Welding Inspector Career Profile

A welding inspector (WI) inspects metal structures for flaws and repairs them by welding. WIs are responsible for the engineering and construction or assembly of units according to established codes and specifications. They have to take full responsibility for following blueprints according to set dimensions and codes.


  • Check for visible defects in completed units or work in progress and fix them.
  • Test for porosity, cracking, lack of sidewall fusion, incomplete penetration and other such defects that can reduce the strength of the welding.
  • Detect flaws in the integrated structures of steel, aluminum, titanium and other materials and compounds using ultrasonic nondestructive testing.
  • Check dimension correction, beading, weld penetration and joint strength; conduct other critical monitoring.
  • Apply the rules and laws of metallurgical properties and welding principles while alleviating problems and/or defects.
  • Prepare samples for testing the joint strength, alignment and other intrinsic and vital aspects.
  • Separate the defective pieces and distribute them for scrap metal processing.

Education and Other Skills

  • It could help to obtain a diploma or a degree in metallurgy or a related field.
  • Obtain a minimum of four years in an apprenticeship capacity before being a welder at a welding shop, construction site or industrial area.
  • Study to be a certified associate welding inspector (CAWI) by attending welding code clinics, visual inspection workshops and welding inspection technology seminars.
  • Complete the CAWI exam and become a CAWI after gaining several years of field experience. If you earn at least 72 percent, you can become an associate welding inspector; if not, you will have to gain another 40 hours of field experience and then retake the examination.
  • Knowledge of how to use detectors and transducers is essential.
  • WIs should also know how to use the phased array techniques for interpretation of minute flaws.
  • They should know about the different standard codes required for different structures. For example, the standard code for steel bridges is under the American Welding Society (AWS) code D1.5. In addition, WIs have to tabulate the standard codes for the jobs on hand.

Working Environment

WIs are usually employed in welding shops or on construction sites, supervising welders. They have to use ultrasonic detectors and angle beam transducers on consecutive bases. WIs use flashlights and magnifying glasses and should carry these on them. This position is physically demanding and exhausting. Inspections can cause a lot of eyestrain. As a result, WIs should have eye checkups regularly.


Depending on experience and CAWI status, pay is set by employers. WIs' hourly pay is given below based on work experience.

Experience                   Pay per hour

1 to 4 years                 $16 to $24

5 to 9 years                 $21 to $30

10 to 19 years             $20 to $33

20 years and above      $24 to $37

Job Prospects

As an increasing number of construction plans are depending largely on metal frameworks or structures, the demand for welding will increase rapidly. This means that there will be an increase in the job opportunities for welding inspectors.