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Non-Destructive Testing Technician

Non-destructive testing technicians conduct tests that provide information about the condition of materials and components without destroying them.

  • Avg. Salary $95,236.00
  • Avg. Wage $40.36
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 3,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Inspector, Welding Inspector, Physical Sciences Technician/Technologist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

68%
68%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Non-Destructive Testing Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Nondestructive Testers and Inspectors
NOC code: 2261
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to set up and calibrate nondestructive testing equipment, and to conduct tests to ensure quality and detect defects; may perform specialized inspections using acoustic emission, vibration analysis, infrared thermography and laser shearography testing methods

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to interpret radiographs, readouts, meters and visual indicators and to evaluate test results

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking to organize and report test results; and in applying testing criteria according to specifications and standards; may instruct and supervise trainees

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is used to inspect or measure the integrity of a material, component or structure without damaging it. The purpose of testing may be to ensure safety and quality, increase production or extend the life of equipment and system components. For example, NDT may be used to test aircraft skins, underground pipelines, pipes in industrial plants, reinforcing steel in concrete structures, pressure vessels, wire ropes in suspension bridges, steel wheels on trains or finished machine parts.

Non-destructive testing technicians may be certified in any or all of the following types of tests:

  • eddy current - a portable method of testing relatively small or vast areas of electrically conductive materials. An energized electric coil induces a fluctuating magnetic field that generates an electric eddy current. Changes in resistance to the flow of eddy currents may indicate a flaw in the material.
  • liquid penetrant - a coloured petroleum or water based liquid is applied to a nonporous surface, then removed and replaced by a white developer that acts as a blotter and draws out penetrant trapped in voids (flaws).
  • magnetic particle - an internal magnetic field is generated in a metal part and iron particles dusted on the surface reveal flaws located on or near the surface.
  • radiography - penetrating radiation is absorbed at different rates depending on material density and thickness and is used to reveal internal, non-linear flaws. Flaws absorb less radiation and are indicated on two dimensional radiographic film by areas of lighter or darker exposure.
  • ultrasonic - complex electronic equipment converts electrical pulses into mechanical vibrations that travel across tested materials. Reflected pulses are converted back to electric energy to create a three dimensional image of the test specimen.

Duties vary depending on the type of test but, in general, NDT technicians:

  • set up and calibrate testing equipment
  • conduct tests to ensure quality or detect discontinuities (defects)
  • devise ways to examine objects, ensuring strict adherence to safety regulations
  • interpret test results (for example, radiographs, digital readouts)
  • evaluate results according to specifications and standards
  • organize and report test results.

They also may:

  • perform specialized inspections using acoustic emission, vibration analysis, infrared thermography or laser shearography testing methods
  • instruct and supervise trainees.

Welding inspectors:

  • review welding inspection procedures against related standards, codes and drawings
  • monitor and examine work performed by tackers, welding operators or welders
  • verify that the specified base metal and welding materials are used and maintained in proper condition
  • verify that joint preparation and fit-up meet requirements
  • examine and evaluate welds
  • record inspection results and prepare reports.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Working conditions vary considerably from one industry and organization to another. Non-destructive testing technicians may work primarily indoors in manufacturing or processing plants, or outdoors on construction sites in all weather conditions. They may work shifts and overtime often is required to complete testing as quickly as possible during plant shutdowns. Those employed by inspection service companies travel to locations throughout Alberta and across provinces and may be away from home for extended periods. International travel may also be required.  

Occupational hazards also vary. There is some risk of injury involved in working on construction sites and in manufacturing plants. Accidental exposure to radiation is a hazard for non-destructive testing technicians who conduct radiographic tests.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Non-destructive testing technicians need the following characteristics:

  • motor co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • good communication skills in person and in writing
  • the ability to keep up to date with constantly changing technology.

They should enjoy performing tasks that require precision, analyzing and interpreting data, and taking a methodical approach to their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

In Canada, non-destructive testing technicians must be certified to conduct eddy current, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, radiography or ultrasonics tests. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates who have related post-secondary education or training as well as the certification required for the types of test they conduct.

There are three levels of Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) certification for non-destructive testing:

  • Level 1 personnel perform calibrations and specific techniques according to written instructions and carry out examinations under the supervision and instruction of Level 2 and 3 technicians.
  • Level 2 personnel carry out examinations and interpret results in accordance with established specifications. They are responsible for the method or technique used.
  • Level 3 personnel may assume full responsibility for test procedures and staff.

NDT technicians who conduct tests involving radioactive isotopes must be certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. To become a Certified Exposure Device Operator, applicants must complete or have qualifications equivalent to successful completion of the following:

  • forty hour Exposure Device Operator (EDO) training program
  • Natural Resources Canada EDO exam
  • 320 hour apprenticeship at a licensed gamma radiography facility under the supervision of a Level 2 radiographer 
  • practical exam. 

The Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) offers three levels of certification for Welding Inspectors progressing from Level 1 to Level 3. Candidates must have job related experience or have completed recognized welding courses, and pass closed book, open book and practical exams. Educational courses are not mandatory for certification. However, candidates who successfully complete CWB Learning Centre study courses receive credits for exams.

The CWB also offers three levels of Metal Products Inspector certification for those involved in verifying, qualifying, quantifying and other aspects of products such as buildings, bridges, pipelines, pressure vessels and machinery. Candidates must have related education and practical experience in each Product Endorsement for which they wish to be certified.

The American Petroleum Institute offers boiler and pressure vessel, process piping and aboveground storage tank inspector certifications. Applicants must successfully complete an exam for each type of certificate.

 


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Non-destructive testing technicians are employed by private industrial inspection companies and in the quality control, maintenance and safety departments of: 

  • pipeline, refinery and other oil and gas companies
  • construction companies
  • utilities
  • aircraft manufacturers, metal fabrication companies and other manufacturers
  • airline, trucking and other transportation companies.

Experienced NDT technicians who have Level 2 certification may advance to supervisory positions. Those with Level 3 certification may further move into research and development positions or establish their own service companies.

Non-destructive testing technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2261: Non-Destructive testers and inspectors. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,400 Albertans are employed in the Non-Destructive testers and inspectors occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.2% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 41 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As nond-destructive testing technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for non-destructive testing technicians.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians
NOC code: 2261

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.11 $47.95 $31.89 $32.61
Overall $19.05 $75.00 $40.36 $37.57
Top $19.05 $110.00 $49.73 $42.71

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Oil & Gas Extraction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

68%
68%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

44%
44%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

1%
1%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Electro-Technologies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) website: www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ongc-cgsb/index-eng.html

Canadian Institute for NDE (Nondestructive Examination) website: www.cinde.ca

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) website: www.cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca

Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) website: www.cwbweb.org

Natural Resources Canada NDT Certifying Agency website: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/mining-materials/non-destructive-testing/19527 

 

Quality Control Council of Canada : http://www.qcccanada.com/ndt.shtml

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Dec 10, 2012. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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