What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Actually Do?

Weld-inspectionOne 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

Related Products

Blue Demon Aluminum Wire

Blue Demon ER4043 .035x8in 3lb Spool aluminum wire

SKU: WMSER4043-035-3P8I

Metabo Angle Grinder

Metabo WEPBA 17-150 Quick 6″ 14.5 Amp Angle Grinder

SKU: MTA600552420

Miller Multimatic 215 Welder

Miller Multimatic 215 All-in-One Multiprocess Welder

SKU: MIL907693

Victor Edge 125-540 Medium Duty Regulator

Victor Edge 125-540 Medium Duty ESS3 Regulator – Oxygen

SKU: VIC0781-5100


5 thoughts on “What Does a Certified Welding Inspector Actually Do?”

  1. Nwahaghi chinedu says:

    what qualify one to write the exam and and become a qualified certified welding inspector.

  2. arunpandi says:

    what is wps and pqr

    1. c says:

      Welding procedure specification and pre-qualification record

  3. Jones says:

    Welding gives chances in wide range of industries. That’s why I decided to do welding technical program after my high school. I read that to apply for the certificate exam, you need 3 years experience if you have graduation in the field and 5 years if you don’t.

  4. Margo Hoffman says:

    How much finger dexterity in a non dominant hand is needed?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *