Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)
Listed below is helpful information for this selected AWS certification, including what it is, education and experience prerequisites, technical references, exam requirements and preparation suggestions, renewal and recertification information and FAQs. For application information, as well as other forms and documents, please refer to the menu on the right side of the screen.
What Is Welding Inspection?
The purpose of welding inspection is to determine if a weldment meets the acceptance criteria of a specific code, standard, or other document.
What Is A Welding Inspector?
A Welding Inspector’s responsibility is to determine if a weldment meets the acceptance criteria of a speciﬁc code, standard, or other specification and to oversee non-destructive testing and ensure proper materials are available during testing.
What Is A Certified Welding Inspector?
Certiﬁed Welding Inspectors (CWI) must demonstrate a keen attention to detail along with other requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities, and are often considered the safety nets that catch potentially catastrophic mistakes.
It’s the CWI's responsibility not only to determine if a weldment meets the acceptance criteria of a speciﬁc code, standard, or other specification, but also to handle qualification records, oversee non-destructive testing and ensure proper materials are available during testing.
Therefore, it is important that the CWI is familiar with welding processes, welding procedures, welder qualiﬁcations, materials, and weld testing limitations, as well as how to read blueprint drawings, prepare and keep records, prepare and make reports, and make responsible judgments.
What is the Certified Welding Inspector Program?
The AWS Certified Welding Inspector credential is one of the welding industry’s most recognized certifications. Many industry professionals who earn their CWI credential are highly regarded and sought-after throughout the welding industry. Becoming a CWI means that you have demonstrated the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to earn this prestigious credential.
A CWI should align with the technical and ethical principles required of their position as outlined in AWS B5.1:2013-AMD1 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors.
By employing or contracting CWI’s, hiring organizations can improve safety, reduce risk, and meet the technical criteria and standards developed and updated by AWS industry experts.
The CWI credential can serve as the foundation on which welding industry professionals can build lucrative and rewarding careers.
Additionally, because the Certified Welding Educator (CWE) Certification exams are identical to Parts A and B of the CWI exams, CWI candidates can choose to pursue a CWE credential and earn both credentials at the same time.
A CWI candidate or a current CWI can choose to enhance their credential by adding one or more of the AWS endorsements*. These endorsements also count toward recertification requirements.
AWS offers three additional certiﬁcation programs (SCWI, CAWI and CWE) to match the needs of professionals who have either more or less related experience than that required to become a CWI.
*Endorsements are supplemental inspection credentials available to all CWI’s and Senior SCWI’s to enhance an individual’s skills and career opportunities.
Review the AWS Certification and Qualification Standards for more detail:
CWI Education and Experience
To qualify to earn the Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) credential, candidates must pass a vision test and have a combination of qualifying education and work experience, with supporting documentation.
|MINIMUM EDUCATION||MINIMUM WORK EXPERIENCE|
Bachelor or higher degree in welding engineering or welding technology - four (4) years maximum substitution
Minimum of one (1) years welding based work experience
Associate or higher degree in welding or non-welding related engineering technology, engineering, or a physical science - three (3) years maximum substitution
Minimum of two (2) years welding based work experience
Engineering/Technical courses that can be applied to Bachelor or higher degree in Welding - two (2) years maximum substitution
Minimum of three (3) years welding based work experience
Trade/Vocational courses - one (1) year maximum substitution for successfully completed courses
Minimum of four (4) years welding based work experience
High school diploma or approved high school equivalency diploma
Minimum of five (5) years welding based work experience
8th grade level of schooling
Minimum of nine (9) years welding based work experience
Less than 8th grade
Minimum of twelve (12) years welding based work experience
Review the AWS Certification and Qualification Standards for more detail:
How to Apply to Become a CWI
The American Welding Society offers all new applicants the opportunity to use the online Certification Application Portal to enter information, submit required documentation, a current photo, register for seminarsand courses and make payment.
Before beginning the application process, please review the submission requirements below and be sure to have all of your documentation ready before you begin the application process.
Additionally, please review the education and work experience requirements that must be met to become a CWI candidate.
All applicants should review and complete the following before beginning the online Certification Application Portal process.
CWI FORMS & REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
Required forms are available for downloading.
CWI EXAM PRICING
CWI Exam Application (member): $1,070 USD
CWI Exam Application (non-member): $1,325 USD
Please review the AWS Certification Price List for more details.
Note: Submitting a paper-based application incurs a $125 USD processing fee.
CWI Exams Information
A CWI Candidate is required to pass the three CWI exams to achieve the CWI Certification
- Part A Fundamentals Exam
- Part B Practical Exam
- Part C Code Book
AWS conducts the Part A (Fundamentals) and the Part C (Codebook) exams via computer-based testing (CBT) at Prometric Test Centers as well as administers the Part B (Practical) exam at locations across the United States where AWS educational seminars are held. AWS recommends candidates schedule their Part A and Part C with Prometric as soon as they receive their Confirmation Letter to take Part B.
