Non-destructive testing technician

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • visually inspecting materials – using CCTV and fibre optic cameras
  • conducting 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
  • assessing the risks from hazardous materials, for example those used in construction


You will need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

While specific subjects might not be universally mandated for this career, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation and improve your chances of success in this field. Here are some subjects that could be beneficial:

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics is crucial for understanding and applying various NDT techniques, especially when it comes to interpreting data, performing calculations, and analysing results.
  2. Physics: Physics principles underlie many NDT methods. A solid understanding of topics like waves, sound, and electromagnetic radiation can be valuable in comprehending the underlying principles of NDT techniques.
  3. Science: General science knowledge, including chemistry and biology, can contribute to your understanding of materials, their properties, and their interactions with NDT methods.
  4. Engineering: While not a common subject, if you have the opportunity to study introductory engineering concepts, it can provide you with a valuable foundation for understanding the equipment and technology used in NDT.
  5. English: Strong communication skills, including reading, writing, and interpreting technical documentation, are important for NDT technicians.
  6. IT/Computing: Basic computer skills are becoming increasingly important in various industries, including NDT, as technology plays a significant role in data analysis and reporting.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You might be able to find a place as a trainee technician after doing a qualification at college. Relevant courses include:

  • Certificate in Welding
  • Diploma in Engineering
  • Extended Certificate in Applied Science
  • Certificate in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control

You could complete an intermediate apprenticeship for non-destructive testing (NDT) operators or an advanced apprenticeship for NDT technicians.

You can do a foundation degree in non-destructive testing (NDT) if you’re already working in this area, for example in an engineering workshop or a materials testing lab.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could typically work 41 to 43 hours a week.

You could work in a factory, in a workshop or in a laboratory and you may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a senior non-destructive technician, or specialise in a particular form of testing.

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

You could work towards a degree through part-time study or a degree apprenticeship to become a qualified NDT engineer.