Welding inspectors ensure that the work produced by welders meets specifications for quality and safety. Certification ensures that inspectors have the appropriate skills for determining the quality of welds. The inspector performs tests on welds to determine whether weld joints can handle stress. The work of welding inspectors ensures that construction welds used on building structures and bridges are safe for public use.
Welding inspectors perform visual inspections on welded products and structures in progress and on completed jobs. Visual inspections search for defects in the weld such as cracks and pits. The inspector uses magnification to find defects that potential weaken the strength of the joint. Inspectors measure welded products to ensure that they meet specifications for dimension. The certified weld inspector uses stress equipment to put stress on weld joints. The results of a stress test determine if the weld will hold up under stressful conditions. Inspectors also check weld machine setup and the welding techniques of welders on work in progress to ensure the quality of the work. Welding inspectors record the results of tests and welding inspections.
Employers may require a high school education for a certified welder position. A college education is not required for most welding or welding inspection positions, but an associate degree in welding technology can improve the chances of landing a job. The American Welding Society has welding programs to certify welding inspectors. Certifications include certified associate welding inspector (CAWI), certified welding inspector (CWI) and senior certified welding inspector (SCWI). Certifications require experience as a welder and inspector before moving on to advanced certifications.
Certified welding inspectors must possess good eyesight and attention to detail. Inspectors may perform work duties in dangerous or difficult circumstances such as on high building structures. A welding inspector must have good verbal communication skills to relay defect or welding flaw information to welders or supervisors. Inspection reports require written communication skills.
The salary for a certified welding inspector is between $44,297 and $76,190 as of June 2010, according to Payscale.com. Pay is determined by industry and the experience of the welding inspector.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a decline in employment for welders between 2008 and 2018. Manufacturing is likely to present the best opportunity for employment for welding inspectors. Automation does not reduce the need for inspection.