Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

certified welding inspector

AWS Certified Welding Inspector is one of the best and reputed career options in the welding field. Certification is a badge of skills and experience in the very field. It boosts candidates’ earnings, enhances leadership, and provides higher-level roles. Candidates go through so much hard work before they are certified. They must have certain educational qualifications and work experiences. Candidates need a through clever strategy during the process. Many candidates from various working backgrounds want to become a CWI. Therefore, cracking a CWI exam is neither easy nor hard. Applicants need dedication and a clear vision. So, how to become a Certified Welding Inspector? The step by step guide for CWI is as follows.

Post Highlights:

  • Required Education and Work Experience
  • CWI Exam Preparation
  • CWI Exam Technical Publications
  • Certified Welding Inspector Exam Syllabus
  • CWI Exam Structure
  • Retest Rules for Failed Applicants
  • How to Register for CWI Exam?
  • Benefits of AWS Certification

Required Education and Work Experience

Aspiring candidates must possess certain education, work experience, and supporting documents. They should also pass a vision test. Normally, candidates with less education require more work experiences on years; and vice-versa. The following is a minimum education and work experience.

Level of Education (programs) Work Experiences
Candidates below 8th Grade Minimum 12 years of welding work experience
Applicants with 8th Grade 9 years of work experience in welding
High School Diploma or Equivalent Approved Diploma At least 5 years of welding work experience
For Vocational and Trade Courses Should have 4 years of welding-based work experience
Engineering and Technical Courses – Bachelor or Higher degrees in Welding Must have 3 years of welding work experience
Associate or Higher Degrees in Welding or Non-welding related Engineering Technology, Engineering or Physical Science Requires 2 years of work experience in welding
Bachelor or Higher Degree in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering Minimum 1 year of welding-based work experience

Certified Welding Inspector Exam Preparation

After confirming the CWI eligibility, aspiring candidates need to prepare for a certified welding inspector exam. They require an extensive and comprehensive study on welding facts. In addition to this, they need to go deep into the facts and understand all concepts. Memorize all the theories and principles of welding. Besides this, the prospective candidates should select only standard books including handbooks.

Go for Seminars while preparing for the CWI exam. They are full of welding knowledge and provide an intensive experience of welding inspection science, techniques, and documentation. Further, the instructors review the body of knowledge (CWI) and prepare candidates for the CWI exam. Normally, the seminars go for six days.

The seminars consist of lectures, practice questions, online resources, homework assignments, and hands-on learning experiences.

AWS seminars also address three parts of the CWI exam i.e. practical inspection, fundamental knowledge, and code-book navigation. Hence, seminars will take your career to the next level.

Note: Candidates need to register for AWS seminars. Together with this, AWS offers some of the packages to its members.

Certified Welding Inspector Exam Technical Publications

The following are some of the standard books for the CWI exam. They can help applicants in many ways.

  • API 1104 Study Guide for API Standard 1104 Welding of Pipelines
  • Certification Manual for Welding Inspectors
  • Welding Inspection Technology (Workbook)
  • 1 Code Clinic Reference Manual
  • 1/D1.1M Structural Welding Code-Steel
  • Welding Inspection Technology
  • Guide for the Nondestructive Examination of Welds
  • Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors
  • Welding Inspection Handbook
  • Standard Symbols for Welding, Brazing, and Nondestructive Examination
  • Standard Welding Terms and Definitions
  • Welding Inspection Technology Sample CWI Fundamentals Examination & Key

Certified Welding Inspector Exam Syllabus

The CWI examination subjects are as follows:

Part A (Welding Inspection Fundamentals)

  • Standard Terms and Definitions
  • Basic Welding Processes
  • Safety in Welding
  • Welding Symbols

Part B (Practical Applications)

  • Mechanical Testing
  • Welder and Procedure Qualification
  • Nondestructive Examination

Part C (Code Applications)

  • AWS D1.1
  • AWS D17.1
  • API 1104

CWI Exam Structure

There are Part A, Part B and Part C in the CWI Exam. Part A and Part C of the CWI exam are computer-based tests (CBT). Part B is a hands-on exam. Furthermore, the syllabus mainly includes questions from areas like fundamental, practical and code-books.

Parts Topics Questions Duration
A Fundamental Welding Knowledge 150 2 hours
B Welding Examination and Non-destructive Testing Inspections 46 2 hours
C Open-book and Tests – for locating and understanding information in a code-book 46 2 hours

Note: Applicants appearing in Part B are given plastic replicas of welds, a sample code-book, and visual inspection tools.

Important: Candidates need to score a minimum of 75% of correct questions in all three parts of the exam.

Test Result: After completing the CWI exam, applicants can expect the result within 2 to 3 weeks. A wallet card and certificate along with results are mailed to the successful candidates.

Retest Rules for Failed Applicants

  • The maximum numbers of retests for the applicants in a three-year period are three. Thus they cannot go beyond this.
  • They can take only one retest without evidence of additional training documents.
  • Applicants who failed in Part C (Code Book) of the CWI Exam must retest with the same code used in the original exam.
  • AWS may allow or require applicants for a ‘split examination’. As a result, it can conduct Part A of the CWI Exam alone. Therefore, applicants must score 75% marks to qualify for Part B and C.
  • Applicants failed in Part A have retest limitations. Consequently, they can exceed 4 exam attempts in the three years period.

How to Register for CWI Exam?

Eligible applicants can apply online by visiting the official website of the American Welding Society i.e. www.aws.org and follow the instructions given there carefully.


  • Applicants should have a ‘visual acuity’ certificate from a medical doctor or as required.
  • They should have a passport-style color photograph with 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size.

Note: Take a look at the Certified Welding Inspector Application Form.

Benefits of AWS Certification

After obtaining certification, applicants become competitive in the welding industry. Thus, it opens various job opportunities for them. The benefits are as follows:

  • Certification provides a competitive advantage viz-a-viz other.
  • Increases working efficiency and skills levels
  • Boost earning potentials
  • Widen knowledge levels
  • Certification builds professional credibility
  • Prepare applicants for higher responsibility roles
  • Raise your job profile and self-esteem
  • Inspire you for self-business opportunities

Thus, aspiring applicants can register for the CWI examination after making sure of the required eligibility criteria. To begin with, getting certified from the American Welding Society is not an easy job. Rather they need to work hard in the form of self-study and attending seminars. They require a clever strategy to crack this hard nut. Seminars are very beneficial during the preparation for the CWI Exam. Instructors present to applicants a replica of a real CWI test with a focus on the test contents.

Related: Other Welding Certifications

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