CRI: Image Interpretation Specialist

CRI: Image Interpretation Specialist

Radiographic testing is the traditional method of nondestructive examination of welds to determine whether they comply with the acceptance criteria in an industry specification. However, much depends on how the radiographic images are generated and if they do not meet strict quality standards the interpretation of those images becomes useless. These challenges require the Certified Radiographic Interpreter to become knowledgeable in most all aspects of the exposure of welds to x-ray radiation and to recognize when film exposures are outside accepted limits for radiographic quality. The CRI must also recognize how indications on a film image can be interpreted as weld discontinuities and to size them to determine ultimate acceptance of rejection.

Application, Renewal, Recertification

Application, Renewal, Recertification

Visit to enter information, submit required documentation and a current photo, register for seminars and courses, and make payments.  The CRI credential lasts for three years. You can renew it twice: first at the end of the initial three years, and then again three years later, at the six-year mark. All renewal applications are available via

Select from the options below
Register Now

CRI Initial Application

  • How it Works
  • Required Documents
  • Testing Information
  • Training
Register Now
Register Now

CRI Renewal

  • How it Works     
Register Now
Register Now

CRI Recertification

  • How it Works

Register Now

CRI Initial application

  • Overview
  • Documents
  • Exam Information
  • Training
  • Pricing

Requirements and Process

Visual Acuity:
Being a radiographic interpreter requires good near vision.  To prove you have the necessary vision, you will need to pass an eye exam, showing you can read Jaeger Number 2 Letters at a distance of at least twelve inches with one eye. This test can be with or without glasses and should be taken within seven months before your scheduled exam or renewal.

You need at least a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.

You must complete a minimum of 40 hours of formal training in radiographic interpretation/examination and should include topics contained in AWS B5.15-2010, Clause 9, Body of Knowledge.

Work Experience:
You must have at least a year's experience in radiographic interpretation, either certified by a company or nationally, or under the direct supervision of someone who is. Sometimes, up to six months of other nondestructive evaluation (NDE) experience or education can count towards this.

Application Process:
Visit the online portal to provide the required documentation, make payment and register for seminars and courses. Make sure to have the following documents ready before starting the application process:


A CRI certification ensures the certificate holder meets all of the specification and certification requirements found in:


Standard Titles

  • AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2008, AWS Structural Welding Code – Steel
  • API 1104, Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities, 19th and 20th Editions
  • ASME Section V, Article 2, Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code, Nondestructive Examination 2007
  • ASME Section V, SE-94 (ASTM E 94-04) Standard Guide for Radiographic Examination
  • ASME Section VIII, Division 1, Rules for Construction of Pressure Vessels, UW-51 and UW-52
  • ASTM E 747-04, Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture and Material Grouping Classification of Wire Image Quality Indicators (IQI) Used for Radiology
  • ASTM E 1025-05, Standard Practice for Design, Manufacture and Material Grouping Classification of Hole-Type Image Quality Indicators (IQI) Used for Radiology
  • ASTM E 1032-06, Standard Test Method for Radiographic Examination of Weldments
  • ASTM E 1742-08, Standard Practice for Radiographic Examination

Note: The above references will be available for temporary use by the students on the training course and by the candidates for certification. Users interested in purchasing these standards for their own use may do so below.

To purchase any of the AWS publications, visit the AWS Bookstore

Reference Titles

  • American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). 1983. Making a radiograph. Vol. IV of Radiographic testing programmed instruction and classroom training books. Columbus, Ohio: American Society for Nondestructive Testing
  • American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). 1983. Film handling and processing. Vol. V of Radiographic testing programmed instruction and classroom training books. Columbus, Ohio: American Society for Nondestructive Testing.
  • American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). 1980. NDE characteristics of pipe weld defects, EPRI. ASNT-1195. Columbus, Ohio: American Society for Nondestructive Testing.
  • Hellier, C., and S. Wenk, 1984. Radiographic interpretation. ASTN-008. Columbus, Ohio: American Society for Nondestructive Testing.
  • American Welding Society (AWS) Committee on Methods of Inspection. 2000. Welding inspection handbook, 3rd ed. Miami: American Welding Society.
  • American Welding Society (AWS). 1995. Practical reference guide to radiographic interpretation acceptance criteria. Miami: American Welding Society.
  • Connor, L. P., ed. 1987. Welding processes. Vol.1 of Welding handbook. 8th ed. Miami: American Welding Society.
  • American Welding Society (AWS) Committee on Methods of Inspection. 1999. Guide for the nondestructive examination of welds. AWS B1.10:1999. Miami: American Welding Society.