PART A FUNDAMENTALS EXAM*
The Part A Fundamentals Exam contains 150 questions that cover all topics related to the following:
- Destructive Testing
- Fabrication Math
- Safety in Welding
- Nondestructive Testing
- Understanding Welding Symbols
- Welding Fundamentals
PART B PRACTICAL EXAM*
The Part B Practical Exam for CAWI consists of hands-on activities using equipment provided by AWS.
Activities include the following:
- Application of WPSs and PQRs
- Use of Inspection Tools and Methods
- Execution of Required Welds
The Exam includes 46 questions related to the hands-on activities.
PART C CODE BOOK EXAM*
Part C of the CWI exam is an open-book test that establishes the participant’s ability to locate and understand information in the code book.
The 50 to 60 exam questions are based on the Code Book Editions listed below.
Candidates are permitted to bring one of the code books, listed below, to the Part C Exam.
AWS D1.1- Structural Steel Code: 2020 Edition
API 1104- Pipelines 21st Edition, December 2008/ Errata 1 April 2014
AWS D1.2- Structural Aluminum Code: 2014 Edition
AWS D1.5- Bridge Welding Code: 2015 Edition (including Clause 12)
AWS D15.1 - Railroad: 2012 Edition
AWS D17.1- Aerospace: 2017 w/ Amendment 1
ASME BPVC Section IX, Power (B31.1) and Process (B31.3) Piping
ASME BPVC Sec IX (2019 Edition), B31.1 (2018) and B31.3 (2018)
ASME BPVC Section VIII, Div. 1 (2015) and Section IX (2015)
A CWI candidate must receive a Confirmation Letter from AWS before scheduling exams with Prometric. The confirmation letter will be sent via email after initial, renewal or recertification applications and all required documentation is reviewed and processed by AWS.
*Important Note: To obtain the CWI credential, candidates are required to earn a minimum score of 72% on each part of the exam (Part A: Fundamentals, Part B: Practical, and Part C: Codebook).
Taking the Exams
Computer-Based Testing/Prometric Exam Centers
AWS conducts the CWI Part A (Fundamentals) and Part C (Codebook) Exams via computer-based testing (CBT) at more than 450 Prometric Exam Centers across the globe that can be viewed at prometric.com/aws
These Prometric Exam Centers are not the same as the locations used for administering the CWI Part B (Practical) exams which are paper-based.
Learn more about Prometric CBT and Exam Centers:
- Understand Prometric’s security process when checking-in at an Exam Center .
- Review a tutorial on how to navigate the screen during your computer-based exam (CBT).
- Familiarize yourself in person with the computer-based testing environment by scheduling an appointment to Take a Test Drive Before Exam Day.
- Learn more about your Prometric test day experience on our FAQ for CBT page.
- Access Prometric’s various other resources, by visiting www.prometric.com/aws
- AWS COVID Policy
- Prometric Exam Center COVID Policy
- Prometric Exam Center Cleaning Practices
Practical Exam (Non-Computer Based)
AWS administers the Part B (Practical) exam at locations across the United States where AWS educational seminars are held. Please review the Exam Schedule.
Additionally, AWS administers the Part B (Practical) exams at many international locations through our International Agents. Please review the International Contacts for Seminars and Exams.
CWI Candidates can register for the Part B Exam via the online Certification Application Portal.
CWI Candidates who take the Part B Exam will not receive the Part B Exam score until Part A and Part C Exams are completed.
An Exam Score Letter, documenting scores from Part A, Part B and Part C will be sent via email approximately two (2) weeks following the completion of Part A and Part C.
Once you are certified, you will receive a free subscription to Inspection Trends magazine to keep you informed of the latest developments in testing and materials inspection.
CWI Exams Preparation Training and Seminars
The Fundamentals Pre-Seminar is a comprehensive overview of the fundamental concepts and principles that every CWI needs to know.
The self-paced, online program contains 80 hours of instruction specifically designed to provide a deeper understanding of the extensive body of knowledge covered in the fundamentals portion of the Part A Fundamentals exam.
The Pre-Seminar is comprised of ten engaging, multimedia courses. Each course is divided into short, easy-to-understand modules that can be accessed at any time of day or night from any computer with an internet connection.
The Part B Practical Seminar consists of three full days of in-person expert instruction that helps prepare candidates for the Part B Practical Exam.
This includes a review of the Book of Specifications, analysis, and application of WPSs and PQRs, extensive hands-on learning with inspection tools and high-quality plastic weld replicas, and a full-length, timed practice exam.
- Guided instruction material, including homework, that helps take the mystery out visual inspection.
