Welding offers various career opportunities. One opportunity for a welder with some experience is a welding inspector. They oversee the work of welders, ensure the credentials of those doing the welding work, and establishing procedures for welds to be done to specification, and verifying the work is done according to specification.1
Welding inspectors evaluate various metals, welding machines, and techniques to ensure the right type of welding is done on the metal most suitable for the task. Welding inspectors may also develop quality assurance training programs as well as various testing procedures.
Standard testing includes verifying base material and filler metal compliance as well as base material and filler metal compatibility. It also makes sure that proper welding procedures have been followed. Procedure qualification testing is done to ensure that appropriate welding equipment is used for each task. This type of testing is also done to confirm edge preparation-, joint geometry- and welding procedure qualification compliance. 1
Welding inspectors also handle a fair amount of office work, as they need to write regular reports to clients and/or employers. These reports should detail the results of non-destructive testing (NDT) done on various welded materials. To complete these reports properly, you would naturally need to be familiar with the terminology used for different types of welds, welding machines, and welding techniques. Welding inspectors also need to keep detailed records of what tests were carried out, when they were carried out, and the exact results of various tests.
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It is likely that you could be called on to discuss the results of your testing with your boss and/or clients. You may need to be prepared to explain why certain metals and materials are being used, why certain items are defective, and what can be done to prevent future problems. 2
Advancing in this Career
You can become a certified welding instructor (CWI) through the American Welding Society if you have a minimum of three years of work experience. After six years as a CWI, you can advance to a senior certified welding inspector (SCWI) 3, the highest level of certification. Senior certified welding inspectors work in a supervisory position and are tasked with overseeing large projects and solving problems that a regular welding inspector would not be able to handle. Senior certified welding inspectors are in high demand due to their versatility, extensive knowledge and experience, and ability to supervise and train others.
Necessary and Important Work
Welding inspection is an important line of work. Any company that does any type of welding needs welding quality assurance inspectors to ensure that the job is done right and that welded structured are safe. Furthermore, the job responsibilities of a welding inspector can offer great variety while the earning potential may increase significantly with experience. Welders with enough years under their belt should consider this occupation if they seek new challenges.
1 – http://www.cswip.com/schemes/welding-see welding inspection
2 – https://app.aws.org/itrends/2009/10/it200910/it1009-14.pdf
3 – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140812115640-127980801-duties-of-a-welding-inspector