Welding Inspector Jobs And Certified Welding Schools – Getting Started

Welding inspector jobs are positions in which one inspects work that has been completed by other welders. A welding tradesman is a skilled individual who specializes in joining materials through the procedure of heating the separate parts and then joining them with a filler. Various materials can be joined in this way, including metals such as stainless steel, brass, aluminum or conventional steel. In addition, polymers and plastics can also be joined through specific welding techniques. 

Welders are generally required to demonstrate exceptional attention to detail and very good manual dexterity. They should also have a solid foundation of technical knowledge regarding the materials with which they may be called upon to weld. A welding inspector must have a thorough understanding about the best practices in the field, and have the ability to make appropriate judgment calls in various situations.

The Role of Welding in Industry

welding inspector jobs, welding structure
Welding procedures are vital to the construction of aircraft, buildings, bridges, motor vehicles, and ships. In today’s modern world, there are over 80 welding techniques which a tradesman can use when completing a job, the most common of which is Arc welding. When the above information is considered, it is easy to see that welding is a field for which one must have adequate training, as well as a good aptitude for the technical aspects of the trade.

The welding field has recently experienced considerable growth, which is most likely the result of the advancements in technology that have come about since the turn of the century. With an increasing number of welders needed to work on projects, it is not surprising that a higher number of welding inspectors are also needed. Those who have the aforementioned eye for detail and feel they can efficiently evaluate the work of others, may wish to consider a job as a weld inspector.

Welding Certification

Welding inspectors are professionals who manually test and visually inspect welded pieces of metal or other materials. Schools that train certified welding inspectors prepare students to work in a variety of environments, such as commercial or residential building construction sites, shipyards, government safety regulating agencies, automotive or aircraft manufacturing plants, and civil engineering firms.

Those who choose to pursue employment as a certified welding inspector–CWI–will find that such positions carry a high level of responsibility, making it vital for one to obtain the appropriate skills before employment can be sought. For this reason, it is essential for a person who is interested in a CWI job to consider the following:

Welding School Information

Certified welding inspector schools provide courses designed to prepare students for certification through the American Welding Society at one of three levels: A person may opt to become an associate welding inspector, conventional welding inspector or a senior welding inspector. Regardless of the level of certification one chooses, he or she must pass both a practical and written examination. Additionally, certification candidates must pass a vision test. This combination of exams cover all the processes associated with the welding trade, as well as quality assurance procedures. 

Candidates for welding inspector certification must have at least five years of welding-related experience. The requirement for certification as a senior welding inspector is 15 years in a welding-related job and six years as a standard welding inspector. Continuing education classes are also necessary for one to keep his or her certification current, and the required frequency of such courses depends on the regulations in the state where one is employed. 

Additional Welding Skills

In addition to good eyesight and efficient attention to detail, certified welding inspectors must also possess additional skills in order to eventually gain employment as a weld inspector. For instance, an inspector may be called upon to perform job duties in difficult or even dangerous circumstances, such as those associated with the construction of skyscrapers or other high buildings. A CWI must also demonstrate optimum verbal communication skills to relay welding flaw or defect information to welding supervisors. In addition, inspection reports must adequately convey vital information, which means written communication skills are extremely important.

Welding School Admission

To gain entrance to a certified welding inspector school, candidates must possess a GED or high school diploma. However, schools that offer advanced courses for certified welding inspectors, may have additional requirements. For instance, a school may require a prospective student to complete a placement test for the purpose of evaluating his or her readiness for college-level courses. Students may also be asked to submit high school transcripts before admission is granted.

Certified Welding Courses

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Classes at most certified welding schools typically cover a vast array of information on topics such as arc welding, metallurgy, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, pipe welding, gas welding, heat controlling methods, soldering, brazing, safety, welding symbols, evaluation and documentation. 

Choosing a Suitable School

All welding schools do not offer the same type of education, although courses will be similar from program to program. Some welding schools offer a curriculum that is designed to meet only minimum course requirements in the state where the school is located. In addition, some welding schools strictly adhere to state-mandated courses, while others do not. For this reason, school selection is an important consideration for a certified welding inspector. The following tips may help make the selection process a bit less daunting:
Schools that are cheap and convenient do not always make the wisest choice, although they may be the most appealing initially. Technical schools or local community colleges will usually offer inexpensive courses, but it is common knowledge in the industry that the quality of one’s education ultimately depends on the skills of his or her instructor.

Locating former students who are willing to give an honest review is invaluable when one is narrowing down his or her school choices. This is not a difficult task, due to the resources available on various websites that are designed to rate welding school instructors based on student reviews. Good welding instructors will almost always have made a significant impression on many of their former students. If one is unable to find any positive comments about a particular school or instructor, it is wise to eliminate that establishment as a possibility.

Prospective students must not overlook the importance of a school’s welding facilities, and every effort should be made to find a school that is in possession of the most up-to-date welding equipment. It is also wise to choose a program that not only offers a practical and useful curriculum, but also prepares students for the certification examination.

Welding Inspector Salary Information

Students seeking work in the aforementioned field probably have questions about the average certified welding inspector salary. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics–BLS–states that the average yearly salary of a CWI was $45,330 as of 2010. Upon further research, one will discover that some of the best paying jobs are found in the manufacturing industries, where welding inspection is vital to the production and development of safe machinery and other products such as automobiles, aircraft, and essential pipelines. 

The mean annual wage jumps dramatically for inspectors who are employed in such positions, in some cases to as high as $57,330 per year. Certain manufacturers regard welding inspection as a vital skill for which they will gladly pay top wages. In addition, those who have gained certification as an inspector can pursue enviable positions at aerospace centers, government agencies, and even NASA. Such careers in welding can ensure one of a lucrative salary, and inspectors will usually enjoy a certain level of job security, the latter of which is often an elusive goal in today’s modern world.

The BLS also states that the wide range of opportunities and good salaries available to certified welding inspectors are expected to continue throughout the year 2018. 

When the aforementioned facts are considered, it is easy to see why a career as a certified welding inspector is a wise choice for anyone with an interest in this field. Obtaining a quality education is the first step in reaching this goal.
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