Career Profile

 

What Is A WeldIng Engineer?

Welding Engineers employ their extensive knowledge of physics, engineering, metallurgy, materials, welding, and standards to carry out several tasks. Primary among these are the design, examination, and evaluation of welds and the planning, supervision, and documentation of welding operations in accordance with relevant codes, contracts or drawings. The role of the Welding Engineer is critical to the integrity of the vast number of buildings, vehicles, machinery and products that require welds.  

Why Is This An Important Role?

Welding Engineers play several crucial roles. As researchers, they use new technologies to produce more sound and cost effective welds and welding processes. As designers they ensure that welds meet the requirements of the intended application and the specifications described in the relevant codes and contracts. As managers they ensure that the right materials, processes, procedures, and equipment is used to produce welds to a given standard and customer specification. All of these functions help to ensure that all of our essential welded products, from cars and bridges to refrigerators and computers, are both safe to use and cost effective to produce.

What Career Opportunities Are Available to a Welding Engineer?

Welding Engineers with a four-year degree represent a highly select group of people with skills that are essential to any modern society. Therefore they are highly sought in a wide range of industries that employ welding as a part of their fabrication process. These include, but are not limited to, automotive, aerospace, construction, energy, shipbuilding, electronics, and appliances.

The comprehensive body of knowledge and skills required of Welding Engineers are likewise applicable to a broad range of specializations. These include research and development, design engineering, product engineering, materials engineering, welding engineering, manufacturing engineering, construction engineering, and sales engineering.  

How Do I Get Started?

Ideally, Welding Engineers should have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree or higher in welding, materials science, metallurgy, mechanical, structural, and/or industrial engineering from a college program that teaches competencies in welding engineering. However, post-secondary degrees in other related fields can also serve as a jumping-off point for a career in welding engineering. The AWS B5.16 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Engineers lists the knowledge, duties, and capabilities required of an AWS Certified Welding Engineer. Use this specification as a guide to help you determine the learning and employment opportunities that can best prepare you for entry into the field. 

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

\Welding Engineers often specialize in one of a number of subfields. These include research and development, design engineering, product engineering, manufacturing engineering and fabrication and construction engineering.

Research and Development.  Welding Engineers in academic and commercial institutions investigate welding related phenomena to improve product performance and increase productivity. Among other tasks, researchers investigate the properties of advanced materials, develop processes procedures, optimize the relationship between microstructural and mechanical properties, and create computer models of designs, materials, and processes in order to measure their response to stress, temperature and other environmental variables.

Design Engineering.  Welding Engineers may work as, or with, structural designers. This involves the design of welded parts, assemblies and structures such as buildings, pressure vessels, and pipelines to applicable codes. In this capacity, the duties of the Welding Engineer include modeling the effects of welding and in-service stresses on a given design, developing repair procedures, and assessing flaws to determine the fitness-for-service of structures.

Product Engineering.  Welding Engineers often work in cross-functional engineering teams to develop new products. Welding Engineers in this role often select or develop standards, materials, weld joint design, and welding processes. They may also be responsible for welding process procedure qualification, supplier qualification, and product testing. 

Manufacturing Engineering. Welding Engineers in manufacturing design, develop, and implement the materials, processes and equipment necessary to manufacture welded products according to the applicable standards and contracts. Manufacturing responsibilities may involve the design of facilities, including jigs and fixtures; the selection of equipment, consumables and nondestructive inspection tools; the development and/or qualification of suppliers, welders, welding processes, quality standards, repair procedures, and heat treatment requirements; the interpretation of welding related manufacturing requirements; troubleshooting welding problems; and workforce management.

Fabrication & Construction Engineering.  Welding Engineers in fabrication and construction design, develop, and implement the materials, processes and equipment necessary to produce welded structures such as buildings, pipelines, ships, refineries, offshore oil rigs and power plants, in accordance with applicable standards and contracts. Fabrication and construction responsibilities may involve the design of facilities or yards, including jigs and lifting devices; the selection of equipment, consumables and nondestructive inspection tools; the development and/or qualification of suppliers, welders, welding processes, quality standards, repair procedures, and heat treatment requirements; the interpretation of structural requirements; troubleshooting welding problems; and workforce management.

Sales Engineering.  Welding engineers work for many welding equipment and consumable suppliers.  Sales welding engineers assist customers in the proper selection of welding products and systems that provide the manufacturing, fabrication and/or construction capabilities required for the intended applications. Sales welding engineers use a comprehensive knowledge of welding economics and their company’s products to provide solutions that offer higher productivity and quality.

ATTRIBUTES, KNOWLEDGE, & SKILLS


IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTES

  • Organized and detail oriented
  • Highly motivated and self-directed
  • Effective communicator
  • Good hand-to-eye coordination
  • Honest and diplomatic
  • Analytical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Sound judgment and tact
     

IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS

  • Ability to develop and use codes and standards
  • Ability to create and analyze blueprints and drawings
  • Strong knowledge of welding processes and joint designs
  • Strong knowledge of welding metallurgy
  • Strong knowledge of materials and their weldability characteristics
  • Knowledge of welder and welding safety standards
  • Strong computer skills
  • Strong speaking and writing skills
  • Strong analytical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Strong leadership skills

EDUCATION

The education requirements for a Welding Engineer vary by employer. However, most employers require some combination of education and work experience. An AS or BS degree is typically required to ensure that candidates have the full range of knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish the technical and logistical aspects of the job. Ideally, Welding Engineers should have an AS degree or higher in welding, materials science, metallurgy, and/or mechanical, structural, or industrial engineering from a college program that teaches competencies in welding engineering. The Education and Experience Qualification Requirements and the Body of Knowledge sections in AWS B5.16 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Engineers can serve as a guide to help you determine the programs and courses that can best prepare you for a career as a Welding Engineer.

