A welding inspector or certified welding inspector (CWI) in the oil and gas industry is a contract professional working at a wellsite, refinery, or pipeline for a welding company, service company, or operator. This person oversees a welding job to ensure proper procedures are followed to produce safe, efficient, compliant wells or pipes. A welding inspector checks welders’ qualifications, maintains quality testing documentation, and performs or supervises inspection of materials, welding processes, and equipment when necessary. Their advice and recommendations are reported to the chief inspector.
What are the responsibilities of a welding inspector? A welding inspector monitors welding activities on a rig, pipeline, or facility including verification of the welders’ and radiographers’ qualifications and all welding processes. They actively inspect coating, excavations, pipe lowering, welding metallurgy, joining and cutting processes, and they document their findings. They identify defects and test repairs, making sure all aspects of the job are safe and compliant with project and environmental requirements. Welding inspectors are also responsible for managing and inspecting materials used by welders and radiographers. They must be experts in red line and as built drawings, welding procedure specifications (WPS), weld test documentation (PQR, WPQ), and nondestructive testing (NDT) inspection methods. After performing or supervising WPQ tests and weld failure evaluations they report issues and anticipated problems to the chief inspector.
What is the required experience or career path for a welding inspector? Experience of 2-10 years working in pipeline or plant construction and welding is preferred in a prospective welding inspector. An undergraduate or technical degree is typically expected for this position, and an AWS-CWI and other certifications are often required. To be considered for many welding inspector positions one must be a certified welding inspector (CWI).
Where does a welding inspector work? A welding inspector spends about 80% of their time on location at the wellsite, pipeline, or refinery and the remaining 20% of their time in an office.
What is a welding inspector's schedule? A welding inspector working onsite at a rig may work 12-hour daytime shifts on 14-day hitches. They may be required to live on or near location. A welding inspector working on a facility or refinery often works a more conventional schedule.
Who does a welding inspector report to? The welding inspector reports to the chief inspector though they may not necessarily be contracted by the same company.
Who reports to a welding inspector? There is no direct report to a welding inspector.
How much does a welding inspector make? Welding inspectors, particularly certified welding inspectors (CWIs), make on average $100,000 per year. They earn between $25 and $75 per hour depending on location, specialties, and certifications.