Welding inspectors are professionals who visually inspect and test welded steel pieces used in structures such as bridges and buildings. Certified welding inspector schools prepare students to work at such venues as engineering consultancy firms, civil engineering firms, construction companies and government regulation agencies. The average certified welding inspector salary in 2011 was $44,000, reports SimplyHired.com.

Degree or Certificate

Individuals who want to become certified welding inspectors should complete certificate or degree programs in this field at trade schools, technical schools, community colleges or vocational schools. Certificate programs last a year or less, while associate degree programs last two years. Training at a certified welding inspector school can count for at least a year of the total field experience required to earn certification in this field.

Certification

Certified welding inspector schools offer preparatory courses for students to be certified at one of three levels through the American Welding Society. A student can choose to become a certified associate welding inspector, certified welding inspector or senior certified welding inspector. All levels involve passing an eye test as well as a written and practical test. The tests cover quality assurance and welding processes. Candidates for the certified associate welding inspector designation must have a minimum of two years of experience in a welding-related job. The requirement for certified welding inspectors is five years of experience, and the standard for senior certified welding inspectors is six years as a certified welding inspector and 15 years in a welding-related profession. Certified welding inspectors and senior certified welding inspectors can take advantage of a nine-year re-certification cycle by completing examinations or continuing education classes. The certified associate welding inspector designation cannot be renewed, so individuals certified at this level must pursue the certified welding inspector designation to continue practicing in this industry.

Admission

To get into a certified welding inspector school, students should have a high school diploma or GED. Schools may have additional specific requirements for admission. For example, Milwaukee Area Technical College in Minnesota, which offers an advanced certificate program for certified welding inspectors, requires prospective students to submit scores from standardized tests such as the American College Test, or complete a placement test that gauges their readiness for college-level studies. Students must submit transcripts from high school and any college courses they have taken as well.

Courses

Classes at a certified welding inspector school cover such topics as arc welding, gas welding, pipe welding, mechanical drawing and blueprint reading. Students learn welding quality systems, as well as weldment documentation and evaluation. A weldment is an assembled unit of pieces welded together. Pupils at some schools, such as Knight School of Welding in Kentucky, also take courses on welding symbols, safety, brazing, soldering, test methods, heat control and metallurgy.