Welders are high in demand workers that are needed in many industries, including auto racing and manufacturing.
Depending on the competency or experience, a welder accesses many opportunities in the career path. One of them is a welding inspector.
Let’s find out what hides behind such a risky but intriguing occupation.
Educational Requirements for Welders/Welding Inspectors
Every welder is most likely to crave schooling or on-the-job training to access high skilled positions, hence, a higher salary.
One should have at least a competency in Math or Physics, as the basic applications involve them two. Such knowledge helps understand, evaluate, and prevent risks or hazards during welding.
Nevertheless, the study does not limit on these two subjects, as certification programs offered by vocational, technical, or trade schools might come in handy as well. Besides, there are many college degrees dedicated to the mastership of welding, which give a head start to future workers.
During the Bachelor’s course, a student learns about all types of welding, equipment, and basic safety standards. Alongside these classes, a student may visit mechanical drawing and blueprint reading as well.
After graduating from school or college, a soon-to-be professional welder dives into practice and training, which will then determine his specialization and certification.
Let’s see the common educational requirements to be a welding inspector:
- A high-school diploma;
- Degree in engineering/welding;
- Experience of 3-12 years, depending on the education;
- Welding Certification;
- Ability to work physically, climb, have professional communication skills related to welding tasks, knowledge of blueprint reading, Microsoft Office programs (depending on the programs available with the employer).
Types of Certifications
According to the American Welding Society, there are 3 levels of certifications for welding inspectors, including:
- Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI);
- Certified Welding Inspector (CWI);
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI).
The first level predetermines at least 2 years of welding experience. To get it, one should pass written and practical tests on the welding basics, maths, and quality assurance. The medical exam is also included, as a welder should have a good sight.
If successful, a welder gets 3-year certification, however, with no renewal as it should be followed by the next training and further certification level – CWI.
The second level predetermines at least 5 years or more of welding experience. The same tests and a medical exam are involved. After 3 years, this certification should be renewed.
The last level predetermines at least 6 years of CWI certification possession and 15 years of welding experience in total. The tests and a medical exam are the same. Renewal occurs every 3 years.
Beyond that, welding inspectors may undergo additional training from time to time to boost their knowledge and/or competency in the field. Before starting training, a welder should gain much experience in applications and be familiar with all the safety standards.
Commonly, at least 4 years of experience prior to training are needed. Note, there will be tests where you have to score at least 72% to become certified.
What Does a Certified and Skilled Welding Inspector Do?
A welding inspector is a jack of all trades. Primarily, this worker ensures all welding operations proceed smoothly and safely. For instance, you should review whether all welders comply with safety regulations established by local, state, or federal governments.
Beyond that, there might be internal company regulations that should be followed as well. It resembles watchdog responsibilities, as you’re in charge of other welders.
Then, a welding inspector also deals with quite boring tasks; however, not less important – documents.
You have to provide and update welding procedure specifications, building/welding plans, safety sheets, and equipment calibrations. You’re a responsible party for all the documents’ correctness.
Every welding inspector is involved in continuous check-ups of welding areas. It concerns not only the post-weld surfaces but pre-weld ones as well. You have to ensure there are no hazards or violations of safety standards.
A welding inspector is the eyes of every welder. You have to keep a close eye on every welding application. It helps ensure the application corresponds to the initial tasks and meets the requirements set by the production expectations.
What Are the Highest-Paid Welding Inspector Areas?
Now, as you know what stands behind a welding inspector, let’s also mention two areas of work where a welding inspector may build a head-spinning career.
First of all, it’s oil, gas, and water pipelines occupations. Pipe welders and welding inspectors involved in such manufacturing tasks are always in high demand.
It’s explained by the high demand for fuel. The best choice is to work in oil rigs or refineries, or other sectors with an oil and gas presence.
Secondly, it’s underwater welding, as it’s one of the riskiest jobs.
If covering the states where the welding inspector will be worth its weight in gold, they are Alaska, North Dakota, West Virginia, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Nevada. Their salaries start from $66K and more, depending on the welding inspector’s experience and skills.
The Bottom Line
Welding inspector is commonly a dream job of every welder who only starts his career path. Training and schooling are not the easiest, as you have to be proficient in Math, Physics, Blueprint, among others.
Besides, you have to be completely confident in everything you do, as mistakes during welding may bear many risks, and they will greatly depend on your mastership.
Weigh all the pros and cons prior to pursuing a welding career, as it’s not for everyone. If you believe you’re open to such challenges, seek training in your state!