FAQs – Examination

How does this exam work?

SSTC’s exam meets all the requirements of AWS B5.1, implements the additional testing requirements of AWS QC1 clause 6 (CWI) and 7 (CAWI) for the number of questions, and provides the employer the percentage of correct answers in each Part, as well as each subject within each Part.

Does SSTC qualify the inspector, or does the employer do this?

AWS B5.1, clause 1.3 states “Qualification of AWI/WI/SWI personnel to the requirements of this standard does not eliminate the need of an employer to determine the ability of the individual to perform the duties involved in a particular welding inspection assignment.” SSTC’s Welding Inspector Qualification Exam provides a resource to assist the employer to determine competency, and to document that competency to a national standard.

What’s the passing score for the exam?

SSTC will provide the employer the grade for each part of the exam. The employer is ultimately responsible to establish the necessary knowledge, skills and experience for qualification. AWS QC1:2007 gives 72% correct in each Part as the minimum passing score for each component of the exam for one to be considered at the level of Welding Inspector. For Associate Welding Inspector, 60% in each Part would be considered the minimum passing score.

What proctoring must the employer do in administering the examination to the employee?

Make sure the employee does not use unauthorized reference (or other) material for those portions of the exam that limit the use of reference material. Make sure the employee does the exam himself or herself, without technical assistance from others. Limit the time allotment for each portion of the exam as specified.

How much time is needed for the exam?

Neither AWS B5.1 nor AWS QC1 specify the time in testing. Typically, the Fundamentals portion of the exam (150 questions or so) is two hours. The Code Applications portion and the Practical Applications portion are also typically two hours each. More time can be allotted if desired by the employer, especially if the candidate for qualification needs extra time because of reading ability or because English is not the candidate’s first language.

What if the candidate fails to pass a portion of the exam?

AWS B5.1 does not address requirements for retesting. AWS QC1 clause 6.2.5 allows for one retest in the first year without additional training. If the candidate fails the second test, then training must be provided before retesting.

If the employer wishes to provide the examinee a retest, a discounted fee is available from SSTC for re-testing for either a single Part or for the entire exam, depending upon test scores and whether a WI or AWI qualification is sought.

What study materials should be used in preparing for the exam?

SSTC recommends the following materials for use in studying for the exam:

  • AWS D1.1: 2010 Structural Welding Code: Steel
  • AWS A2.4:2012 Standard Symbols for Welding, Brazing and Nondestructive Examination (2007 and 1998 editions would also be adequate)
  • AWS A3.0:2010 Standard Definitions; including Terms for Adhesive Bonding, Brazing, Soldering, Thermal Cutting, and Thermal Spraying (2001 edition would also be adequate)
  • AWS Z49.1:2012 Safety in Welding, Cutting, and Allied Processes (free download here)
  • AWS B5.1:2013 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors (free download at AWS.org)
  • AWS QC1:2007 Standard for the Certification of Welding Inspectors (free download here)
  • AWS WI:2000 Welding Inspection Handbook
  • AWS WIT-T: 2008 Welding Inspection Technology and WIT-W:2008 (Workbook)
  • AISC Design Guide 21: Welded Connections–A Primer for Engineers (order from AISC.org)
  • Lincoln Electric Co. – Fabricator and Erector’s Guide to Welded Steel Construction (download here)
  • Structural Welding Quality Handbook 2010 (order from SSTC) LINK