Posted on September-09-2020
Unlike other trades, where you are expected to pass through different hoops and have certain specialist certifications and qualifications before you become a fully qualified tradesperson, the welding industry is a little different. Some employers do ask to see certificates before employing a welder, but this isn’t the norm.
Usually, employers are more concerned with whether a welder can pass the practical welding test required by the relevant welding code. This is known as a ‘coding test’; when passed, the welder is then referred to as a ‘coded welder’. The coding test results are typically carried out at an approved TWI (The Welding Institute) Training Centre. Coded welding testing is an international coding standard that is suitable for various welding works. This includes pressure vessels, pressure pipework and other critical applications, such as bridges and structural steelwork applications.
A coded welder is defined as somebody who has taken an exam (Welding Approval Test) in a welding process using a certain welding configuration. Some codes are more varied and general depending on the job, but often they are specific and require an individual method.
A coded welder must hold a valid welder coding certificate; this will be signed every 6 months by a suitably qualified person. This person confirms whether the welder is still producing welds to the required standard. Coded welders are formally re-tested every two years, at least.
Whilst frustrating that the test needs to be retaken fairly regularly, it is no different to other professions which require a regular test to make sure that their employees are competent and up to industry standards in the role.
The difference between certified welders and coded welders is all down to the demonstrated degree of mastery over specific welding methods. While a certified welder can produce their credentials, a coded welder has passed practical tests which indicate their skill.
While these terms are defined differently, they are sometimes used interchangeably within the industry, whether rightly or wrongly. If you’re a welder looking for new employment, and they are asking for a ‘certified welder’, it is worth asking: certified to what? If they refer to a standard welding code, then they are talking about employing a welder with a code qualification. On the other hand, if they reference an industry-standard, then they could be talking about something different such as a certification demonstrating theoretical knowledge and the demonstration of wider welding skills.
The welder coding system is a set of required coding tests that demonstrate that a welder can carry out work to industry standard requirements. One of the main benefits of this coding system is that it is highly efficient at showcasing exactly who has the required skills and knowledge and who doesn’t.
If you’re interested in buying or hiring welding equipment, or looking for repairs and calibrations, get in touch with our team here at Arc Welding Services. You can give us a call us on 0121 327 2249, or fill out our online contact form and someone will be in touch.