QUALIFICATION and CERTIFICATION.
NDT personnel, before they can perform an NDT task independently (without supervision), have to be qualified and certified competent in a particular NDT method by the employer.
This is how it’s done:
- Firstly you have to have a high school education, with mathematics and science, and preferably technical drawings. You shouldn’t mind getting your hands dirty and there will probably be a lot of travelling involved.
You also have to be medically fit: eye tests and blood cell count etc., for example when performing radiography.
This is standard practice for all NDT methods.
- Secondly you have to gain practical experience in the particular method. For example you are looking at UT and RT, it is recommended that you have at least three months of practical experience before attending the Level I course.
- Then, after your Level I course, you have to have at least another three months of practical experience (for UT and RT) as a trainee before you may be certified as a Level I NDT Technician - You may now perform an NDT task independently.
This period differs with each method of NDT.
- You may attend a Level II course in a particular method once you and your employer feel you are ready to take up a supervisory position. You will be responsible for training and supervising other NDT personnel. You will also accept responsibility for the actions of Level I and uncertified Level II technicians.
- But if you are going to be certified directly as a Level II inspector you will need at least nine month's practical experience as a trainee, under direct supervision of a certified Level II or III. Recommended for MT & PT only.
This period differs with each method of NDT.
- You may attend a Level III “refresher” course in the particular method once you feel you are ready to take up a managerial position. (you need more than 4 years of experience.) You will be responsible for training, supervising and certifying other NDT personnel.
You will also accept responsibility for the actions of Level I and Level II technicians.
You will analyse codes, write procedures, approve technique sheets etc.
Having successfully passed the general exam, which is attaining 70% for the exam, you will be issued with a certificate as proof of theoretical training. This certificate never expires, like your matric certificate.
THIS IS YOUR QUALIFICATION CERTIFICATE.
THIS CERTIFICATE DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO CARRY OUT AN NDT INSPECTION INDEPENDENTLY. YOU ARE STILL A TRAINEE UNTIL THE COMPANY CERTIFIES YOU COMPETENT TO DO THE JOB.
Now for certification of competency or authority to SNT - TC - 1A, you will write three exams.
The GENERAL (qualification exam as above), SPECIFIC and a PRACTICAL exam, a pass mark of 70% is required in each aspect, BUT before you can be certified you need your general, specific and practical exams to make up a composite mark of no less than 80% aggregate. (Gen% + Spec% + Pract% ÷ 3 = more than 80%)
You also need the necessary on the job training and practical experience as deemed necessary by the company – your employer - and the company's Level III, in accordance with the company's Written Practice.
This written practice covers the qualification and certification of NDE personnel employed by the company. It is drawn up by the company and approved by the company's Level III or an appointed Level III from an outside agency.
- Remember you must retain your hours of experience if you wish to be certified and the best way to do this is to log your experience in an appropriate log book which should be verified by your supervisor on a regular basis.
- This log book is virtually your NDT CV and should be at hand at all times in the advent that your experience needs to be verified by a Level III or the client.
- In order for the employer to certify you competent to do the job independently he must ensure the following documentation is in place and available on file.
- Educational background.
- Proof of course training in the applicable method.
- Practical experience.
- Examination results, i.e. General, Specific and Practical.
- Physical capability, e.g. near vision accuracy and colour perception.
The completed certification document must be signed by the company representative and endorsed by the appointed Level III in order for the document to be valid.
Certification remains valid for a period of five years and terminates when you leave the company. Recertification for the company will be by examination i.e. General, Specific and Practical. Depending how this is stated in the company’s written practice.
However, should you remain with the same company recertification for another five years can be done on the basis of continued satisfactory performance, without examination.
Of course this all depends on the how it is laid down in the company's written practice.
Should you have any questions in this regard, please do not hesitate to ask your instructor for assistance.