A welding inspector's role varies depending on the level of certification. You must become qualified to inspect welds. Qualified inspectors know what type of weld is being performed and the defects to look for to determine if the welded material is safe. You can work in the construction and automotive industry, or in any industry where welding material is a primary concern, such as ship building. Many schools train welding inspectors, but finding a qualified school takes research.

Certified Associate Welding Inspector

A certified associate welding inspector (CAWI) has different qualifications than some certified welding inspectors. Few welding schools have the CAWI, but you can find them through the American Welding Society (AWS) or other welding organizations. A CAWI school trains you in the basics of welding inspection and the tools used to inspect welds. You don't need a high school diploma to qualify for this certification, but an 8th-grade education and four years of work experience are required. Most of this training is through vocational training found in high schools. Once you have a high school diploma, you can take the certified associate's welding instructor examination. You might take a welding-inspection seminar or examination course first to ensure you are ready for the certification exam.

Certified Welding Inspector

A certified welding inspector (CWI) is the second stage or type of welding-inspection career available to individuals with no welding-inspection experience. The Welder Training and Testing Institute (WTTI) is one of many welding schools that provide this type of schooling and certification. AWS is the national certification organization recognized by all industries. WTTI welding-inspector training is recognized by this organization. You need to verify that the CWI school qualifies you for AWS certification. The course at WTTI and other CWI schools include a review of all the applicable welding codes and welding-inspection techniques.

Senior Certified Welding Inspector

Senior certified welding inspector (SCWI) is the highest level of welding inspector you can achieve. Tulsa Welding School has a good master welding-inspector training program that qualifies you for certification as a senior welding inspector. A CWI with six years experience qualifies as an SCWI. So does a person who has worked as a supervisor in quality assurance. Most master welding-inspector courses, such as the one found at Tulsa Welding School, have different phases to the coursework. They run from phase one to phase ten. The course covers every aspect of welding, type of welding, type of welding equipment and material, welding inspection tool and other engineering disciplines.

Nondestructive Testing Inspector

One of the few known welding inspectors is the nondestructive testing inspectors. These welding inspectors use equipment and chemicals to inspect welds. AWS has a certification for a radiographic interpreter that falls under the category of nondestructive test welding inspectors. Chattahoochee Technical College is a welding school that trains you in nondestructive testing. Certification in nondestructive testing requires coursework in safety procedures, eddy currents, liquid penetration, magnetic particles, radiographic and ultrasonic inspection techniques. Each one of these courses trains a welding inspector or material inspector on the different ways to inspect defects in welds you can't see.