Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a group of methods used to evaluate the soundness of welds without destroying the part under examination. These NDT methods are used by certified welding inspectors (CWIs) to make sure that welds meet the in-service requirements prescribed by relevant codes and contracts. It’s an important job because everyday millions of people rely on buildings, bridges, cars, airplanes and a host of other welded products.
In fact, the sheer number of manufactured goods that require weld quality testing means that qualified NDT technicians and CWIs are needed in a host of industries across the world, from aerospace and automotive to construction and energy. It’s not a bad living either. The net salary for a CWI is about $61k/year, and for someone with additional NDT Level II qualifications, that number jumps to around $84k/year. To find out more about becoming a CWI, make sure to visit the AWS Welding Inspector Career Pathway and Top 5 Reasons to Become a CWI.
Of course, current CWIs are already familiar with the fundamental principles of the most common NDT methods. However, adding NDT certifications to your arsenal of skills is never a bad idea. Specialized competencies in liquid penetrant, radiographic, ultrasonic, or magnetic particle testing can expand your skill set and improve your earning potential. Plus, NDT courses count towards the 80 professional development hours (PDHs) required to obtain 9-year CWI Recertification.
There are also clear, measurable business benefits to investing in the education of technicians and CWIs. More knowledgeable CWIs allow companies to increase the quality of their work and expand their range of services. Moreover, one well-rounded CWI may represent a better value than several different specialists.
The Value of Online Courses
A comprehensive NDT skill set is a boon for both individuals and businesses, but acquiring those skills can be a challenge. Fortunately, online training has made the processes a lot more simple and affordable, saving learners the cost of lodging and travel as well as time away from work and family.
In keeping with its mission to advance the field and promote new opportunities in welding, the American Welding Society (AWS) offers NDT courses specifically designed for welders and welding professionals. For those new to NDT, AWS offers the Science of Nondestructive Testing, a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals of welding discontinuities and the most common nondestructive testing methods, including visual testing (VT), penetrant testing (PT), magnetic particle testing (MT), radiographic testing (RT), and ultrasonic testing (UT). For more advanced learners, AWS has teamed up with Chuck Hellier’s NDT Classroom to bring you a series of courses that provide an in-depth look at different methods, including VT, PT, MT, RT, UT, and eddy current testing.
Each of these multimedia courses features a subject matter expert who skillfully walks participants through every step of the NDT process in accordance with the latest industry requirements and codes. Simulated real-world situations put the process in context, facilitating the student’s ability to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job. And because students have full control over the learning process, they can revisit any portion of the course as often as needed. This, in turn, further promotes retention and mastery of the subject matter.
There’s a lot to be said for 24/7 course access and learning at your own pace from the comfort of your own home. But what if you have questions? Not a problem. Simply jot them down and ask the instructor. He is available for a weekly teleconference every Thursday at 8pm EST.
Take the Next Step
Technological advances and the demand for welded products continues to spur innovations in NDT and opportunities in the field of welding inspection. To learn more about how AWS can help you take advantage of these and other opportunities in welding, visit AWS Learning and start planning your future today.