The field of nondestructive testing (NDT) is a lucrative career path with plenty of room for advancement and a promising future. With a projected growth of $4.1 billion worldwide by the year 2025, careers in NDT provide security, stability, challenging work, and competitive wages.
Men and women in the NDT field can choose to work in many industries, from manufacturing and energy to aerospace, nuclear, transport, and power. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Best of all, many nondestructive testing jobs do not require a 4-year degree, so individuals interested in NDT can complete their training and start working sooner than professionals in other fields.
There are many schools throughout the U.S. offering degree and certificate programs for people interested in starting a career in nondestructive testing.
With options at state universities, city and community colleges, technical academies, and training centers, students can select the program that best fits their current schedule and financial needs, as well as their career goals.
What to look for in a nondestructive testing school
Prospective students should consider the following when selecting an NDT program:
It’s important that future NDT professionals consider their budget prior to choosing a degree or certificate program. Many schools offer various financial aid options to students who qualify.
While many students opt to take out loans to fund their education, there are grants and scholarships available through individual schools, and on sites like Scholarships.com. Grants and scholarships can greatly reduce the need for loans.
Another financial consideration students should contemplate before taking out loans is the job market in the area they plan to reside after completing their training.
For reference, the average salary of a level I NDT technician in Washington D.C. is $58,900, while a technician with the same level of training based in New York City makes an average of $64,400 annually.
Budget-friendly programs and scholarships can help keep loan payments at a minimum. Researching multiple schools can help students find a degree or certificate program that offers the perfect balance of great education and affordability.
As mentioned previously, there are great NDT training programs all over the U.S. It’s likely that prospective students will find a degree or certificate program close to home, though some individuals opt to relocate in order to attend the institution of their choice.
Out-of-state tuition is typically much higher at state colleges and universities, and students must consider the cost of housing and other living expenses that come with relocating.
For students who prefer to stay close to home but have limited local options, there are online courses available, as well as hybrid programs.
For instance, The American Institute of Nondestructive Testing offers a program in which students complete six months of online training followed by 18 days of hands-on training at the school’s Minnesota-based institution.
This program has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, proving that online and hybrid NDT schooling can be an excellent academic choice.
Quality of programs
Unfortunately, not all NDT degree and certificate programs are created equal, so students are encouraged to research individual programs, check ratings, ask questions, and weigh the pros and cons of each institution and program before deciding which school to attend.
It can also be helpful to discuss training options with NDT professionals. NDT.net offers community forums, including a discussion board dedicated to career topics.
The programs highlighted below have a proven track record, offering students education and training that will help them enter the field with knowledge and hands-on experience.
Top 10 nondestructive testing schools
The search for a reputable NDT school can be overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed the field to 10 institutions offering amazing programs that prepare students for a career in NDT.
Iowa State University (ISU)
Located in Ames, Iowa, the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) at Iowa State University offers a graduate certificate program in nondestructive evaluation (NDE), as well as an undergraduate minor and field-specific training options for engineers and aviation safety inspectors.
Individuals interested in enrolling at Iowa State can reach CNDE via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Institute of Nondestructive Testing (AINDT)
Known for its convenient and affordable NDT certificate program, AINDT combines online and hands-on training. Best of all, the program takes just seven months, making it an ideal option for men and women who are eager to begin a career in nondestructive testing.
Virginia Tech (VT)
Although this highly-rated public institution does not offer a dedicated NDT program, students studying engineering at the undergraduate or graduate level will receive extensive training in NDT.
Prospective students can reach VT by calling 540-231-3244 or reaching out via email to email@example.com.
Recognized as one of the best NDT programs in the nation, this Minnesota-based institution offers three great program options for individuals interested in becoming NDT professionals. Students can choose from an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, nondestructive testing technology diploma, or advanced ultrasonic testing technology diploma.
Anyone interested in attending Ridgewater College can contact the school at 320-234-8500.
Students studying NDT at Cowley College can choose to study in a traditional classroom or online. The Associate of Applied Science degree includes 48 technical hours and 18 general education hours.
For more information, contact Cowley College at 800-593-2222 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Illinois (UIUC)
Recognized as one of the top 50 colleges in the nation, UIUC offers NDT training for men and women interested in studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The hands-on curriculum ensures students are prepared to enter the world of nondestructive testing.
Individuals interested in enrollment can contact the university by calling 217-333-0068 or emailing email@example.com.
Clover Park Technical College
Based in Lakewood, Washington, Clover Park Technical College offers a 2-year degree program in NDT, along with several certificate programs that take only 2-3 quarters to complete.
For questions or to begin the enrollment process, contact the college by phone at 253-589-5800.
Great Bay Community College
Offering a certificate program in nondestructive testing, this New Hampshire-based community college provides training in visual, radiography, ultrasonic, and liquid penetrant inspection. The course consists of 26-28 credits and meets the requirements of level II NDT technicians.
Prospective students can reach the college at 1-800-522-1194 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Aerospace Technical Academy (AATA)
Located in Los Angeles, California, AATA is intent on providing quality education at an affordable price point. Offering level I and level II certificate programs, students learn both in the classroom and on the job.
Individuals interested in attending AATA can contact the academy via phone at 323-761-9066 or by email at email@example.com.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC)
Men and women entering the field of NDT who would like to earn a certificate in welding inspection will learn both destructive and nondestructive techniques at this technical college, which is located in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
To discuss enrollment options, future students can reach the school at 920-498-5444.