What In The World Is A Certified Welding Engineer?
Certified Welding Engineers are vital to major welding projects. Their role is to plan and strategize how to get the job done. They develop welding procedures to minimize the amount of time and materials the project takes while maximizing the quality. But most Welding Engineers do very little welding themselves (many don’t do any at all). They might direct the welders what to do, but they can’t replace them.
How Do You Become A Welding Engineer?
Welding Engineers tend to tote their title around, but they’ve definitely had to earn it. According to the AWS, before you can even take the welding engineer exam, you have to pass one of these requirements:
- A Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in engineering and a minimum of 1 year of related experience.
- A Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in engineering technology and a minimum of 2 years of related experience.
- Other related Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degrees and a minimum of 5 years of related experience.
- An Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree and a minimum of 10 years of related experience.
- A high school diploma or an equivalent program and a minimum of 15 years of related experience.
Unless you’re looking to make the jump to Welding Engineer when you’re 34 years old, you’re going to need some college education. This is because a welding engineer’s job is to figure out how to make the process work better. That requires some extensive knowledge on what’s going on at the chemical/physical level. No longer can you chalk up metal sticking to metal as “modern magic.” Welding Engineers have to comprehend what’s happening to every single atom and chemical bond as the torch passes over the workpiece.
Once you’ve completed your formal education, you’ve also got to pass a Certified Welding Engineer exam. Oh goodie.
What Exactly Do Welding Engineers Do?
In a nutshell, they strategize everything. Welding Engineers work as researchers to develop faster, better methods. They plan how welding applications should be done in order to meet the proper code requirements. They’re in charge of deciding which materials are the most effective to get the job done. They are the reason a job can go from taking a couple days to a single day at a fraction of the original cost.
How’s this different than a Certified Welding Inspector?
We’ll tread lightly here, as both Welding Inspectors and Welding Engineers tend to have varying views on the other’s usefulness. First of all, Certified Welding Inspector is an entirely different exam. Their role focuses more heavily on supervising the project than researching and developing more ways to get it done. It’s the Welding Engineer’s job to make sure the right material and processes are being used. It’s the Welding Inspector’s job to make sure those processes are actually being carried out correctly by the welders. If a bridge falls down because the wrong material or overall processes were being used, it’s on the Welding Engineer’s head. If the bridge falls down because the welders did a terrible job or they didn’t follow proper code requirements, it’s the Welding Inspector who’ll fry.
If you’re looking for more information on turning your skills into a serious career, these two post are a great place to get started: