WOW!! Which industry code do you choose for the "Part C" portion of the CWI Exam? This question has a number of factors to consider, we'll outline those here for your consideration as you make your decision.
1. What is your experience in the welding industry?
2. What industry are you currently in? (or looking to move into?)
3. What is your current job position? (future position?)
4. Why are you seeking to become a CWI? What are your short and long term goals?
All of these areas overlap and are intertwined, but we’ll try to give them some separation for clarity.
Let's start with experience. If you’re are new to the welding industry and are just starting or looking for your first job then you need to consider the common types of welding related industries in your area. For example, Detroit and surrounding area is known for the automobile industry. Houston, TX is the center of the oil and gas industry. The coastal areas are known for shipbuilding. The midwest has a lot of heavy manufacturing for agricultural and construction equipment etc. The code you select should line up with the type of manufacturing you are or may be doing in the area that you live in or are moving to.
The more experience in the welding industry probably makes it easier to determine what industry code you should test under. It may be a question of picking a code that relates to your existing experience or maybe you’re looking to branch out in a different but maybe somewhat related area to apply your CWI. Let’s say you’re in oil & gas and potentially would be applying structural welding, pipe welding or pressure containment welding. Choose which area gives you the best opportunities moving forward.
2. CURRENT INDUSTRY
We’ve alluded to industry already since your experience comes from one or more industries. . We’ve mentioned that location drives industry to some degree. Perhaps your current employer wants you to get you CWI or you have requested from them to do so to enhance your career? Where you work make have a say in which code or they may leave it to you to make the best decision as it relates to current products and possibly future business they want to bring in house. Check with your employer for guidance but, perhaps you need to research and review the codes that are being tested and propose what you believe is the best course of action.
3. JOB POSITION
Your current job position can impact your decision as typically, one is looking to enhance one’s career or just seeking a different opportunity. You may be working as a welder or in assembly or other manufacturing position. There may already be CWIs at you place of work. They can help guide you if they will. It may be a circumstance where they tested in piping and you may choose to go a different direction like structural or pressure. Choose that code that may give you an advantage over others either at your current employer’s or the place where you would like to work. What if you work in the automotive industry or want to work there? There isn’t a Part C exam specifically for automobile industry. Yet, we recognize that a vehicle has a “structure” and may be steel but aluminum is a common structural element for making lighter vehicles. Structural codes will provide the foundation that you can build on.
4. WHY A CWI? GOALS?
Your motivation for getting your CWI can be a driver for determining what industry code fits you best. Maybe you’ve been a welder for a while and are just looking for a different opportunity at your current employer or some place new. Your current employer clearly will impact you decision based on your work in-house but maybe you want more? More could mean that you want to transition from welder to welding instructor. Being a certified welding Educator (CWE) is tied to the CWI exam. Often schools offer inspection, safety, codes, blueprint reading etc. The CWI and the code you choose may help you in such a position. You chose the aerospace code and are potentially the new instructor for aerospace related welding and materials. Maybe, you want to work for a consulting firm or inspection services contractor? What code based are their client base provides you the best opportunity?
We can understand that deciding on one code may be tough! There may be multiple codes that apply……... Well, all we can suggest is that you pick what you believe with be the best starting point for your CWI career. If you didn’t already know, AWS offers “endorsements” which mean you can supplement your CWI by taking other code exams and other types of inspection exams. These enhancements will improve you CWI and improve your opportunities. BEST OF LUCK!!