Welding inspector

A welding inspector


Welding inspectors examine the connections and bonds between metals. They utilise visual tools and electrical instruments to inspect and ensure the quality and safety of connections. Welding inspectors ensure that all related welding activities, plans and materials follow the appropriate guidelines, in accordance with safety regulations. In addition to working in the field completing their examinations of welding projects, inspectors spend time in an office setting compiling their reports.

Welding inspectors typically perform the following duties:

  • Review and approve welding procedures
  • Verify welder and welding procedure qualification compliance
  • Verify safety requirements compliance
  • Develop visual inspection procedures and provide non-destructive examination planning/scheduling
  • Review contract requirements and vendor/contractor compliance
  • Develop, implement, or oversee quality control programs and measures

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to welding inspector:

electric arc welding engineer
electric spot welding engineer
welding checker
welding overseer
welding assessor
engineering welding fabricator inspector
sheet-metal welding engineer
welder-fabricator inspector
resistance welding inspector
ultrasonic metal welder engineer
welding inspectors
welding assurance inspector
production line welding inspector
robotic welding engineer
welding examiner
tack welding inspector
construction welder inspector
welding inspector
welding supervisor
welding control inspector
flash welding engineer
welding engineer inspector
stitch welding engineer
butt welding engineer
sheet metal welding inspector
engineering welding inspector

Working conditions

Many welding inspectors work in a variety of environments both inside and outside of the office, which may include manufacturing facilities, training centers, fabrication shops, and active construction sites. Travel may be minimal or extensive, given the nature of the work.

Minimum qualifications

An associate’s degree in welding, metals fabrication, engineering technology, or a related field is generally the minimum required to work as a welding inspector. For better career advancement prospects, a bachelor’s degree in welding, welding engineering, materials science or a related field is recommended.

Welding inspectors may also need a certificate, such as AWS Certified Welding Associate Inspector, or AWS Certified Welding Inspector, both provided by the American Welding Society.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Welding inspector is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Welding inspector career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to welding inspector.

metal production supervisor
container equipment assembly supervisor
machine operator supervisor
machinery assembly supervisor
wood assembly supervisor

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of welding inspector. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of welding inspector with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

welding engineer
quality services manager
chemical metallurgist
surface engineer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of welding inspector.

  • Metal joining technologies: The various technologies used for the joining and assembling of fabricated metal workpieces.
  • Welding techniques: The different methods of welding together pieces of metal using various equipment, such as oxygen-acetylene welding, gas metal arc welding and tungsten inert gas welding.
  • Types of metal: Qualities, specifications, applications and reactions to different fabricating processes of various types of metal, such as steel, aluminium, brass, copper and others.
  • Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
  • Database quality standards: Techniques and methods of estimation and evaluation of system quality and overall database quality, as well as the set quality standards and regulations.
  • Types of metal manufacturing processes: Metal processes linked to the different types of metal, such as casting processes, heat treatment processes, repair processes and other metal manufacturing processes.
  • Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of welding inspector.

  • Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
  • Record survey measurements: Gather and process descriptive data by using documents such as sketches, drawings and notes.
  • Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
  • Set quality assurance objectives: Define quality assurance targets and procedures and see to their maintenance and continued improvement by reviewing targets, protocols, supplies, processes, equipment and technologies for quality standards.
  • Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
  • Operate welding equipment: Use welding equipment to melt and join together pieces of metal or steel; wear protective eyewear during the working process.
  • Record test data: Record data which has been identified specifically during preceding tests in order to verify that outputs of the test produce specific results or to review the reaction of the subject under exceptional or unusual input.
  • Perform welding inspection: Inspect and assure the quality of welded metals using diverse testing techniques.
  • Spot metal imperfections: Observe and identify various kinds of imperfections in metal workpieces or finished products. Recognise the best fitted manner of fixing the problem, which could be caused by corrosion, rust, fractures, leaks, and other signs of wear.
  • Identify hazards in the workplace: Perform safety audits and inspections on workplaces and workplace equipment. Ensure that they meet safety regulations and identify hazards and risks.
  • Ensure quality of final product: Ensure that finished products meet or exceed company specifications.
  • Revise quality control systems documentation: Revise quality control documents. Read through the documents, editing them, and revise items in the documentation like the numbering scheme, process to create new documents, revision and follow up process, closure of non-conformities, methods for tracking documents, etc.
  • Analyse test data: Interpret and analyse data collected during testing in order to formulate conclusions, new insights or solutions.
  • Evaluate employees work: Evaluate the need for labour for the work ahead. Evaluate the performance of the team of workers and inform superiors. Encourage and support the employees in learning, teach them techniques and check the application to ensure product quality and labour productivity.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Liaise with quality assurance: Work closely with the relevant quality assurance or grading party involved.
  • Ensure fulfilment of legal requirements: Ensure that all legal requirements are met.
  • Report defective manufacturing materials: Maintain required company records and forms in order to report any defective materials or questionable conditions of manufacturing machinery and equipment.
  • Adhere to organisational guidelines: Adhere to organisational or department specific standards and guidelines. Understand the motives of the organisation and the common agreements and act accordingly.
  • Recognise signs of corrosion: Recognise the symptoms of metal showing oxidation reactions with the environment resulting in rusting, copper pitting, stress cracking, and others, and estimate the rate of corrosion.
  • Perform sample testing: Examine and perform tests on prepared samples; avoid any possibility of accidental or deliberate contamination during the testing phase. Operate sampling equipment in line with design parameters.
  • Prepare samples for testing: Take and prepare samples for testing, verify their representability; avoid bias and any possibility of accidental or deliberate contamination. Provide clear numbering, labelling and recording of the sample details, in order to make sure that the results can be accurately matched to the original material.
  • Follow company standards: Lead and manage according to the organisation’s code of conduct.
  • Write records for repairs: Write records of the repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, of parts and materials used, and other repair facts.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of welding inspector. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Non-ferrous metal processing: Various processing methods on non-ferrous metals and alloys such as copper, zinc and aluminium.
  • Ferrous metal processing: Various processing methods on iron and iron-containing alloys such as steel, stainless steel and pig iron.
  • Plastic welding: Methods to join softened plastic surfaces, usually by heating and applying pressure, such as heat sealing, laser welding, high-frequency welding and ultrasonic welding.
  • Technical drawings: Drawing software and the various symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles and page layouts used in technical drawings.
  • Electron beam welding processes: The various processes of welding using electron beams, such as electron beam focusing, beam deflection, penetration, and others.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of welding inspector. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems that arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environmental regulations and best practices.
  • Monitor manufacturing quality standards: Monitor quality standards in manufacturing and finishing process.
  • Manage emergency procedures: React quickly in case of emergency and set planned emergency procedures in motion.
  • Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
  • Perform metal active gas welding: Weld metal, mostly steel, workpieces together using active gas mixtures such as concoctions of argon, carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  • Use non-destructive testing equipment: Use specific non-destructive testing methods and equipment that do not cause any damage to the product, such as X-rays, ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle inspection, industrial CT scanning and others, in order to find defects in and assure quality of a manufactured and a repaired product.
  • Ensure correct gas pressure: Ensure the necessary, usually constant, pressure of gas which is part of a machine or tool, such as torching equipment, used to process metal workpieces during metal fabrication processes.
  • Supervise staff: Oversee the selection, training, performance and motivation of staff.
  • Weld mining machinery: Cut and weld pieces of metal in order to repair broken metal parts, or to assemble new parts.
  • Consult technical resources: Read and interpret such technical resources such as digital or paper drawings and adjustment data in order to properly set up a machine or working tool, or to assemble mechanical equipment.
  • Perform tungsten inert gas welding: Weld metal workpieces together by tungsten intert gas (TIG) welding. This arc welding process welds metal workpieces using the heat generated between an arc of electricity struck between a non-consumable tungsten metal electrode. Use an argon or helium inert gas to shield the weld from atmospheric contamination.
  • Recommend product improvements: Recommend product modifications and process improvements.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Perform metal inert gas welding: Weld metal workpieces together using inert gasses or gas mixtures such as argon and helium. This technique is usually used for welding aluminium and other non-ferrous metals.
  • Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
  • Draw design sketches: Create rough pictures to assist in creating and communicating design concepts.

ISCO group and title

3115 – Mechanical engineering technicians

  1. Welding inspector – ESCO
  2. Welding Inspectors | Careers in Welding
  3. Featured image: By Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert – http://www.defenseimagery.mil/imageRetrieve.action?guid=1e818d18f88a90d44819ed3f5a0e486ee867479e&t=2, Public Domain
Last updated on March 8, 2023