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Welding Inspection

Weld quality assurance is the use of technological methods and actions to test or assure the quality of welds,
and secondarily to confirm the presence, location and coverage of welds. In manufacturing, welds are used to
join two or more metal surfaces. Because these connections may encounter loads and fatigue during product
lifetime, there is a chance they may fail if not created to proper specification.

Prior to welding a joint it is incumbent on the fabricator to establish a number of factors to ensure he is
familiar with all parameters and requirements relating to the joint.

What is the required quality level to be achieved.

What is the acceptance criteria.
Does the weld need to comply with the PED (pressure equipment directive) or CE
Is there a suitably approved weld procedure for the joint.
Is the welder qualified within the terms of the approved procedure.
Have the parameters of the procedure been adhered to.
Control and certification of consumables.
Control and certification for parent material.
Amperage and polarity.
Requirements for pre heat / control of cooling.

Weld testing and analysis

Methods of weld testing and analysis are used to assure the quality and correctness of the weld after it is
completed. This term generally refers to testing and analysis focused on the quality and strength of the weld,
but may refer to technological actions to check for the presence, position and extent of welds.

Should I Become a Welding Inspector?

Welding inspectors examine the connections and bonds between metals. Inspectors use visual tools and
electrical instruments to check and ensure the quality and safety of connections.
In addition to working in the field completing their examinations of welding projects, inspectors spend time in
an office setting compiling their reports. The majority of inspectors work on a full-time basis, primarily during
business workdays. Some risk may be associated with this profession; welding inspectors utilize protective
gear during their evaluations to keep themselves from harm on welding sites.

Career Requirements
High school diploma; postsecondary education can help students advance to a welding
Degree Level
inspector position

Degree Field Engineering, engineering technology

Experience Varies; instructor certification requires 3-12 years experience, depending on education

Certification Certification may be required or preferred by employers

Ability to perform physical work and climbing as part of the job, communication
Key Skills
skills, familiarity with blueprint reading, familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel

Median Salary
Sources: American Welding Society, Job listings accessed during December 2012, * (2016)

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Becoming a Welding Inspector

Now let's check out the specific steps you can take to become a welding inspector.

Step 1: Earn a Postsecondary Education

Formal training through a community college or vocational school isn't required, but some employers seek
welding inspectors with postsecondary education. Technical programs in welding typically last 1-2 years and
result in a welding diploma or certificate. Topics generally include blueprint reading, metallurgy, fabrication,
and arc welding. Students might also consider 2-year associate's degree programs in welding technology.
These programs often include general education coursework as well as welding-specific classes in arc, gas
tungsten arc, and pipe welding.
To really shine, bolster related skills. Skills in creating objects and designing diagrams can be developed in
courses like mathematics, wood or metal shop, and drafting. Welding inspectors must use mathematics in
calculations to determine the strength of the weld as well as drafting skills to examine and evaluate other
welders' designs.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Welders work in a variety of industries, including construction, aerospace, and machinery manufacturing.
Before moving into the role of inspector, welders might perform entry-level work, such as cleaning and
degreasing parts, checking angles and dimensions for accuracy, inspecting equipment, and mixing and
applying protective coatings.
As new hires gain experience, they might advance to reading blueprints and using their knowledge and skills in
metallurgy and welding to join, bind, and fuse two or more metals together. Skilled welders might move on to
even more complex tasks, such as welding difficult angles or materials, like titanium or steel. Advanced
welders can also develop templates and models, estimate parts and labor costs, and examine work for defects.
Promotion to welding inspector could include duties like writing inspection reports, ensuring that equipment
complies with engineering, welding and testing standards, and training other welding staff.
It can be helpful to participate in an apprenticeship or internship. Completion of an internship is one way to
gain experience in the welding field. Some unions will assist aspiring welders in securing internships.

Step 3: Pass Welding Inspector Certification Exam

Welders who have attained a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree and completed 3-4 years of
documented work experience may apply to become Certified Welding Inspectors (CWIs) from the American
Welding Society (AWS). The certification exam covers three areas, including welding fundamentals, practical
applications, and welding code application. Certifications generally last three years; however, CWIs can take
additional exams or courses in order to prolong recertification for up to nine years.
You can also consider attaining endorsements. CWIs also can earn supplemental inspection credentials. While
not required, these endorsements might allow CWIs to execute inspections that might have been excluded due
to customer or jurisdictional requirements, such as inspections of bridges and railroads. Upon passage of a
qualifying codebook exam, inspectors are given a separate endorsement card and certificate of completion.
To recap, with some postsecondary training, on-the-job experience, and certification, welding inspectors can
earn about $61,000 a year to examine the connections and bonds between metals in industries like
construction, aerospace, and machinery manufacturing.