Non-destructive testing technician

NDT technician

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Non-destructive testing (NDT) technicians test materials and components used in buildings, structures and machinery.

Salary range: £17,500 to £40,000

How to become a non-destructive testing technician

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

College

You might be able to find a place as a trainee technician after doing a qualification at college. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Welding
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering
  • Level 3 Extended Certificate in Applied Science
  • T level in Design, Surveying and Planning

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

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Apprenticeship

You could complete an intermediate apprenticeship for non-destructive testing (NDT) operators or an advanced apprenticeship for NDT technicians.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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Work

You can do a foundation degree in non-destructive testing (NDT) if you’re already working in this area, for example in an engineering workshop or a materials testing lab.

The course is offered by the University of Northampton and is done by distance learning. You can go on to complete an NDT degree with them to qualify as an engineer.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about this career through The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • visually inspecting materials – using CCTV and fibre optic cameras
  • conducting thermal imaging – to find defects in concrete and other building materials
  • dye testing – staining surfaces with fluorescent liquid
  • magnetic particle testing – applying magnetic particles to materials
  • radiographic testing – using X-rays to find internal faults
  • ultrasonic testing – firing high frequency sound pulses into materials
  • eddy current testing – passing electricity through materials
  • resonant testing – ‘listening’ to the growth of cracks or flaws by monitoring the acoustic vibrations of a structure
  • assessing the risks from hazardous materials, for example those used in construction

Working environment

You could work in a factory, in a workshop or in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior non-destructive technician, or specialise in a particular form of testing.

You could move into quality assurance, purchasing, technical sales, management, or research and development.

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