The AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) Certification

Introduced in 1976, the Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) certification is a pillar program in the welding industry. Offered by the American Welding Society (AWS), the certification is recognized worldwide and establishes a well-rounded knowledge base and skill set in the field of welding.

There are over 97,000 Certified Welding Inspectors (CWIs). Each of them has demonstrated expertise by passing a comprehensive exam that covers welding fundamentals, hands-on application, and codebook knowledge.

Today, many companies rely on welding inspectors with CWI certification to ensure high levels of quality for their projects.

What Are the Benefits of Getting Certified?

Getting certified shows employers that you are serious about having a career in the welding industry. The AWS has high standards for CWIs so the CWI exam is a long, difficult test. Passing it demonstrates commitment, skill, and expertise on your part and companies are willing to pay good money for those things.

It is not uncommon for a CWI today to have a salary of $100,000 or more. The CWI certification is definitely in-demand. With the certification, your career will become more stable and you’ll have more options for work.

Plus, earning the certification is an avenue for welders to get out from behind the mask. Long-time welders can attest that welding, over time, takes a toll on your body especially your eyes. A CWI certification allows you to work in jobs with less physical strain.

What Is the AWS?

The AWS is a premier nonprofit organization that aims to advance the science and application of welding through various means including certification programs, education, research, technical publications, and events.

The organization offers certification programs for different welding roles such as inspector, educator, engineer, and supervisor. Companies turn to AWS to qualify and certify their welding employees.

The CWI certification is one of the most popular AWS programs because welding inspection is a critical component for successful projects.

The AWS CWI Exam

Comprehensive in its scope, the CWI exam from AWS is the gateway to becoming a Certified Welding Inspector. This six-hour exam tests your knowledge and skill in different welding topics including:

  • Processes
  • Metallurgy
  • Weld examination
  • Symbols
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Safety
  • Procedure and welder qualifications
  • Utilization of specification and drawings
  • Materials and design
  • Fabrication

As you can imagine, the test covers a lot of material so people have to spend many weeks studying to pass.

To qualify for the certification, you need a combination of education and welding-based work experience. Those who have more education need less experience and having a lot of experience means you don’t need as much education.

For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering, you only need one year of welding experience. On the other hand, if you have five years of welding experience, you can qualify with only a high school diploma. For more information, see the education and experience table on the AWS website.

Also, you are required to pass a vision test.

If you would like training to pass the exam, we offer a fully online CWI course. The course includes 80 hours of teaching, a practice test that simulates the real thing, and lots of quizzes to make sure you understand the material.