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Non-Destructive Testing Specialist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Tests the safety of structures, vehicles, or vessels using x-ray, ultrasound, fiber optic or related equipment.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Interprets or evaluates test results in accordance with applicable codes, standards, specifications, or procedures.
  • Interprets the results of all methods of non-destructive testing (NDT) such as acoustic emission, electromagnetic, leak, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, neutron radiographic, radiographic, thermal or infrared, ultrasonic, vibration analysis, and visual testing.
  • Examines structures or vehicles such as aircraft, trains, nuclear reactors, bridges, dams, and pipelines using non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques.
  • Selects, calibrates, or operates equipment used in the non-destructive testing (NDT) of products or materials.
  • Identifies defects in solid materials using ultrasonic testing techniques.
  • Prepares reports on non-destructive testing (NDT) results.
  • Documents non-destructive testing (NDT) methods, processes, or results.
  • Supervises or directs the work of non-destructive testing (NDT) trainees or staff.
  • Makes radiographic images to detect flaws in objects while leaving objects intact.
  • Produces images of objects on film using radiographic techniques.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Exposed to radiation more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Industrial Radiographer --
  • Inspector --
  • Non-Destructive Evaluation Manager (NDE Manager) --
  • Non-Destructive Evaluation Technician (NDE Technician) --
  • Non-Destructive Testing Services Director (NDT Services Director) --
  • Non-Destructive Testing Specialist (NDT Specialist) --
  • Non-Destructive Testing Supervisor (NDT Supervisor) --
  • Non-Destructive Testing Technician (NDT Technician) --
  • Quality Engineer --
  • Quality Manager --