BS9606 Welder Qualification

BS 9606 Welder Qualification

An introduction to 9606 welder qualifications, why it is required and how it is achieved.

What is it?

The primary importance of the BS9606 lies in its role ensuring the competency of welders.

BS9606 is applicable to a variety of welding methods, including but not limited to:

  • Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding
  • Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding
  • Manual Metal Arc (MMA) welding
  • Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)

It covers a wide range of materials, such as carbon and alloy steels, aluminum and titanium. 

The BS9606 standard covers the qulification of the individual welder, it is however worth noting that as a contributory process, during qualification the welder will need to work to a Welding Procedure Specification (WPS). 

The WPS sets out important parameters such as shielding gas selection, flow rates, filler material, gas flow rates, voltage and wire feed settings and more. The WPS may be qualified at the same time as the welder, or the welder may become qualified using a WPS which already exisits. 

In the UK, the WPS is commonly covered under BS15609 or BS15614

Key Elements of BS9606

The certification process involves several steps, usually overseen by a third party certifying body who are generally approved to UKAS standards as a certification and testing body.

The fundamental process of BS9606 certification is: 

  1. Selection of Test Pieces: Based on the welder's intended scope of work.
  2. Welding of Test Pieces: Under the specified conditions and examiner's supervision.
  3. Examination and Testing: Conducted by qualified personnel to assess the quality.
  4. Documentation: A successful test results in the issuance of a certificate.

Test Pieces

The test pieces which are welded are generally reffered to as "coupons". They are materials which are samples of the welding being completed by the welder, and covered within the WPS. 

For example, when qualifying flat plate the coupons are generally 300mm x 150mm and of a suitable thickness for the qualification being completed. 

It is possible for a welder to qualify a 'range' of thickness, or positions in a single test. For example, when welding a 12mm multi-run coupon, this will cover the welder in a 'range' of 0.5t to 2t, therefore 6mm to 24mm thick plate. 

Welding of Test Pieces

The welder must complete a succesful weld of their 'coupon' under witness of the third party body. If the procedure is also to be IACS approved, it must also be witnessed by the IACS member. 

Examination and Testing 

Once the coupon has been welded, it is then subject to certain testing which usually includes a selection of the below:

 Non-destructive testing (NDT)

  • Visual inspection
  • Dye penetrant or MPI Testing
  • Radiographic (RT) such as X-ray testing 

 Destructive testing 

  • Macroscopic analysis 
  • Tensile tests
  • Bend tests
  • Impact tests
  • Hardness tests


From a complete BS9606 welder qualification the following documents are usually generated: 





BS9606 welder qualifications form the bedrock of professional welding standards in industries where precision and safety are paramount. By understanding these basics, both welders and employers can work towards ensuring that the welding operations meet the highest standards of quality and integrity. As technology advances and materials evolve, standards like BS9606 continue to be pivotal in upholding the excellence and reliability of welded products across the globe.

1. Welder Qualification Test Record (WQTR)

This is a detailed record that outlines all the essential variables and parameters used during the welding test, as well as the results of the testing. It includes:

  • Welder's name and identification
  • Test date and location
  • Description of the base material(s) used for the test piece(s)
  • Welding process(es) used
  • Type of joint and position
  • Welding parameters (such as current, voltage, travel speed)
  • Type and dimensions of the weld (for example, fillet size)
  • Results of non-destructive and destructive testing
  • Identification of the examiner or testing body

2. Welding Qualification Card (WQC)

Once the WQTR is reviewed and accepted, a Welder Qualification Certificate or card is issued as proof of the welder’s ability to perform welding to the standards of the test they have passed. The certificate typically includes:

  • The standard to which the welder has been qualified (BS EN ISO 9606-1)
  • The welder’s name and identification number
  • A unique certificate number
  • The scope of the welder's qualification, which includes the range of qualification such as material type, thickness, welding positions, diameter (for pipes), and welding processes
  • Any limitations or additional endorsements
  • The expiry date or the conditions under which the qualification remains valid
  • The name and signature of the authorized person or body issuing the certificate

3. Welding Procedure Specification (WPS)

Although a WPS is a document related to the welding procedure rather than welder qualification, a WPS is often referenced or developed concurrently if not already available. It is the guideline that a welder follows in production welding, which has been qualified by the weld procedure qualification record (WPQR). The WPS outlines:

  • The detailed method and procedure the welder must use to make a compliant weld
  • This document comes from a successful WPQR, which is based on preliminary welding trials that are qualified according to a separate standard, such as BS EN ISO 15614-1

The WQC is the main document that welders carry with them to show they are certified to perform certain types of welds under specific conditions. It is also the document employers will typically ask to see to verify a welder’s qualifications. 

The validity of the qualification is usually subject to regular testing or proof of continuous welding activity within the scope of the standard, usually every six months. 

We can assist you with projects which require BS9606 qualified welders and weld procedures. If you would like to know more about what we can offer, please get in touch...