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What is Welding Inspection and how to become an inspector?

What Is Welding Inspection?

Essentially, welding inspection demonstrates minimum acceptable levels of a welded product according to particular criteria and acceptance standards. Welding Inspectors examine the connections and bonds between metals. Inspectors use visual tools and electrical instruments to check and ensure the quality and safety of connections.

Certified welding inspectors play an intrinsic role in the welding industry. Their job is to ensure every weld they examine is of high quality, effective, and, most importantly, up to standard with safety regulations. This career path comes with a lot of responsibilities. However, it is also extremely rewarding for those who are passionate about the profession.


How Can I Become A Welding Inspector?

People from different backgrounds get into welding inspection. Welders, fabricators, foremen, or NDT operators, and anyone operating within this industry field can fit into the welding inspector role criteria.

Many areas can branch off from a simple welding inspection qualification. Welding inspection as a qualification is a very good starting point in the industry's inspection side. Many welding inspectors often move into NDT areas, plant inspection, cathodic protection, painting and coating inspection, or underwater inspection.


Career Growth Opportunities for Welding Inspectors

Within the welding inspector career path, there are various routes one can select to specialise in and perform multiple types of tasks. As an example, a structural inspector oversees the welder's work and examines their work digitally.

Inspectors who decide to get specialised in the pipeline industry wear many hats as they are involved with the entire pipeline inspection process. From the surveying of the ground, laying down the pipes, digging up ditches, inspecting the painting and coating of the pipes, monitoring the report of NDT inspection of the pipes, and lastly, the process of covering the pipes, the pipeline inspectors are engaged with every step of the process.

The industry sectors that a CSWIP certificate holder can work in are varied, and locations are also highly various from mining, trenching, onshore, offshore, oil and gas, power generation, aerospace, rail, and many different sectors. In terms of location, there is a requirement for certificate holders and qualified inspectors in almost every country.

CSWIP qualifications can lead to many different roles. We have qualifications that cover welding inspection, welding examination, welding instruction, NDT, plant Inspection, cathodic protection, underwater inspection, and many other areas are covered in the CSWIP scheme.

An advantage of welding inspector jobs is their versatility. Oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and aviation are some of the examples of the countless industries that offer opportunities for certified welding inspectors.

Welding inspectors who are ambitious and wish to specialise in several techniques or materials can get different certificates which allows them to enhance their employability in multifunctioning roles, which results in better-earning capacity.


Flexibility and traveling opportunities for welding inspectors

Working as an in-house welding inspector can provide you with job security and stability. However, you would also have the option of freelancing or working as a contractor. This option not only provides you with a great deal of flexibility and autonomy for choosing the type of project, but it also creates the opportunity of traveling to different locations for work.


Why does getting certified as a welding inspector matter?

Usually, certified welding inspectors come into the role through necessity because it is either the contract requirement or the client requirement as it gives confidence in their products and services.

There are no fixed entry requirements at the lower level. However, as you go into the more senior roles, it gets more specific about what the inspectors need to do and how much experience they need to provide. There are three basic levels in the CSWIP certification scheme. Visual welding inspection is the basic level, the welding inspection, and the senior welding inspector.

Holding a CSWIP qualification gives employers and customers the confidence that the person doing the inspection is qualified and competent. Companies with qualified welding inspectors have the reassurance that their staff understands the types of materials and defects they are looking at. They are confident that the team can assess against criteria correctly, and it gives them confidence in the product that is being released at the end of production. It also provides assurance to their clients that their products are fit for purpose and that it has been inspected correctly so all around it improves the product that the company produces.


What are Typical Duties of a Welding Inspector?

A Welding Inspector must ensure all the welding and associated actions are carried out per the specification and any applicable procedures. In addition to working in the field and completing their examination of welding projects, inspectors spend time compiling the reports in an office setting. The majority of inspectors work on a full-time basis, primarily during business workdays.

A Welding Inspector must:

  • Observe all relevant actions related to weld quality throughout production.
  • Record or log all production inspection points relevant to quality, including a final report showing all identified imperfections.
  • Compare all recorded information with the acceptance criteria and any other relevant clauses in the applied application standard.

The welding inspector role can cover all areas from pre-welding, welding, and post-welding procedures.


Pre-welding procedures include:


  • Familiarisation with relevant documents
  • Application standard/code - for visual acceptance requirements
  • Drawings - item details and positions/tolerances, etc.
  • Quality Control Procedures - for activities such as material handling, documentation control, storage, and the issue of welding consumables
  • Quality Plan/Inspection and Test Plan/Inspection Checklist - details of inspection requirements, inspection procedures, and records required

During welding, the welding inspector shall monitor:

  • Suitability of the weather conditions
  • Compliance with the Welding process(es) used
  • Selection of the correct welding techniques
  • Selection of the suitable welding consumables
  • Selection of the appropriate welding parameters
  • Carrying out inter-run dressing

After welding is completed, the inspector shall carry out the following procedures:

Weld identification

  • Identified/numbered as required
  • It is marked with the welder’s identity

Visual inspection

  • Ensure weld is suitable for all NDT
  • Visually inspect and sentence to code requirements

Dimensional survey

  • Ensure dimensions comply with code/drawing

Other NDT

  • Ensure all NDT is completed and reports available


  • Monitor repairs to ensure compliance with procedure PWHT
  • Monitor for compliance with the procedure
  • Check chart records confirm procedure compliance

Pressure/load test

  • Ensure test equipment is suitably calibrated
  • Monitor to ensure compliance with the procedure
  • Ensure all records are available


  • Ensure any modifications are on as-built drawings
  • Ensure all required documents are available
  • Collate/file documents for manufacturing records
  • Sign all documentation and forward it to the QC department


  • Check all documentation
  • Check all consumables
  • Check materials, dimensions, and condition
  • Preheating, method, and temperature
  • Check fit and set-up
  • Ensure no undue stress is applied to the joint
  • Check welding equipment
  • Check amperage, voltage, polarity
  • Ensure the correct technique, run sequence
  • Check runout lengths, time-lapses
  • Cleaning between passes
  • Interpass temperatures
  • Consumable control
  • Maintenance of records and reports
  • Post cleaning
  • Visual inspection of completed welded joint
  • Check weld contour and width
  • PWHT
  • Dimensional accuracy
  • Weld reports
  • Tie up with NDT
  • Monitor any repairs


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