In a variety of industries, routine inspections are mandatory to protect human lives and prevent equipment breakdowns and malfunctions. To perform these inspections, technicians use non-destructive testing. Non-destructive testing (NDT) is an array of analysis techniques designed to assist and guide non-destructive inspection processes. NDT technicians range from Level I through III and work in fields such as aviation, aerospace, oil & gas, transportation, manufacturing, and nuclear management.
As a versatile skill set, NDT technicians can either choose to specialize in NDT, get NDT certification to further their existing careers or cross-train with another field to build their dream job. With so many disciplines and the opportunity to continually learn on the job, NDT is a great field for anyone who is interested in the intersection of science, physics, and engineering.
What Does an NDT Technician Do?
The responsibilities of an NDT technician differ depending on where they work, what field they work in and their NDT certification level. As a Level I technician, which is entry-level, you will be responsible for using various non-destructive testing techniques to perform standard NDT tests and calibrations.
Most Level I NDT technicians are assigned to perform one task, and they can evolve their skill set and acquire further opportunity by gaining experience and earning additional qualifications.
Some of the responsibilities an NDT technician may perform are:
- Prep and assemble various NDT testing equipment at job sites according to regulatory standards and codes.
- Perform NDT inspection tests through gamma radiation, x-ray radiography, ultrasound technology, liquid penetrant and more.
- Calibrate and operate different types of NDT equipment for different materials.
- Identify and report defects in any materials or hardware to appropriate parties to ensure swift intervention.
- Work with and assist senior technicians on various tasks and learn under their leadership.
As you gain more experience, and if you decide to pursue level II and III NDT certification, you could become a senior NDT technician. These professionals are the most skilled in their field, often specializing in a particular industry and highly trained to detect serious defects and potential threats. High-level positions include more managerial tasks as you will likely supervise a team of NDT technicians, assign job duties, and oversee other inspections.
Why Does Someone Become an NDT Technician?
Someone with a strong interest in science and engineering will be drawn to NDT testing because of its marriage of the two. The diversity of the field also draws many students who are excited about the opportunity to apply their skills in a variety of ways. This diversity also grants them greater control over their job prospects; with a good attention to detail, strong analytical and problem-solving skills, a qualified NDT-certified technician can work in many different fields.
If you are interested in physics, enjoy working in technology and are passionate about analysis, data, and real results-driven solutions, working as an NDT technician could be your ideal career.
How Long Is NDT Technician Training?
If you attend an NDT training program full-time, you can earn your NDT diploma in seven to nine months. This is a big commitment, but there are also flexible schedule options available for working students or those with other commitments.
What Are the Different Types of NDT Techniques?
Different types of NDT techniques are used throughout multiple industries to assess pipes, welding, and hardware. While you may find yourself working with a small group of testing procedures in your job, there are six major branches of NDT testing techniques to be aware of.
An NDT technician uses their eyes to assess material and analyze the infrastructure of an object. They make sure all the necessary visible components are present and intact as well as identify any potential defects or warning signs.
Sometimes, remote visual inspection (RVI) may be done with a drone, robot or inspection camera guided by a controller.
Dye Penetrant NDT
Using dyes, an NDT technician can test material for breakages by applying a layer of visible or fluorescent dyes to its surface. When the dye is removed, any remaining liquid will highlight defects and bring the NDT technician’s attention to areas that need repair. Dye penetrant testing is also called liquid penetrant inspection (LPI). It is commonly used to help NDT technicians identify surface or infrastructure damages such as cracks, breaks and faulty lines.
Eddy Current NDT
An eddy current is a loop of electrical currents produced by a charged magnetic field. NDT technicians use electromagnetic induction to identify flaws and determine coating and material thickness.
Magnetic Particle NDT
Magnetic particle testing (MPT) helps an NDT technician discover flaws in metal-based materials. Iron, cobalt, and nickel, as well as some of their respective alloys, are used to construct everything from aircrafts to major gas lines. Magnetic particle examination allows an NDT technician to detect issues with the surface of metal-based objects through magnetization.
Ultrasonic NDT relies on pulses of high-frequency sound waves to measure thickness or identify hidden defects. Ultrasonic sounds are inaudible to the human ear, but they can be read and analyzed using a transducer and diagnostic machine.
Ultrasonic NDT can be done through a process of reflection or attenuation. Reflective ultrasounds send vibrations through a material to measure the intensity of its reverberation, or echo; attenuation, also known as through-transmission, sends ultrasonic waves through a material or object and draws conclusions based on the amount of sound received on the end.
Just as medical professionals use X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans to look inside a patient’s body, NDT technicians use radiography to inspect the interior of pipes and other objects. Radiographic non-destructive testing helps an NDT technician identify imperfections or damages through gamma radiation or X-rays.
Radiographic NDT is beneficial because it allows NDT technicians to inspect fully assembled components without taking them apart. They can also examine individual components or internal structures that would otherwise require partial or full deconstruction.
Where Can Someone Work with an NDT Technician Diploma?
While individual work environments vary, the major fields for NDT technicians include aviation, defense, construction, oil & gas, automotive, and mechanical. Many NDT technicians also find themselves working for testing labs in warehouse-like environments. NDT training allows you to find work in a field you are passionate about, then grow and evolve your position with additional certification. Learn more about the NDT technician diploma program at MIAT today.
Non-Destructive Testing Technician Diploma Program
The Non-Destructive Testing Technician diploma programs from MIAT College of Technology provide the hands-on training, practical experience, and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding technical career. Non-Destructive Testing Technician (NDT) Diploma classes are interactive and led by dedicated school instructors with years of experience working in a professional setting. You’ll get one-on-one attention and personal support to pick up new skills quickly and first-hand technical knowledge to feel confident entering the workforce.
To learn more about Non-Destructive Testing Technician Program and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in becoming a non-destructive testing technician today.