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What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Actually Do?

What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Actually Do?

One of the most appealing aspects of working in the welding trade is the variety of career options and specializations it offers.

Welding Careers

As I’ve blogged about here quite often, skilled welders are in demand through a wide array of industries, ranging from manufacturing (machinery, cars, watersports and more) and industrial applications, to construction and field repair.

Underwater welding is another popular specialization. There are even outstanding welding career opportunities in the military. And there’s also the possibility of doing your own thing and becoming a freelance welder. Or if you’re really feeling ambitious, you can start your own welding business. Suffice it to say, opportunities abound.

Certified Welding Inspector

One of the most lucrative and sought after positions in the welding trade, however, is Certified Welding Inspector (CWI).

CWIs earn excellent income ($35 dollars per hour and up – that’s a starting salary of over $70K per year!), pick and choose among the most well paid and interesting projects, and are perfectly positioned to launch freelance careers, or start their own welding inspection businesses – how do you like them apples!?!

Sure you say, all this sounds great, but what does a Certified Welding Inspector actually do?

Excellent question, I’m glad you asked. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the steps required to become a CWI (additional education, length of work experience and the exam process), but what about the day-to-day duties and expectations working on the job as a CWI?

The following lists offer a general outline of a CWI’s typical responsibilities:

Pre-Welding Inspections

Safety Requirements: Ensure all welding related activities are conducted in accordance with all local municipal, state and federal safety regulation, in addition to complying with all company defined safety rules and regulations.

Documentation review:

  • Verify specification, including year of issuance and any revisions
  • Inspect plans, including any revisions, and verify compliance
  • verify welding and inspection equipment calibrations
  • Verify welding materials (base metals, filler wire, consumable electrodes, etc…)

Welding equipment review:

Inspect welding equipment, including welding machines, regulators, cables, etc…

Welding materials:

Inspect all base and consumable materials (steel rods, sheet metal, pipes, filler wire, consumable electrodes, etc…)

Preparation and set-up:

  • Confirm correct cutting method relative to projects and materials
  • Confirm correct angles, joints and gaps (bevel angle, lap joint, root gap, etc…)
  • Confirm pre-welding set-up (materials properly aligned, clamps in place, equipment in correct position)
  • Confirm proper welding machine settings, amperage and heat

During the Welding Process


  • Welding site for inclement weather (if applicable)
  • Heating values to maintain proper bonding heat
  • Distortion controls to maintain balance and prevent blow-thru
  • Consumptions of electrodes, filler wire or gas
  • Welding process, including voltage, amperage, travel speed, etc…
  • Verifying proper temperature controls between welding passes
  • Verify any other compliance issue dictated by the individual project requirements

Post Welding Review

  • Conduct visual inspection
  • Inspect and confirm NDT (radiographic and ultrasonic inspections) requirements (method, operator qualifications, proper execution)
  • Identity any necessary repairs or corrections via visual inspection or NDT review
  • Conduct post weld heat treatment to verify proper heating method and temperature recording
  • Conduct final hydrostatic test procedure

Repairs and Corrections

  • Evaluate all original procedure to verify and confirm validity
  • Approval of all pre-welding procedures outlined above
  • Monitor repair process as outline in the monitoring section outlined above
  • Re-inspect the repair area and confirm repair completion via visual and NDT inspection



1 comment

It’s great that you mentioned that the advantage of hiring a certified welding inspector is that they can provide non-destructive testing to identify necessary repairs and corrections after the welding process. We’re planning to restore the old pick-up truck in our barn soon so my younger brother can have something to drive while we still can’t afford to buy a new car. Since my dad and I are planning to do the restoration ourselves and that includes a lot of metal fabrication, perhaps we should hire a welding inspector after the project just to make sure everything is in order. Thanks for this! https://www.shoalspredictivemaintenance.com

Levi Armstrong

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