I’ve recently become interested in pursuing a career in ndt, and there is a school that offers certification in different types of testing, but for certification in one of the types only takes four days with classes taken place for 14 hrs per day. Is that enough time to become certified? Will companies hire people with this little amount of time in the class?
There are different levels of NDT certification in addition the different types of testing. What type of testing are you interested in?
For all types, a Level I is typically a trainee. The Level I inspector has received classroom training in the physics behind the method, terminology, and application, as well as practical (hands-on) experience in performing the inspection. A Level I inspector is not capable of making material accept/reject determinations, but can use the method to inspect material. Most new-hires in NDT are brought in as a Level I as the amount of practical experience is minimal, typically a few weeks. Basically, a Level I inspector can be trusted to be able to do what he is told under the supervision of a Level II or Level III.
A Level II is the qualification level of a typical inspector. In addition to meeting the requirements of a Level I, the Level II has more classroom training and quite a bit more practical experience, typically measured in months. The time spent as a Level I while learning to be a Level II is typically the probationary period for new hires in most companies I have worked for. A Level II is understood to be able to take a written inspection procedure and follow it, accepting materials that meet the requirements of the procedure and rejecting those that do not.
A Level III has even more classroom training. A Level III is familiar with all NDT methods, but is only considered an expert in those he is certified in. The Level III will write a procedure to be followed by the Level II inspector that will insure the requirements of the specification are met.
So, my guess is the school you looking at is giving you the training for a Level I or, perhaps, the classroom training for a Level II. The practical experience is difficult to get without a job. Often these schools are something like temp agencies for employers that need NDT inspectors.
It should probably be noted that the certification these schools give are pretty much ignored by the employer once you have been hired. That is because the employer is responsible for making sure each inspector meets the requirements for the applicable Level and Method. While the employer may use one of these schools to perform the classroom training and administer the written tests, all inspectors for a given company will typically only use one school (to keep their record-keeping somewhat sane). Large inspection firms will typically provide their own training. What this means is that even if you get certified by one of these schools, you will probably be re-trained and re-certified by your employer.
Does that mean these schools are worthless? No. They do indicate that the applicant is capable of being trained and passing the written exams. There are also issues like visual acuity, color blindness, and other physical traits that would make someone unsuitable to be an inspector.
It does mean that jobs can be had without being certified by one of these schools. A lot depends on the industry, but you might try applying for an inspector job for an employer who is hiring and seeing what they say. If they say they won’t hire anyone who isn’t certified, see if they have a recommendation of who to go to for certification.
And for the obvious question: If you take this class, and it isn’t enough to get you meaningfully certified, will you be destroyed in the process?
Nope. They guarantee the testing is nondestructive.
The quizzes & homework on the other hand :eek:
Hello! You might consider joining the Air Force. I served in AFSC 2A7x2, Nondestructive Inspection, for more than 20 years. I was a technical school instructor, shop chief at several locations, flight chief, and then I got out of aircraft maintenance. While I’ve never pursued NDI in the civilian world, I still feel pretty good about my basic PT, MT, RT, and so forth. Alas, I never really understood eddy current; I don’t think anyone does :).
Hello again. I realize I didn’t really answer your question. I would judge that four days is not sufficient to learn much of anything at all about NDI, except perhaps how to push a few buttons. Maybe if you were only doing one discipline and then only learning enough to do one or two inspections. NDI involves a lot–a whole lot–of interpretation of results.
Do the certification levels require attendance at recognized schools, or can anyone try the exams? E.g. is it a lockstep progression of Take Level X class, Earn Level X certification, don’t take the Level Y class, you can never earn Level Y certification regardless of how skilled you are, or can you try different levels and pass them based on work experience, self-study, or other methods? I recognize that attending the schools might be the best way to learn the material, all other things being equal (which they never are).
Basically, the employer is responsible for making sure the inspector (with documentation) is qualified (Level I, Level II, or Level III). To be qualified, the inspector must have a specified number of hours of classroom instruction and an additional number of hours of practical experience. Both the classroom instruction and practical experience must be documented. The documentation is reviewed periodically in quality audits (literally, the auditor will go on the floor and talk to inspectors, then go back to the office and ask to see that inspector’s qualifications). It makes it a bit difficult to game the system.
So, the employer is going to have a documented training program for all inspectors. Someone who is clueless may have trouble with that training while someone who knows what is going on will not (regardless on whether that knowledge was obtained from a “School” or personal experience). That training program will also make sure the inspectors are familiar with the specific equipment the employer uses, as well as their control systems used to identify and disposition imperfections and defects revealed by the inspection.
My experience is that these schools are not the best way to learn the material for Level I or Level II inspectors. Getting a job at a company as an inspector and letting them take care of the training is much better. Depending of the market, having some experience as an inspector may be needed to get such a job.
A company that performs inspections is required to have a designated Level III inspector to write their training and inspection procedures, many companies will hire a Level III inspector that has been qualified by a company that specializes in the types of inspections they want to perform.
I suspect the OP is considering being a Level II inspector (although he has not clarified what his actual intent is). If the intent was to learn to be a Level III inspector, I would expect the OP to already know all of this.
I don’t know much about ndt but I assumed I had to become a level 1 inspector before I could become a level 2. This school allows anyone to take the courses, if you guys have time this is the school I’m talking about http://mayoconsultingservicesllc.com/course-schedule.html