How to Become a

Welding Inspector

The complete career guide to be a Welding Inspector: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $60,030
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 7.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute

Welding inspectors provide professional assessment regarding the quality of the welding done on a specific project. They make this determination based on visual and diagnostic testing of the welds, informed by their experience and training in the welding industry.

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What is a Welding Inspector?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in welding inspector roles:

  • Inspect items that have undergone welding to measure the quality and durability of the finished product
  • Provide formal sign off on completed welds to certify safety and structural integrity
  • Write reports and complete paperwork pertaining to welding inspections

A Day in the Life

Most commonly employed by commercial and industrial construction firms, welding inspectors provide professional assessment regarding the quality of the welding done on a specific project. They make this determination based on visual and diagnostic testing of the welds, informed by their experience and training in the welding industry. Welding inspectors will have a working knowledge of mathematics and understanding structural concepts to inform their evaluations.

In addition to construction, welding inspectors are also used to evaluate welding repairs and other tasks in everything from airplanes to machinery and public works. In each case, their inspection is meant to ensure that safety and structural integrity are present and up to acceptable levels. Welding inspectors are also trained to evaluate building plans to identify potential issues before construction begins.

While much of a welding inspector’s job is spent in the field making assessments, the other side of the career is found inside an office. This part entails writing reports that will address the safety and quality of the welding that has been completed on a given project. Because the inspector’s job is to provide a professional opinion as to whether the welding is up to standards or not, these reports are the basis for legal responsibility in cases where defective work causes accidents or other problems.

Typical Work Schedule

Welding inspector roles are commonly full-time jobs that are conducted during normal business hours. However, the working schedule can vary by employer and industry, and irregular working hours—including nights and weekends—may be required by some employers in this field.

Typical Employers

Welding inspectors are most commonly employed by companies in the construction and manufacturing industries. They may inspect welds for metal erection companies, or they may inspect welds for companies that manufacture aircraft and other metal products.

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How To Become a Welding Inspector

To become a welding inspector, a person will need to start first with standard welding instruction or experience, both of which are equally suited to an inspection position. In the case of the former, a 1-2 year program of study at a technical school will teach the basics of arc welding, fabrication, and being able to read blueprints. All of these skills are also available as part of on-the-job training, and entry-level welding jobs can be found in many different industries, such as construction, and industrial manufacturing.

Like other types of welders, a welding inspector is required to receive certification from the American Welding Society (AWS). This certification is split between many levels, and there is an official title of Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) that can be attained. Usually between three and four years of experience are required before taking the certification exam, which covers a wide variety of welding concepts, including welding code, application techniques, and welding fundamentals.

If they wish to further their ability and knowledge, a CWI can also opt for secondary endorsements that extend the range of welding jobs that can be undertaken. Endorsements exist for railroads, bridges, and other specialty structures that will allow a welding inspector to add to their resume. For each endorsement that a welding inspector completes, they will receive a certificate noting their successful completion of the exam as well as an endorsement card.

Welding Inspector Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Welding Inspector salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Welding Inspector's can make an average annual salary of $60,030, or $29 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $44,490 or $21 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #270 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Welding Inspectors

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 4.7%   Masters
  • 21%   Bachelors
  • 12.3%   Associates
  • 32.2%   College
  • 26%   High School
  • 3.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Welding Inspector job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 8,000 jobs for a total of 109,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 7.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #282 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Welding Inspectors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 40,000 2,200 2%
Engineering services 15,900 1,900 2%
Self-employed workers 9,300 400 1%

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