- Realistic replica training sets to prepare you for the hands-on portion of the exam.
- An AWS Welding Inspector’s Toolkit.
- All technical documents needed for reference and self-study are provided.
Access to additional online resources and practice questions are also included to enhance your self-study outside of the seminar.
To navigate the most popular codebooks – D1.1, D17.1 and API 1104 – AWS offers self-paced online code clinics to help candidates become familiarized with the code.
Review All AWS Seminar and Course Information and Pricing for more details and options.
CWI Specifications, Technical Standards & References
A CWI certification ensures the certificate holder meets all of the specification and certification requirements found in:
- QC1:2016-AMD1 - Specification for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors
- B5.1:2013-AMD1 - Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors
Technical and Reference Documents are provided when registered and attending an AWS Seminar.
If an applicant/candidate is not attending an AWS Seminar prior to testing and is planning to self-study, please review the Recommended Self-Study for Examination section below.
TECHNICAL AND SPECIFICATION DOCUMENTS AND REFERENCE MATERIALS
(AWS CWI BODY OF KNOWLEDGE)
- AWS CM, Certification Manual for Welding Inspectors
- WI:2015, Welding Inspection Handbook
- D1.1/D1.1M:2020 Structural Welding Code-Steel
- CCRM:2020 D1.1 Code Clinic Reference Manual
- API-M:2017 Study Guide for API Standard 1104 Welding of Pipelines
- WIT-T:2020 Welding Inspection Technology
- WIT-W:2020 Welding Inspection Technology (Workbook)
- WIT-E:2020 Welding Inspection Technology Sample CWI Fundamentals Examination & Key
- A3.0M/A3.0:2020 Standard Welding Terms and Definitions
- A2.4:2020 Standard Symbols for Welding, Brazing, and Nondestructive Examination
- B1.10M/B1.10:2016 Guide for the Nondestructive Examination of Welds
- B5.1:2013-AMD1 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors
To purchase any of the AWS publications or the API 1104 Codebook visit the AWS Bookstore website.
To purchase any of the ASME publications, visit the ASME website.
CWI Renewal Overview
The renewal process is an important part of maintaining and continuing an active CWI Certification.
CWI Certification is valid for 9 years. At years 3 and 6 after the initial CWI activation date, the CWI is responsible for submitting a renewal application to AWS Certification and actively managing the renewal and recertification process. At 6 months and 3 months ahead of each renewal and expiration date, AWS will send a reminder notice to the email address on record.
All renewal applications are available via the Certification Application Portal.
To qualify for renewal, the CWI shall attest to having no break in practice/employment greater than two years during the prior three years of certification in activities described in B5.1:2013-AMD1 - Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors. Work experience must be documented in the Qualifying Work Experience section of the Renewal Application. Resumes are not accepted as a substitute for information required by the renewal application.
AWS will accept renewal applications up to 11 months in advance of the current certification expiration, and recommends a CWI send a renewal application at least 60 days prior to the current renewal date. In the event the CWI does not provide a renewal application in a timely manner, a 60-day administrative extension period is permitted. However, the SCWI Certification will be considered "Expired" during the administrative extension period.
Renewal applications submitted after the administrative 60-day extension period but within one year of the Certification expiration date may be accepted for renewal. Administrative late fees will be incurred by the CWI if a renewal application is submitted after the 60-day extension period. All administrative fees must be paid in full prior to AWS considering the renewal application.
Once all renewal requirements have been met via the renewal application and all administrative fees have been paid in full, the CWI Certification will be reactivated. For further information concerning the CWI Certification renewal, please refer to AWS QC1:2016-AMD1 - Specification for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors (English PDF).
Use the MyAWS Portal to check your CWI credentials, application or exam registration status.
CWI Renewal Pricing
- CWI Renewal Application (member): $525 USD
- CWI Renewal Application (non-member): $780 USD
Please review the AWS Certification Price List for more details and options.
Options for CWI Recertification
CWI Recertification by Part B Practical Exam: The CWI Part B Practical Exam will evaluate a CWI in the practical aspects of weld inspection and establish that the CWI’s skills are current. A CWI, prior to taking the Part B Practical Exam, should review a variety of weldments that show various levels of porosity and undercut. Additionally, a CWI should be prepared to interpret and inspect bend, t-joint, groove, and pipe weld samples. AWS administers the CWI Part B Practical Exam.
CWI Recertification by adding one Endorsement: A CWI can pursue adding an endorsement to their certification. Successful completion (passing exam score) will meet the requirements for CWI recertification.
A CWI can pursue the endorsement option up to (11) months prior to the current CWI certification expiration date. A CWI must choose one of the endorsements from the list below. Endorsements require passing an exam.
