Welding Certifications

March 26, 2021

One of the best things about the welding industry is that there are several certifications that you can get. 

The welding industry can be competitive, so it is always a good idea to further your education. 

Welding Certifications
man holding a welding torch

Getting an advanced certificate will help you land higher-paying jobs and will give you a more secure position. 

If you are interested in receiving a higher credential in welding but are unsure where to start, this guide will be for you.

We will cover several welding certifications and will explain how to get them and what they are. 

By the end of this article, you will have a good idea of what certification you want to aim for.

Let’s get started. 

Certified Welder (CW)

Certified Welder (CW)

How Do I Get It?

There are no prerequisites for the CW since this is the most basic welding certification you can get. 

The Certified Welder certificate is quite simple to obtain. You will have to book an appointment at an AWS test facility and then complete a weld. 

A Certified Welding Inspector will then check the weld and make sure it is of good quality.

Not only will you be tested on your welding ability, but they will also monitor your ability to follow the Welding Procedure Specification. 

What Does It Mean?

When you receive a certified welder certificate, you will have a better chance of getting a basic welding job.

You can also start to build your experience and work on receiving more advanced certificates. 

Certified Welding Educator (CWE)

Certified Welding Educator (CWE)

How Do I Get It?

To receive the Certified Welding Educator certification, you will need to apply and take an examination. 

The test will have two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A will test the fundamentals, while Part B will test practical skills. 

Welders will often take a prep course to prepare for the CWE test. The prep course will cover several lessons over a week (typically) to train the students on various aspects of the test. 

The course will usually start by training the welding students in welding inspection technology theory.

They will then have a full day to learn how to read the AWS D1.1 welding codebook and practice how to interpret specific documents. 

The last few days will typically involve some hands-on learning about visually inspecting other welding work. This section will teach the students about non-destructive testing.

When it comes to welding certifications, this will be one of the more challenging ones to obtain.

However, if a welder already has CWI, CAWI, or SCWI, they do not have to write the test.

They can simply apply for the CWE certification, teach some welding classes and receive a written recommendation from the instructor they worked with. 

What Does It Mean?

When you are a Certified Welding Educator, you will be able to teach welding classes. 

As an educator, you will be familiar with all of the requirements for welding training. One of your main jobs will be to plan lessons according to the guidelines.

You will also be responsible for running training classes and evaluating the performances of welding students. 

When one has the CWE certification, they have to maintain a thorough understanding of the welding process, procedures, materials, qualifications, and even the limitations of testing.

Lastly, they should be able to read drawings with ease and prepare/develop records and reports.

Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

How Do I Get It?

This credential is one of the most lucrative welding certifications you can obtain.

The first step in receiving the Certified Welding Inspector certification is to pass a vision test. 

You will also need a fair amount of experience and education to receive this certification. The CWI has some flexibility when it comes to qualifications.

For instance, if you don’t have as much education, you can still apply for the CWI if you have a certain amount of years of experience. Let’s take a look. 

Minimum EducationMinimum Welding Work Experience
Bachelor degree or a higher degree in welding technology or engineeringOne year
An associate degree, bachelor or higher-level degree in welding engineering, technology, or physical scienceThree years 
Technical or engineering coursesThree years
Vocational or trade coursesFour years
High school diplomaFive years
Schooling up to 8th-grade levelNine years
Schooling lower than 8th-grade levelTwelve years

When you have completed the proper amount of education and experience, you can then apply and book a CWI exam.

The Exam consists of three parts, and they are two hours long each. You will need to get at least a 72% or above to pass. 

The first part of the exam covers the fundamentals of inspection and is multiple choice. The second part of the exam is a hands-on portion where the test-takers will perform welding inspections.

The third part of the exam involves completing a test with the welding code book. Most test-takers will complete a prep-course before the exam, but it is not mandatory.

What Does It Mean?

Having your Certified Welding Inspector certification means that you can inspect the quality of different welds at different companies and workplaces.

You will use electrical instruments to test the weld and ensure that the worker completed a high-quality, proper weld. Inspectors will also make sure the workers are welding safely and correctly. 

As a CWI, you will most likely be traveling around the country and inspecting hundreds of different workplaces.

If you love to travel and meet new people, this certificate will be something to consider. 

Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT)

Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT)

How Do I Get It?

Welders will first need to qualify to take the CRWT exam. Depending on their education level, they will need to have six months, one year, or six years of welding work experience. 

Much like the other certifications, you will need to take an exam. The exam covers many different concepts and fundamentals of resistance welding. 

Test-takers must prove that they are well-versed in the different processes and show the skills and knowledge to correctly set-up and operate the resistance welding equipment

Many test-takers will take an online preparation seminar through AWS to prepare for the exam.

The prep course will cover everything the welders will need to know for the exam and strengthen their resistance welding skills.

What Does It Mean?

Having the CRWT certification means that you can advance your career as a welder. You will be able to set-up, maintain and operate a resistance welding machine. 

