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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.

Also Known As

NDT Technician / Technologist, Inspector (NDT / Welding)

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Nondestructive Testers and Inspectors (2261) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Nondestructive Testers and Inspectors (C161) 
  • 2011 NOC: Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians (2261) 
  • 2016 NOC: Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians (2261) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Nondestructive Testers and Inspectors

2006 NOC: 2261

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2022

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. Many tests are required by codes or regulations. For example, NDT may be used to test aircraft skins, 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 (NDT) technicians use many different techniques to examine components and parts. Some common types include:

  • Magnetic particle inspection (MPI) - An internal magnetic field is generated in a metal part. Iron particles dusted on the surface reveal flaws located on or near the surface.
  • Liquid penetrant inspection (LPI) - A coloured petroleum or water-based liquid is applied to a nonporous surface. It is then removed and replaced by a white developer. This acts as a blotter and draws out penetrant trapped in voids. The void areas are the flaws.
  • Radiography testing (RT) - Penetrating radiation is absorbed at different rates depending on material density and thickness. It then reveals internal, non-linear flaws, which absorb less radiation. These flaws show up as lighter or darker areas on 2-dimensional radiographic film.
  • Ultrasonic testing (UT) - Complex electronic equipment converts electrical pulses into mechanical vibrations that travel across tested materials. When the reflected pulses are converted back to electrical energy, they create a 3D image of the test specimen.
  • Eddy current testing (ET) - This is a portable method of testing 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. This test can be used on areas ranging from relatively small to vast.

Other techniques can include advanced computer systems, drone, and robotic systems to capture and analyze data in difficult areas, and many more. Opportunities exist for the NDT Inspector to expand their capabilities through continuous learning.

Duties vary depending on the type of test. 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 using, for example, radiographs and 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
  • 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 properly and maintained in good condition
  • Verify that joint preparation and fit-up meet requirements
  • Examine and evaluate welds
  • Record inspection results and prepare reports
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Working conditions vary a lot from one industry and organization to another. Non-destructive testing (NDT) technicians may work primarily indoors in manufacturing or processing plants, or outdoors on construction sites in all weather conditions. They may work shifts. Overtime is often 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. They may be away from home for extended periods. Their jobs may require international travel .

Occupational hazards also vary. There is some risk of injury involved in working on construction sites and in manufacturing plants. Work at heights, in confined spaces, and in hazardous atmospheres may be required, with proper training. Accidental exposure to radiation is a hazard for NDT technicians who conduct radiographic tests.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Non-destructive testing (NDT) technicians need:

  • Motor coordination and manual dexterity
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • An ability to maintain focus in busy or noisy surroundings

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians

2011 NOC: 2261

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 32 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 04, 2021 and Sep 23, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Team player
Testing Equipment and Methods: Nondestructive testing
Personal Suitability: Organized
Conduct tests to ensure quality or detect defects
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Establish techniques for proper examination of objects under inspection, ensuring strict adherence to safety regulations
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Maintain test result reports
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Minimum Education Varies

Most employers prefer to hire non-destructive testing (NDT) technicians who have related post-secondary education or training, as well as the certification required for the types of tests they conduct. Recertification is required every 5 years. Some advanced methods may require training out of country.

NDT technicians must keep up to date with changes in technology.


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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

Obtaining certification to conduct eddy current, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, radiography, or ultrasonic tests is an asset for employment.

There are 3 levels of Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) certification for non-destructive testing that are administered by the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) National NDT Certification Body (NDTCB):

  • 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 supervision. They are qualified to write special procedures, inhouse training programs, and written practices (WP).

To become CGSB NDT certified, applicants must complete training, obtain work experience hours, and pass written and practical examinations.

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

  • 40-hour Exposure Device Operator (EDO) training program
  • NRCan EDO exam
  • 320-hour apprenticeship at a licensed gamma radiography facility under the direct visual supervision of an authorized CEDO
  • Practical exam

The Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) offers 3 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 3 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 (API) offers a number of individual certification programs (for example, pressure vessel, piping, and above-ground storage-tank inspector certifications). Applicants must pass an exam for each type of certificate.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Non-destructive testing (NDT) technicians work for private industrial inspection companies and in the quality control (QC), quality assurance (QA), or maintenance and safety departments of:

  • Pipeline, refinery, and other oil and gas companies
  • Construction companies
  • Utilities, power plants (including hydro and solar), and water systems
  • Aircraft manufacturers, metal fabrication companies, and other manufacturers
  • Airline, trucking, and other transportation companies

Experienced NDT technicians with 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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2261: Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians occupational group, 77.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2261: Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.7% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2022

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Non-destructive testers and inspection technicians

2016 NOC: 2261
Average Wage
$37.19
Per Hour
Average Salary
$77,014.00
Per Year
Average Hours
39.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2261 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $43.27 $24.89 $20.46
Overall $23.00 $61.21 $37.19 $32.00
Top $24.00 $67.64 $44.35 $35.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
72%
72%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
39%
39%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
10%
10%
Vacancy Rate
6%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2022

American Petroleum Institute (API) website: www.api.org

Canadian Institute for Non-destructive Evaluation (CINDE) website: www.cinde.ca

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) website: nuclearsafety.gc.ca

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

IDL Inspection Ltd website: www.idlinspection.com

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), National Non-Destructive Testing Certification Body (NDTCB) website: www.nrcan.gc.ca

Quality Control Council of Canada website: qcccanada.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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