An important part of ensuring machinery and equipment work properly is to test them. Non-destructive testing (NDT) technicians use specific methods to evaluate materials. Like the name indicates, these technicians leave materials intact as they use various tests to identify flaws. NDT technicians check components, structures and vehicles, so they can make repair recommendations and ensure various equipment is properly maintained.

For those who enjoy problem-solving and who want to work on tasks that ensure structural safety and protect users of important machinery, a career as an NDT technician can be exciting. Learn more about what NDT technicians do and how to become one.

Non-Destructive Testing Technician Job Description

NDT technicians use industry-specific testing procedures to test materials and evaluate the results according to applicable standards, codes and specifications. There’s a variety of NDT methods, including:

  • Acoustic emission
  • Eddy current
  • Electromagnetic
  • Leak
  • Liquid penetrant
  • Magnetic particle
  • Neutron radiographic
  • Radiography
  • Thermal or infrared
  • Ultrasound
  • Vibration analysis
  • Visual penetrant

NDT technicians work in a variety of industries, including some that power the world’s biggest machinery. These industries include aviation, gas, manufacturing, oil and power generation, with NDT technicians working on vehicles and structures like aircraft, bridges, dams, pipelines, nuclear reactors and trains.

A typical day on the job as an NDT technician might include duties like:

  • Use testing techniques to identify defects, surface cracks and other flaws in materials
  • Visually examine materials for signs of wear and corrosion
  • Calibrate technical equipment
  • Develop new NDT methods
  • Document NDT methods and processes
  • Measure chemical or physical properties of objects
  • Prepare test results reports
  • Produce object images on film

Depending on the area an NDT technician specializes in, they’ll use specific equipment and tools for testing various materials and structures. These might include dyes, closed-circuit television systems, endoscopes, radio astronomy equipment, voltage measurement equipment and fiber optics.


How to Become a NDT Technician

NDT technicians typically need some work-related knowledge or experience to obtain a position. Someone who’s interested in the NDT field can train to become a technician through trade school, or get on-the-job experience as an assistant or apprentice before moving into a technician role.

How long does it take to become a NDT technician? You can train for NDT careers in less than a year. Our NDT technician school teaches:1

  • Eddy current theory and application
  • Magnetic particle theory and application
  • Penetrant theory and application
  • Radiation safety
  • Ultrasound theory and application
  • Visual theory and application

Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to apply for entry-level careers in the NDT field and work toward on-the-job training hours that can help you prepare for NDT inspector certification and other types of credentials.

Is Non-Destructive Testing a Good Career?

An NDT career may be a fit for you if you’re interested in working in a hands-on career that requires solving problems and finding solutions for important materials and machinery. You’ll play an important role in keeping essential structures and the people who use them safe. You’ll often need to use critical thinking skills as you evaluate test results and provide recommendations.

NDT training teaches you skills that can be applied to a wide variety of industries. Some people who study NDT use their training to pursue related careers, including roles as industrial maintenance technicians.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of non-destructive testing technicians in the United States was $65,520 in May 2022.62 This means half earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Get Training to Become an NDT Technician

Our NDT technician training program in Houston, Texas, covers a variety of NDT methods to prepare graduates for entry-level work in diverse industries. You can graduate in less than a year and connect with Career Services to find open positions in locations and industries you’re interested in.

To get information on the NDT technician training program, request info.

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit
62 ) The Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as non-destructive testing technicians. Estimated annual salary is for Engineering Technologists and Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for graduates. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary. Graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as non-destructive testing technicians, such as quality control technicians and inspectors. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is available at Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled non-destructive testing technicians in North Carolina is $33.29 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Engineering Technologists and Technicians, Except Drafters, All Other). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $24.51 and $18.40, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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