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inspectadude (Materials) (OP)
26 Nov 06 9:20
Does anyone here know about ICC's steel and welding exam?  I believe this is the first step one must take in order to be a certified welding inspector (CWI) down the road.  Has anyone taken the ICC exam?
weldtek (Materials)
26 Nov 06 20:46
If you're talking about an AWS CWI, they provide their own exam.  There's a prep course offered by AWS, as well, for those that think they need it.
inspectadude (Materials) (OP)
27 Nov 06 2:26
I do know that for CWI, you have to have no less than five years experience.  How hard is the CWI exam by AWS?
henri2 (Materials)
27 Nov 06 11:56
You have to be very careful about which certification to go for.

The CWI exam is widely recognized, however, if you intend to inspect welds and high strength bolting for steel buildings, some building departments (especially on the west coast) require that you be ICC certified....and some even require that you obtain BOTH certifications.

As weldtek pointed out, AWS does offer exam preparation seminars. It is important though, not just to rely solely on that 5 day seminar to get you through...because they will NOT supply all the answers during the seminar. My advice is that you get all the books and sample questions ahead of time...study for about 2 months...then take the seminar and the exam right after it.

For more information o the CWI exam, click the link below
http://www.aws.org/certification/CWI/

Currently ICC has an exam (structural steel and welding special inspection) which covers welding and bolting inspection which will soon be discontinued. A few months ago, they introduced an exam for bolting inspection and a separate exam for welding inspection. These two new exams were developed to replace the structural steel and welding exam.

Although the AWS CWI exam is different from the ICC exam, IMO, they compliment one another. The CWI exam tests candidates on amongst other things: fundamental welding knowledge, ability to evaluate welds (they use plastic replicas in the exam), code knowledge (you chose 1 code for the exam from a list provided). There are 3 parts to the CWI exam, namely: code, fundamentals, and practical. One has to attain at least 70% in all 3 parts and satisfy work and education requirements to become a CWI.

For more information on the new ICC exams check page 30 of 53 in the pdf file
http://www.iccsafe.org/certification/2007/2007Bulletin_CodeProfessionals.pdf
weldtek (Materials)
29 Nov 06 13:58
If it's CWI certification you're interested in, you don't need the ICC.  Of course everyone is different, but, if you have a strong welding background I would suggest you consider not taking the seminar, but instead, get the study guide from AWS and prepare on your own.  If, on the other hand, you're welding experience is limited, you may benefit from the seminar.  My opinion.
inspectadude (Materials) (OP)
29 Nov 06 20:45
This is the way I see it.  The ICC cert is just the beginning of a welding inspector's career.  You gotta start somewhere, so this is perfect.  I eventually want to get my CWI, but they require 5 years of experience, so the ICC would be a great route to go.
gtaw (Structural)
4 Dec 06 13:38
My initial AWS CWI certification was issued in 1981. It was my starting point in the inspection industry. The process of certification is on-going and only limited by an individual’s interest and ambition.

I was very content as a welder. An engineer challenged me to take the CWI saying that it would demonstrate my knowledge of welding. I accepted his challenge and prepared for the test. I passed and since then have gone on to earned an AS, BS, and MBA. I have also passed the ASNT ACCP examinations for five NDT methods and the AWS Senior CWI certification.

I don't believe I would have gotten to the point I am today without the initial AWS CWI. That one examination was one of the toughest hurdles to pass, but it gave me the boost in confidence that I needed to pursue something more than welding alone. It also opened a career path that isn’t open to someone that lacks the credentials and the respect the AWS certification program offers.

The AWS certification program has been well received by industry because they are difficult certifications to pass. I hear the pass rate is on the order of 50 to 60%.

The advice offered by "henri2"  is sound. Prepare on your own before attending the AWS seminars. I have taught several review courses for people preparing for the CWI. Those that haven’t studied before hand are at a sever disadvantage. They become overwhelmed at the shear volume of material covered by the review. Their frustration is very evident by the second day of class. It isn’t a case of the reviews not covering the material, it is a simple fact that you only hear and retain a fraction of what is being said by the instructor if all the material is new to you.

Any decision to become certified in any field is a positive step forward and should be encouraged.

Best regards - Al

inspectadude (Materials) (OP)
4 Dec 06 21:28
This is what I have to say.  I believe since they insist on 5 years experience, ICC is a place to start.  Problem is, it's not as in-depth as the CWI exam is, it's mostly about bolting and general welding.

I really want to get the CWI credential down the road, especially since this will open more doors for inspection.  Then later on, to NDT, and UT.  Does this apply only to full-pen welds and moment frames?
gtaw (Structural)
4 Dec 06 22:21
I'm not sure of what you are asking.

The CWI covers all types of welds and codes. I've passed several AWS code examinations, including AWS D1.1, AWS D1.5, API 1104, ASME Sections IX and B31.1, and ASME Sections IX and B31.3. Each was a four hour examination.

I'm not sure that is the answer to your question.

Regarding the five years of qualifying experience requirement, you can take the examination an become certified as an CAWI and bump up to the CWI without additional testing once you have the required five years of experience. Make sure you understand the experience requirements and include any post secondary schooling or training, a portion of which may be applied to your qualifying experience.

Best regards - Al

henri2 (Materials)
5 Dec 06 16:39
inspectadude on 4 Dec 06 21:28, in comparing the ICC exam to the CWI exam you wrote "Problem is, it's not as in-depth as the CWI exam is, it's mostly about bolting and general welding."

While these exams cover some common subject areas, there are many more subject areas which are not common to both exams. For instance the ICC steel/welding exam covers plan reading (high and low-rise buildings) and bolting while the CWI exam does not....and the CWI exam covers fundamental welding knowledge and hand on practical, while the ICC exam does not. This is one of the reasons (as I pointed out in my previous post) some code enforcing agencies now require that the inspector possess both certifications.

From what I hear, the pass rate for the ICC steel and welding exam is not that high....less than 50%. I know CWIs who had to attempt it several times to pass; and I know of ICC certified inspectors who had to take the CWI exam more than once to become certified. So it is difficult to say which exam is harder. All I can say is, do not underestimate these exams...and if you do not have a solid comprehension of the subject matters covered in these exams, attend a seminar or course that will prepare you for them.

As gtaw has pointed out, there is nothing to stop you from taking the CWI exam now. I know many inspectors who were unable to satisfy work experience requirements for the CWI. They took the ICC exam first, to enable them to work...then next they took the CWI exam....attained CAWI status...and after they satisfied the work experience requirements, they applied for upgrade to the CWI status.
gtaw (Structural)
5 Dec 06 17:36
Good advice from "henri2"

Best regards - Al

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