Note: AWS, API, ASTM, and ASME standards are available through The AWS Bookstore
Customer Service, 8669 NW 36th Street # 130.

ASNT documents are available from the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, PO Box 28518, 1711 Arlingate Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43228-0518. Telephone: 800-222-2768. Website:

View the CRI Examination User Guide (PDF)

Other forms and documents:

Seminar and Exam Schedule

Find upcoming in-person seminars and exam dates on AWS by visiting the Seminar and Exam Schedule.

CRI Certification Exams

The CRI Certification Exam is a paper-based test administered by AWS. It consists of three parts:

  1. General Knowledge Exam: This multiple-choice test covers a range of topics like welding, metallurgy, math, radiography theory, film handling, and relevant codes and standards.
  2. Code Knowledge Exam: This open-book, multiple-choice exam tests your understanding of radiographic quality and film interpretation based on various AWS, API, ASME, and ASTM standards.
  3. Practical (Film Interpretation) Exam: Here, you will interpret at least 10 radiographs according to specific codes or standards.

AWS provides all the equipment you will need for the practical exam, and everything will be checked and calibrated to ensure it's working correctly.

To pass, you will need to score at least 70% on each exam and achieve an average of 80% across all three exams.

The CRI exams take place the day after the seminar, right where the seminar was held. The exams, which are multiple choice, include:

  1. General Knowledge Exam (70 questions) and Code Knowledge Exam (78 questions), both take 3 hours to complete.
  2. Practical (Film Interpretation) Exam (40 questions), also lasting 3 hours.

During the seminar, you will receive several publications to aid your learning:

  1. AWS B1.10, Guide for the Nondestructive Examination of Welds
  2. AWS Radiographic Interpretation Textbook
  3. AWS Radiographic Interpretation Workbook
  4. ASNT Radiographic Interpretation

Retaking the CRI Exam

If you do not achieve the required passing scores, you can retake the exam part that didn’t result in the minimum passing score. For example, if a candidate scores below 70% on the General Knowledge exam but maintains an overall average of 80% or higher, they only need to retake the General Knowledge exam.

However, if the combined score across all three exams falls below 80%, the candidate will need to retake all three exams: General Knowledge, Code Knowledge, and Practical.

Please note that a maximum of three reexaminations is permitted within three years from the original test date. Reexamination applications can be submitted through AWS’s online Certification Application Portal. A candidate must receive AWS’s reexamination scheduling confirmation letter before arranging exams. This confirmation will be sent via email once all applications and required documentation have been approved by AWS.


The Certified Radiographic Interpreter (CRI) Seminar is a five-day program to impart the skills needed to master radiographic interpretation. The seminar teaches individuals how to correctly interpret indications found on radiographic media of welds or their surrounding metal. It is the perfect preparation for the CRI Certification exam, conveniently scheduled at the end of each seminar week.

All this and more is available here.

CRI Renewal

  • Overview / Eligibility
  • Pricing

Your CRI certification lasts three years and can be renewed twice: first at the three-year mark, and again at six years. To keep your credentials up to date, you must show ongoing involvement in radiographic interpretation, pass the current Practical Exam, and have a valid recent eye exam.

Each renewal requires:

  • Written documentation to support evidence of continued activity in the occupational or teaching position of radiographic interpretation.
  • Achievement of a passing score on the current Practical (Film Interpretation) exam.
  • Evidence of a current valid vision examination.

Use the MyAWS Portal to check your CRI credentials, application or exam registration status.


CRI Recertification

  • Overview
  • Pricing

To maintain CRI credentials after two (2) consecutive renewals (a total of nine years of continuous certification), the CRI certificate holder must take the Practical (Film Interpretation) exam and pass with the minimum percentage requirements as defined in AWS QC15:2008, Specification for the Certification of Radiographic Interpreters.

The recertification application and Practical (Film Interpretation) exam registration can be completed via the online Certification Application Portal