Non-Destructive Testing Specialists


Exploring this Job

Get a part-time or summer job at a company that provides non-destructive testing services. Look for job listings through online employment Web sites such as, as well as through Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and others. Ask your school's career services office for help with your job search. You can also ask them for help with setting up an informational interview with a non-destructive testing specialist. Prepare for this helpful talk by preparing a list of questions that cover topics such as their educational background, what they like most and least about the work, and what advice they can give for how best to get started in this career. Volunteer and get involved in a professional association to meet people working in the field and learn more about employment opportunities. Find a list of upcoming events on the American Society for Nondestructive Testing's Web site, /MajorSiteSections/Events.

The Job

Non-destructive testing (NDT) specialists inspect, test, and evaluate materials, components, and assemblies for defects and potential problems in the future. They are responsible for testing structures, vehicles, or vessels to make sure they are in accordance with applicable standards and regulations. Non-destructive testing means using testing methods and equipment that do not destroy the part or material that is being tested; it can still be used after the test is completed.

According to the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, the types of test methods that are used in the NDT field include the following: acoustic emission testing, electromagnetic testing, guided wave testing, ground penetrating radar, laser testing methods, leak testing, magnetic flux leakage, microwave testing, liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, neutrol radiographic testing, radiographic testing, thermal/infrared testing, ultrasonic testing, vibration analysis, and visual testing. NDT specialists most frequently use magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, radiographic, ultrasonic, electromagnetic, and visual testing. 

NDT specialists examine vehicles and structures, including aircraft, trains, nuclear reactors, bridges, dams, and pipelines. They use non-destructive testing techniques to identify defects in solid materials. They apply knowledge of engineering science and technology, raw materials and production processes, and mathematics in their inspections and evaluations of products and processes. They also work closely with other NDT professionals, engineering technicians, and others, observing and gathering information throughout their investigations.

The job requires knowledge of industrial equipment and systems, the ability to calibrate scientific and technical equipment, and the ability to operate industrial equipment. They use various software programs every day while on the job, such as analytical or scientific software like Fractal Concept SoftScan, GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies Rhythm UT, and Visualization Sciences Group Aviso Fire; computer-aided design software such as Autodesk AutoCAD and Dassault Systemes CATIA; IBM Notes for e-mail; Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets; and Visualization Sciences Group Open Inventor for graphics and photo imaging.