The 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:
- Filing the VAF (Visual Acuity Form) within 7-months of the exam
- 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:
- Go through the official AWS study material
- Apply your knowledge alongside our prep course
- 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:
Work your way through these practice exams as if they’re the real thing.
- 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
- Apply for the exam by filing the CWI Initial Application
- Use the CWI schedule to choose your destination, and submit forms
- Confirm details with AWS
- 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.