exam performed by a certified medical professional

The exam factors one's ability to read Jaeger J2 within 12-inches. Corrective lenses are accepted including contacts. The examiner will also check for colorblindness.

3. Study, Study, Study

AWS exams cost $850 - $1,065 depending on membership so you'll want to get it right the first time. There are 3-parts and grants several hours to complete.

Begin studying early, and often:

  1. Go through the official AWS study material
  2. Apply your knowledge alongside our prep course
  3. Consider optional welding inspector training

You're also welcome to attend weeklong seminars. These events are helpful with prep, covering all sections you'll face on the exam.

4. Practice with Dummy Exams

You'll find AWS practice exams through:

  • Amazon
  • Udemy
  • Scribd

Work your way through these practice exams as if they're the real thing.

Include practicing:

  • The 150-question fundamental questions
  • Practical experience including tool identification and use
  • Memorizing and identifying the D1.1 code

5. Take the Real CWI Test

It's time!

  1. Apply for the exam by filing the CWI Initial Application
  2. Use the CWI schedule to choose your destination, and submit forms
  3. Confirm details with AWS
  4. Attend and take the exam

It takes a lot of work gaining the right experience and training. You'll study hard and commit a decent amount of money. But, it'll be worth it once you pass!

Create a Bond with Your Next Opportunity

Trade jobs prove viability no matter what's shaking the economy. A welding career creates stability and incredible income opportunities. Learning how to become a CWI launches this trajectory toward rewarding work.

Ready to apply and grow? Get in touch, learn about our ASNT Level III prep course.

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Career Change: Become a Certified Welding Inspector

How Much Money Can I Make as an AWS CWI?Did you know that more than 50 percent of all products require wielding at various stages of the manufacturing process? The building and construction industry also heavily requires the work of welders.

Welding inspectors work to ensure the safety and integrity of things made by welded machinery.

If you have a keen eye for detail and have a passion for technical roles, this is a career you can pursue.

In this article, we're telling you what it takes to become a welding inspector.

Gain Welding Education and Experience

There are several paths to becoming a certified welding inspector.

You can start your journey by pursuing a bachelor's degree in welding technology, welding engineering or a closely related field. After graduating, you'll only need at least 1 year of welding experience to qualify for certification by the American Welding Society.

If you have an associate degree in welding technology, welding engineering or a closely related field, you'll need a minimum of 2 years of wielding-based experience to qualify for certification.

Another option is to join a vocational training institution and get welding training. This is a popular path among the vast majority of aspiring welding inspectors. There are many welding trade schools, and they're cheaper than pursuing a degree. You'll, however, need at least 4 years of welding-based work experience to qualify for AWS certification.

Holders of a high school diploma, along with those whose highest level of schooling is 8th grade, must have a minimum of 5 and 9 years of welding experience, respectively.

Evidently, the best way to become a welding inspector is to start out as a welder. After gaining sufficient welding experience, you can then seek certification as a welding inspector.

Nurture the Skills Required to Become a Competent Welding Inspector

Beyond obtaining welding knowledge, there are essential skills you need to master.

For example, you need a high attention to detail. The job involves scrutinizing weldments, some in places that are not easily visible to the eye. A keen eye for detail will enable you to spot anything that doesn't meet the applicable standards.

Strong technical writing skills are crucial, as well. After conducting an inspection, you'll write detailed reports of your findings. Analytical skills are also crucial, since your role will involve studying engineering drawings.

Get Certified by the American Welding Society

The last step to becoming a welding inspector is to get certified by the AWS.

The Society offers 3 levels of welding inspector certifications:

  • Certified Associate Welding Inspector
  • Certified Welding Inspector
  • Senior Certified Welding Inspector

Each certification has different minimum qualification requirements. Generally, though, the level of minimum qualifications increases with the seniority of certification.

To get certified, you must successfully complete a certification examination, as well as pass a vision test. Certified welding inspectors must renew their certification every 3 years.

The Path to Becoming a Welding Inspector Is Clear

From increased employment prospects to higher compensation, becoming a welding inspector is a great career move. What's more, we have given you the information you need to make a switch to this career.

And that's not at all. We offer a CWI exam prep course that will get you the best preparation you need to ace the certification exam.

Contact us for more information.

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