With this certification, you will have more job opportunities with higher pay. You will also have the chance to help different workplaces and companies improve productivity and profitability. 

Certified Radiographic Interpreter (CRI)

Certified Radiographic Interpreter (CRI)

How Do I Get It?

Like many other welding certifications, you need to apply to take the examination to become a Certified Radiographic Interpreter.

There are a few requirements you will need to fulfill before taking the test. 

  • Eye exam. A welder must have adequate near-vision sight to qualify. 
  • Must have a high school diploma. The minimum education requirement is a high school diploma or GED. 
  • Must have at least 40 hours of training. A welder should have training in radiographic interpretation and examination that is related to the AWS seminar topics. 
  • Radiographic interpretation experience. An applicant must have a minimum of one year of experience with radiographic interpretation as a company-certified or nationally-certified worker. 

When you have completed all of the required experience, an applicant can then apply to take the exam. There will also be options to take AWS seminars to prepare for the content of the exam. 

Test-takers must be familiar with reading and interpreting the information presented on radiographic media while evaluating base metal or weldments to pass the exam. 

The welder must also be fluent with all radiography processes and adequately perform welding and casting processes. 

What Does It Mean?

Being a Certified Radiographic Interpreter allows you to select image quality indicators correctly, identify correct film exposure, characterize indicators, and learn the use of acceptance criteria according to the API, AWS, and ASME codes. 

Certified Welding Engineer (CWEng)

Certified Welding Engineer (CWEng)

How Do I Get It?

This credential is one of the welding certifications that requires quite a bit of education or experience.

To qualify for the exam, you must have one of the combinations listed below.

  • A bachelor of science in engineering degree and one year of experience 
  • A bachelor of science in engineering technology and two years of experience
  • A bachelor of science in a related field and five years of experience
  • An Associate in Applied Science degree and ten years of experience
  • High school diploma and fifteen years of experience

If you have the proper qualifications, you can then apply to take the examination. 

The exam will cover standards of fabrication and assembly, specifications, and different codes. 

Once you pass the exam, you will receive the certificate. It is not mandatory to enter a prep-course for this certificate, but AWS highly recommends it. 

What Does It Mean?

A Certified Welding Engineer is involved in producing joints and weldments.

Welders who hold this certificate will help make decisions from pre-production to post-production; they are essential to the entire process.

They review contract documents and standards to assemble certain parts correctly. Welding engineers can also write instructions on how to assemble products correctly.

Certified Welding Supervisor (CWS)

Certified Welding Supervisor (CWS)

How Do I Get It?

Much like other welding certifications, you will first have to apply to take the examination. The application process can take up to six weeks. 

To qualify for the exam, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent diploma like a GED. 

When it comes to working experience, you will need to have at least three years of practical welding experience.

The work experience can be in the field of construction, fabrication, or any other welding-related industry. 

If you have prior teaching experience in the welding industry, you may substitute some teaching experience for work experience. 

Once the examination application is approved, you can take the exam. There are also some prep-courses that you can take as well. 

This exam is about six hours long, so it is important to be well prepared.

What Does It Mean?

When you are a Certified Welding Supervisor, you will have more opportunities for higher-paying jobs.

You will also be helping different workplaces run more efficiently and more profitably. With a welding supervisor’s help, companies can make over $17,000 more than their typical income. 

As a supervisor, you will be leading teams and teaching them how to work more productively. You will also be helping them produce higher-quality welds.

Certified Robotic Arc Welding (CRAW)

Certified Robotic Arc Welding (CRAW)

How Do I Get It?

If you are interested in getting the CRAW certification, you will have to apply to take the examination. 

Something to note is that there are two CRAW certifications. You can either apply to be a Certified Robotic Arc Welding technician or operator. 

Below are the qualifications you will need to apply. 

  • High school diploma / GED
  • At least six months of experience in manual or semiautomatic arc welding
  • 12 or 18 months of experience as a welder (12 months for the operator position or 18 months for the technician position)
  • Three or five years of experience in an occupation that is related to welding/robotics
  • Post-secondary education (can substitute for two years of experience)

If you want to apply for the technician position, you will also need to have the Certified Welding Inspector certification. 

Once your application is accepted, you can take the exam. To pass the exam, you will need 75% or higher. There are two parts to the exam.

The first part is a multiple-choice knowledge-based section, while the second part is practical and performance-based.

Part B, the performance-based section, will require the test-taker to do 30 tasks related to robotic systems.

What Does It Mean?

Welders with the Certified Robotic Arc Welding certification can work with various standards, specifications, and codes within the workplace. 

Another benefit of this certification is that you will have more chances of higher-paying and secure jobs. 

Conclusion

There are many different welding certifications that you can get. 

Since different certifications have various qualifications, you will find a suitable option no matter how much experience you have.  

In most cases, you will need to apply to take a certification examination. The application process will usually take a few weeks. 

After you are accepted, you can then challenge the exam. 

Even though they aren’t mandatory, many people will sign up for prep-courses. These programs are highly recommended and will cover everything you need to know for the exam. 

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