Arc Welding 101: Benefits of the CWI designation

Practical Welding Today September/October 2011
May 7, 2014
By: Paul Cameron

Q: I am trying to decide whether obtaining CWI designation would be beneficial to my career. I am presently unemployed and would like to increase my marketability to potential employers. I have a B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering plus over 20 years experience as a materials engineer in the power generation industry.

David P.

A: It’s common for welders to make the transition from welder to inspector. Dan Davis, editor-in-chief of The FABRICATOR®, wrote an excellent article last year on just that subject.

The welding world is made up of inspectors, welders, engineers, salespeople, programmers, purchasers, managers, and metallurgists like you; all of whom make decisions affecting welding every day. So where does the CWI designation fit into this conversation?

Achieving CWI designation simply lets those you come in contact with know that you have a fairly good understanding of welding processes, weld quality, and welding code requirements. Those are important attributes for any weld decision-maker. That’s not to say all CWIs have the same level of knowledge, but you certainly know a CWI’s base.

Although CWI positions are out there, it is not common for employers to look only for a CWI. The designation is often coupled with some other requirement, such as a CWI with a UT Level II or a welding engineer with a CWI. Five years ago, these job designations may have come with a qualifier like “Must be able to attain CWI designation within one year.” But that statement is becoming less and less common.

So where do you find the training necessary to determine if you are ready for certification? I may be a little biased, but the American Welding Society holds regular seminars all across this country. The Hobart Institute offers an extended (80-hour) class; Lincoln Electric Co. offers a 40-hour preclass prior to the AWS seminar; and several schools, AWS chapters, and businesses offer CWI training.

More and more employers are requiring certification as a condition of employment because they can. Adding the CWI designation to your resume certainly would be considered a feather in your cap.

Paul Cameron

Braun Intertec
4210 Highway 14 East
Rochester, MN 55904

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