Relevancy of NDT Education

This month, we celebrate education in nondestructive testing (NDT). From providing the foundational information for someone to choose NDT to offering the internationally renowned certification scheme, ASNT NDT Level II and Level III, ASNT makes an invaluable impact on shaping the perception, reception, and future of NDT.

For NDT to remain a strong and globally effective industry, we must prime future generations to choose NDT as a profession. To address this challenge, we crafted a STEM program focused on NDT—complete with lectures, exhibits, and hands on experiments. At our last Annual Conference, our students visited the exhibit hall and engaged with several of our exhibit partners. These young adults, chaperoned by their teachers, came from various area high schools. ASNT’s Day of STEM has become a successful student engagement program that shows high school age students the education, careers, technology, and adventure that awaits them in the world of NDT. This has, in most cases, become the preeminent event of its kind worldwide. While we are reaching thousands directly during those events, we want the knowledge of NDT to spread universally as part of regular science and technology education. To bridge this gap, ASNT exhibited at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) STEM Forum. Additionally, we have helped several of our sister societies around the world to integrate similar programs in their meetings.

NSTA is comprised of science educators of all levels. What better way to bring NDT into the classroom than to first introduce it to the educators? You are able to read about NSTA and the STEM Forum event in an article in this Materials Evaluation issue. A very interesting connection was made at that event that shows there are just a few degrees of separation from NDT no matter where we are.

One thing I have discovered is that everyone has a different story about how they got into NDT. An understated selling point to NDT as a profession is the potentially low barrier to entry for technicians. One does not necessarily need an advanced degree, but rather an aptitude and passion for science, technology, and math. Being able to understand the enormity of NDT in the safety value chain is paramount for industry success regardless of NDT function or role.

We need to make sure we evangelize that there is a place in NDT for people along the complete education and experience spectrum. Whether one is pursuing a university education and wants to be a career researcher or would rather be hands-on practitioners with on-the-job training, ASNT has seasoned members at both ends and all points in between.

One needs look no further than to our own two Dave’s; Dave Bajula, the current ASNT President, and Dave Mandina, our incoming President. They share similar stories, coming from humble beginnings, entering NDT on basically an entry level, but believing in an ethic of hard work, perseverance, and subscribing to a moral platform of ethical purity, knowing that their profession held human lives in the balance. They have both risen to positions of leadership in the NDT field, traveling worldwide and delivering excellence, but perhaps of greatest import, sharing their passion and knowledge with others, and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

For many, the tangible reward and validation for the years of education, training, and experience is the successful completion of a professional certification. ASNT is recognizing its first completed year of computer-based testing for certification examinations worldwide. All certification candidates now experience consistent testing site standards and expectations. Every ASNT certificate holder deserves to have confidence and pride that their accomplishment is justly earned and a testament to their hard work and dedication to keeping the world safe.

Dr. Arnold “Arny” Bereson
ASNT Executive Director