Non-destructive testing is the use of scientific and industrial analysis techniques to evaluate the properties of materials, systems or components without damaging them. Non-destructive testing technicians are responsible for implementing these techniques. They mainly focus on examining finished products to establish flows and imperfections that may affect their efficiency and reliability. If you have a background in engineering or science and possess great problem-solving skills, this job could be for you.
NDT technicians can be found in industries such as power generation, construction and transport where they employ a range of analysis methods, including;
- Eddy current testing- using the flow of electricity in testing
- Visual inspection- using lenses and cameras
- Thermal imaging - used in screening concrete and other building materials
- Magnetic particle testing-this is used in magnetic components
- Radiographic testing- using X-rays and radiations
- Ultrasonic testing-using high frequency sounds in testing and analyzing their echo
Although the specific duties of NDT technicians vary by industry, they generally;
- Apply any of the methods described above to conduct tests
- Interpret the methods being used to other personnel
- Ensure experiment safety
- Analyze test results
- Present their findings to senior engineers or managers
NDT technician are normally based in factory production areas, laboratories and workshops where they work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Work shifts are available in busy factories.
While at work, these technicians wear protective clothing, such as hard hats and eye shields to avoid injury.
The salaries for NDT technicians vary with level of experience as shown below;
Level of experience
Source: National Careers Service
To get started as an NDT technician, you can follow any of the two paths described below;
- Complete an engineering apprenticeship program and pursue a relevant Level 3 National Vocational Qualification – To be admitted into the apprenticeship program, you must have at least for GCSEs at grades A to C in subjects such as math, chemistry and English.
- Pursue a certificate or diploma in an engineering subject, such as BTEC Certificate in Manufacturing Engineering or ECITB Diploma in Engineering Construction Non-Destructive Testing, and find work as a trainee technician.
Important skills and Abilities
NDT Technicians must possess the following skills, interests and abilities perform effectively;
- An interest in science and engineering
- Strong problem-solving skills to give solutions to the flaws discovered in various components
- A high level of accuracy and good IT skills
- Good practical skills and the ability to work with a range of equipment comfortably
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- An awareness of health and safety regulations.
Training and Development
After receiving the relevant training, you can work toward attaining professional certifications to improve your competence and career progression prospects. Although most employers provide in-house certification programs, you should focus on completing internationally recognized programs. Examples of organizations that offer such certification include;
You could also pursue Higher National Diploma, foundation degree or bachelor’s degree in material science or engineering.
Qualified NDT technicians can find jobs in;
- Engineering firms
- Research and development companies
- Construction companies
- Technician consulting firms
- Providers of utility services
After gaining vast job experience and earning advanced qualifications, you could specialize in a particular testing discipline, progress to become a senior NDT technician or move into quality control and assurance, technical sales or management.
This is all you need to become an NDT Technician, a technical career that allows you to fully exploit your practical ability and interests in science.