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Non-destructive testing technician NDT technician

Non-destructive testing technicians (NDT) test materials and components used in structures and machinery.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £17,500 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could get into this career:

  • through an apprenticeship
  • as a trainee technician, after completing an engineering qualification
You’ll need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science subject like physics.

Tomorrow's Engineers and The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) have more information on becoming an NDT.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • problem-solving skills
  • attention to detail
  • the ability to use a wide range of tools and instruments
  • IT skills
  • written and spoken communication skills

3. What you'll do

NDT methods are used in quality control procedures in aerospace, energy, manufacturing and transport.

You’ll test materials used in machinery and structures to find faults like corrosion, cracks, flaws and other imperfections. 

You’ll use a range of methods, including:

  • visual inspection - using CCTV and fibre optic cameras
  • thermal imaging - to find defects in concrete and other building materials
  • dye testing - staining surfaces with fluorescent liquid
  • magnetic particle testing - applying magnetic particles to materials
  • radiographic testing - using X-rays to find internal faults
  • ultrasonic testing - firing high frequency sound pulses into materials
  • eddy current testing - passing electricity through materials
  • resonant testing - 'listening' to the growth of cracks or flaws by monitoring the acoustic vibrations of a structure

4. Salary

Starter: £17,500 to £21,000

Experienced: £23,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

You may work shifts and weekends.

You could be based in a laboratory, factory production area or workshop.

You’ll wear protective clothing, like gloves and eye protection.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior NDT technician, or specialise in a particular form of testing.

You could move into quality assurance, purchasing, technical sales, management, or research and development.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017