Think your life is not impacted by the skill level/qualification of a nondestructive testing (NDT) technician?
Most of us probably just take for granted the integrity and reliability of:
- The bridge you use every day to cross the river on the way to work
- The landing gear of the plane you’re flying on
- The front spindle on the bus your kids ride to school every day
We’re not wrong in taking these things for granted. We do so because we rightfully assume that the NDT technicians and the companies who employ them have the experience and skill set to do their job effectively.
Certified doesn’t always mean qualified
Do you know what they call the guy who squeaked by and graduated medical school by the skin of his teeth?
However, when you’re lying on an operating table about to be cut open, you’re likely not thinking about how many framed certificates are hanging on their office wall but rather…
- Have they done this procedure before, how often and what were the results?
- If the unexpected happens, will they have the knowledge to react appropriately or will they make matters worse?
The same questions could and should be applied to NDT technicians.
CERTIFICATION IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST PASSING A WRITTEN EXAM
A side of business born out of necessity
Over ten years ago, IVC became frustrated with personnel who would return from training having received their certification, yet were still in need of “additional training” to do what they went to training for in the first place. We quickly came to realize that certification – be it through the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) scheme or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) scheme – is so much more than just passing a written exam.
However, with so much confusion still present about the differences and advantages/disadvantages between ASNT and ISO certification, it warrants a quick look into each.
ASNT (i.e. Employer-Based Certification)
Simply put, ASNT is an employer-based certification program – meaning that the employer bears the responsibility of making sure that personnel performing NDT at their facility hold the necessary certifications. The ASNT provides employers with Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A: Personnel Qualification and Certification in Nondestructive Testing, which provides guidelines that can be used by companies to develop employer-based, in-house NDT and PdM certification programs.
SNT-TC-1A includes recommended skill levels for all levels of NDT qualification, recommended training and experience hours for Level I and Level II personnel, and the examination eligibility requirements for Level III personnel. These guidelines can be modified by employers. When incorporated into a company’s Written Practice (procedure) they become the PdM certification requirements for that company. Additionally, certification is based not only upon a written examination but also includes a hands-on practical examination.
ISO (i.e. Third-Party Certification)
ISO is a central certification system that requires the examinations be given by an independent third-party who confirms that an individual has a base set of skills, knowledge, experience, and competence to perform tasks that meet established guidelines. This separate certifying entity is meant to ensure a non-biased, fair and consistent certification program both nationally and internationally.
- It has been argued that Employer-Based Certification (ASNT scheme) expires when you change employers. However, the new employer can accept your previous certification as “equivalent” to their own, perform testing to evaluate your capabilities or send you to a third party for validation.
- There is an expectation of “pay-to-pass” when sending personnel to third-party training and certification.
- Employer-Based Certification is biased therefore certification is an automatic rubber stamp.
Regardless of the certification scheme chosen, the employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring an analyst is capable. It is the employer who authorizes the individual to perform testing and perform analysis, not the certifying agency.
IVC’s comprehensive ASNT training
At IVC, we developed training which is intended to develop a multi-industry analyst. We do this by using the body of knowledge contained in ANSI/ASNT CP-105 as it applies to our needs as experienced in 30 business years.
For us, sending out appropriately qualified, knowledgeable analysts who are skilled practitioners to represent IVC is a matter of integrity. For more information on our comprehensive training programs, click here.