AWS WeldLink identifies colleges that offer welding engineering courses as part of welding engineering or allied engineering programs. Colleges and universities that are recognized to have either undergraduate (Bachelor) or graduate (Masters and/or Ph.D.) programs include:

BS or higher in Welding Engineering:
The Ohio State University
LeTourneau University
Montana Tech
Cranfield University (England)

BS or higher in allied engineering programs (courses and/or graduate research specialization):
Colorado School of Mines
Lehigh University
Brigham Young University
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
University of Alberta

Note: Please contact AWS WeldLink to add your college or university’s program to this list.


TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT


Most employers require some work experience in addition to educational degrees and certificates. Sections 6 and 7 of AWS B5.16 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Engineers can serve as a guide to help you determine the type of experience that can best prepare you for a career as a Welding Engineer. For example, Clause 7.1.1 Manufacturing, states that Experience shall consist of the design, application, or operation of welding process lines or cells for the manufacture of welded products such as automobiles, appliances, welded pipe, or other welded standard products.

While not always required, certifications that attest to the soundness of an individual’s knowledge and skills can bolster their professional standing and increase opportunities for employment in a competitive job market.

HOW DO I BECOME CERTIFIED?

The AWS Certified Welding Engineer (CWEng) certification is an internationally recognized credential that companies have come to rely on to ensure the quality and safety of their products. AWS certification confirms an individual’s engineering competencies in accordance with the high standards encompassed in AWS B5.16 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Engineers. Therefore, AWS Certification often translates into opportunities for increased recognition, responsibility, and pay.

 

Here are 8 steps to becoming a CWEng:

STEP 1: Download complimentary copies of AWS B5.16 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Engineers.  The B5.16 Specification covers the functions of the Welding Engineer as well as the education & experience requirements, body of knowledge, and certification exam.

STEP 2: Compare your knowledge and skills to those required of a Certified Welding Engineer. This can be accomplished in one of two ways:

  1. Complete your WeldLink Profile and add “Welding Engineer” as a career path. This will automatically compare your current skills and knowledge to those of the typical Certified Welding Engineer, and provide you with a career roadmap that includes the additional education, training, and experience required to become a CWEng; or
     
  2. Review Clause 5 and 8 of the AWS B5.16 Specification and perform a self-assessment. Mark the areas where your level of competence compares to a working CWEng. Any areas left unmarked will indicate where you will most likely need additional knowledge, training or experience.

STEP 3: Determine if you qualify to sit for the AWS CWEng. A combination of education and work experience is required to qualify. For example, one year of experience is required for individuals with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, and 10 years of experience is required for individuals with an Associate in Applied Science degree. For a detailed summary of the education and experience requirements, review Clause 6 of the AWS B5.16 Specification.

STEP 4: Obtain the education, skills, knowledge, and experience required of an AWS Certified Welding Engineer. See the Education section above for a list of colleges and universities that offer programs in welding engineering.

STEP 5: Register for the Certified Welding Engineer Exam:

  1. Go to the AWS Certified Welding Engineer webpage and download the exam application located in the Documents tab.
     
  2. Go to the AWS Seminar/Exam Registration page and select Domestic or International under Prices/Schedules.
     
  3. On the Event Schedules page, click on the dropdown menu and select CWI, CAWI, SCWI, CWE – Welding Inspector/Educator (CWEng exams are held concurrently with the CWI exam).
     
  4. Choose one primary and two alternative test sites and dates.
     
  5. Write your test site selections in Section 3 of the CWEng Exam Application. NOTE: The completed CWEng Exam Application must be received by AWS at least 6 weeks prior to the exam date. Please do not make any hotel or flight arrangements until you have received your exam confirmation letter from the Certification Department.

NOTE: CWEng exam instructions, sample test questions, price list, and exam application are available on the AWS Certified Welding Engineer webpage.

STEP 7: Take the CWEng exam. The CWEng examination is composed of four parts. Parts 1 and 2 must be successfully completed in order to take Parts 3 and 4. Part 1 is a two-hour, multiple-choice test with at least 35 questions on basic science fundamentals. Part 2 is a two-hour, multiple-choice test with at least 25 questions on applied science fundamentals. Part 3 is a three-hour, open-book essay exam with at least 45 questions on welding related disciplines. Part 4 is a three-hour, open-book multiple choice test with at least 39 questions on the D1.1 Structural Welding Code – Steel. Successful participants must correctly answer at least 60% of the questions in each part of the exam and attain a minimum weighted composite percentage of at least 70% on all four parts. Please see the Applicant Instructions for Examinations and Clause 9 of the AWS B5.16 Specification for more details about the exam.

STEP 8: Once you complete the exam, you can expect your test results within 2 to 3 weeks. If you pass, a certificate and wallet card will be mailed to the address on file along with your results.  If you find any discrepancies or have any questions, please contact the AWS Certification Department at 305-443-9353 x273.

RESOURCES

ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES

Aerospace
Agriculture
Automotive
Construction
Fabrication
Manufacturing
Military/Defense
Mining
Nuclear Energy
Oil and Gas
Shipbuilding 
Transportation
 

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Manufacturing Engineer
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Materials Science Engineer
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