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Welding inspectors visually and mechanically check welds for quality and safety. In order to become a welding inspector, you should begin making preparations during high school. You will probably need some additional training at a community college or vocational institute as well. A certain amount of practical work experience will be required, in addition to passing a certification exam to become a welding inspector.
A welding inspector must make certain that each step of the welding process is conducted according to certain quality and safety standards. These professionals typically oversee the work of many different welders and must have a working knowledge of all applicable codes and regulations. They conduct visual inspections of the welds and use special equipment to see beneath the surface. A certain amount of education and work experience is needed to become a welding inspector. You must also be professionally certified by a recognized organization to work in this field.
You should begin preparing for this career during high school. Although there is no minimum educational requirement to become a welding inspector, earning a high school diploma could reduce your training period by several years. Take courses in math, mechanical drafting, and industrial arts in order to prepare for your formal training. You should also complete courses in physics, chemistry, electricity, and welding if they are offered.
Post-secondary education is not required to become a welding inspector, but can often cut your on-the-job training time in half. An associate’s degree or certificate is usually enough to begin hands-on training for this occupation. Welding courses are available at many different community colleges and trade schools. Basic welding courses will teach you metallurgy, blueprint reading, and how to perform various types of welds. You should also enroll in classes to learn about visual inspection and welding codes.
After completing your formal education, apply for an entry-level welding position at an aerospace, manufacturing, shipbuilding, or construction company. You must learn how to perform welding-related tasks, such as checking angles, grooves, and dimensions, as well as cleaning and inspecting equipment. As you gain experience, you will be allowed to weld difficult metals and angles. Your welding inspector training must also include writing reports, using inspection equipment, and teaching other welders. On-the-job training for this career typically takes a minimum of two years to complete.
Before you can officially become a welding inspector, you must take and pass a certification exam. In the United States, professional certification is offered by the American Welding Society. Certification candidates are required to have a high school diploma and five years of practical work experience to sit for the exam. Candidates with vocational or college training may reduce the work experience requirement by one or two years. The society does offer a test-preparation seminar prior to the exam.