- AWS D1.1 Structural Steel
- AWS D1.2 Structural Aluminum
- AWS D1.5 Bridge Welding
- AWS D15.1 Railroad
- AWS D17.1 Aerospace
- API 1104 Pipelines
- AWS Welder Performance Qualification Endorsement
- AWS Magnetic Particle Testing (MT Dry Powder Yoke Method)
- AWS Penetrant Testing (PT Type II- Method C)
- ASME Section IX, B31.1 and B31.3 Boiler & Pressure Vessel
- Structural Bolting Inspection
- ASME Section VIII, Div. 1 & Section IX Boiler & Pressure Vessel
- Structural Drawing Reading
All endorsement exams (with the exception of Structural Drawing Reading) will be offered at Prometric Exam Centers. Please visit Prometric’s AWS Information page to explore Exam Center locations across the globe.
AWS administers the Structural Drawing Reading Exam.
Important Note: AWS Specification for the Certification of Welding Inspectors (AWS QC1:2016-AMD1) defines endorsements as an "Indication of an additional skill documented in writing and added to one's certification credential(s)". In fulfilling the 9-year recertification requirement, the pursuit of the chosen endorsement cannot be successfully completed using the same codebook that was used for the achieve the current active CWI certification.
9-Year Recertification by Accumulated Professional Development Hours (PDH) Continuing Education: Continuing Education requirements may be met if a CWI has kept up to date in the inspection profession by attending classes and seminars related to welding. A CWI need 80 contact hours (PDHs) of seminars, courses or online courses such as those found on AWS’s Education Portal that meet the requirements of AWS Specification for the Certification of Welding Inspectors (AWS QC1:2016-AMD1).
The course/seminar content must be in one or more of the subject areas as defined in the Education and Experience Requirements of AWS Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors (AWS B5.1:2013-AMD1).
Endorsements or Certifications Achieved Prior to 9-Year Recertification:
Endorsements: A CWI who has previously taken and passed one or more endorsement exams prior to the nine-year cycle may apply for recertification without having to meet further examination, professional development hour, or seminar requirements.
Certified Radiographic Interpreter: At any time during a CWI’s nine-year cycle, if the prerequisites are met, a CWI can apply to become an AWS Certified Radiographic Interpreter (CRI). The CRI fulfills the CWI’s 9-year recertification requirement. Please visit the CRI Program Overview page.
9-Year Recertification Course: As an alternative to the previous permitted options, a CWI can register and successfully complete the AWS 9-Year Recertification Course. The successful completion of the course meets the requirements for CWI recertification.
Retaking the CWI Exams
CWI candidates who do not achieve a required passing score are eligible to retake an exam.
A CWI candidate whose average for the three exam parts is 72% or greater may complete a reexamination on the part(s) that did not result in the minimum passing score.
Example: If the average score of Part A, Part B and Part C combined is 72% or greater but Part A was below 72%, the candidate may retake the Part A Exam.
- If the average of Part A, Part B and Part C is below 72%, the CWI candidate must retake all three (3) exams (Part A, Part B and Part C).
- The maximum number of reexaminations taken in the three-year period starting with the original test date is three (3).
- Applicants may take the first reexamination (Part A, Part B or Part C) without additional training.
- Only one reexamination (Part A, Part B or Part C) without documented evidence of additional training is permitted.
- Any additional reexaminations (2nd or 3rd attempts) shall require documented evidence of additional training in accordance with QC1 Sections 188.8.131.52 & 184.108.40.206.
CWI REEXAMINATION PRICING
- CWI Reexamination (member): $785 USD
- CWI Reexamination (non-member): $1,040 USD
Please review the AWS Certification Price List for more details and options.
Reexamination Applications can be submitted via AWS’s online Certification Application Portal
A CWI candidate must receive a reexamination scheduling confirmation letter from AWS before scheduling exams with Prometric.
The confirmation letter will be sent via email after initial, renewal, reexamination or recertification applications and all required documentation is reviewed and processed by AWS.
CWI Frequently Asked Questions
Important Information for Current CWI or SCWI Credential Holders
AWS offers two additional certiﬁcation programs (SCWI and CWE) to match the needs of professionals who have either more or less related experience than that required to become a CWI.
Because the Certified Welding Educator (CWE) Certification exams are identical to Parts A and B of the CWI exams, CWI candidates can choose to pursue a Certiﬁed Welding Educator (CWE) credential and earn a CWI and CWE credential at the same time.
A CWI can choose to enhance the credential by adding one or more of the AWS endorsements. Endorsements are supplemental inspection credentials available to all AWS Certiﬁed Welding Inspectors (CWI's) and Senior Certiﬁed Welding Inspectors (SCWI's) to enhance an individual’s skills and career opportunities. These endorsements also count toward recertification requirements.
A CWI or SCWI can meet their 9-year recertification requirements by earning/obtaining a CRI. Please see the CRI Program page for more information.
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