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A certified welding inspector mainly engages in ensuring the quality and safety of welded work in various structures. Perhaps one of the important tests conducted by a welding inspector includes ultrasonic nondestructive testing, where a check is performed on the safety of welds in structures and for any defects and cracks that can jeopardize the safety of the structure.
In order to conduct some of the necessary welding tests, such as checking for cracks and testing welding strength, an inspector may need to use flashlights and magnifying glasses. These are also utilized to determine whether a welding joint has any cold welds or undercuts.
Though welding jobs may easily ruin one’s vision, especially if the welder is not careful when using a hot rod near a metal object, it is very important for welding inspectors to have impeccable vision. Some employers even require annual vision checks.
Often times, a welding inspector may be working on sky-rises and other structures that are high off the ground, which means that an inspector shouldn't have a fear of heights. A welding inspector has a clear understanding of welding techniques, and aside from inspecting, must be able to weld and test metal samples for appropriate welding techniques and processes.
An inspector has to frequently take notes and record what he observes on the field, which is why it is necessary that he or she have clear communication skills. Proper communication is all the more important given the safety and seriousness of the issues a welding inspector is responsible for.
Above all, a welding inspector should have certification to perform inspections in a specific field. Not only does this help ensure that the welder is current on proper procedures and rules, but it is something most, if not all, employers require. In order to receive certification in the US, one does not have to have a high school diploma. Typically, welding experience counts as the most important skill when getting certified for an inspection job. Depending on the certification he receives, a welding inspector may work in several different areas.
One of the organizations that offers certification in the United States is the American Welding Society, which certifies welders to perform inspections on structures, such as buildings and dams. The American Petroleum Institute offers certification for the welding and inspection of petroleum vessels, while the American Society of Mechanical Engineers certifies welders for inspecting pressure vessels, such as steam drums. Each organization has its own codes the inspector has to abide by, which are called the Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS).
Does a welding inspector have more job security than a welder? In this part of the world, welders find it easy to get jobs but have trouble hanging on to them -- they are almost like temporary labor in a lot of companies. Perhaps they should consider making the jump into the inspection field if, of course, those professionals are more secure in their jobs.
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