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        Qualification vs. Certification

        Written By: consult on February 9, 2010 No Comment

        Qualification vs. Certification

        One of the most misunderstood aspects of our industry involves the distinction between qualification and certification in relation to NDT technicians.

        It is very important that EMPLOYERS who oversee the training of NDT TRAINEES understand this process, and more important, make the commitment to that training out of an understanding that the performance of that trainee will someday affect the health and safety of human beings.? (The work we perform is much too important to be careless in providing a careful foundation of knowledge of the NDT applications and dedication to an honest and ethical application of all we know to performance of an excellent job of inspection every day.)

         

        The Certification Process

        Let’s take a look at the entire certification process to help determine the correct path that each technician should take.

        First, let’s consider the document that covers this process. The American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) has created a document that functions as a guideline for the qualification and certification process. This document is referred to as SNT-TC-1a.

        Here is an overview of the requirements for qualification as outlined in this document.

        The qualification process includes four distinct requirements:

        1)????? Formal Education in the NDT method under study. ( referred to as ‘Body of Knowledge’)

        2)????? Successful completion of a test set for each method ?(referred to as General, Specific, and Practical tests)

        3)????? An eye test consisting of Near Vision Acuity and Color Differentiation Examinations.

        4)????? Documentation of Time In Method for each NDT method where certification is being sought – Accumulation of documented On The Job Training under the supervision of a Level II or III Technician.? (The time per method should be specified in the employer’s Written Practice.)

        These four elements combined fulfill the requirements for qualification in each method of NDT inspection named in the ASNT recommended practice, SNT-TC-1a.

        Who Is Responsible for Certification

        What needs to be understood, at this time, is that the company who employs the NDT technician is the entity responsible for “Certifying” the technician in the chosen method of inspection.? Schools and Training Centers cannot* certify technicians.

        * The one exception would be in the case where an experienced technician with documented OJT and other records of qualification would choose to form his own company and adopt our Level III to write a written practice for his company, verify his qualification and then certify him under his own company written practice.

        Training centers like ours, NDT Training and Testing Center, can help technicians and employers fulfill three of the four steps, but the important On-the-Job-Training (OJT) under the Level II or III technician must be provided by the employer. ?When the critical on the job training is completed the trainee is ready for his Certification – In fact, a simple statement of belief by a supervisor or officer of the company that the trainee has successfully accomplished the path of qualification, and is now Certified for the inspection tasks for which he was trained.

        Example of Qualification and Certification Procedure

        Joe would like to become a certified Level II Inspector using the Magnetic Particle method of inspection.

        Step One – Joe attends the Level I & II Magnetic Particle class at NDT Training and Testing Center, fulfilling the Body of Knowledge requirements of SNT-TC-1A.

        Step Two – At the end of the class, Joe is given written tests covering general and specific information about Magnetic Particle Inspection techniques and equipment. Joe is also given a hands-on Practical test, to show that he can actually use the equipment to conduct Magnetic Particle inspection.

        Joe passes all three tests with flying colors!

        Step Three – Joe passes an Eye Test administered by the NDT Training & Testing Center.

        Now Joe has fulfilled three of the recommendations of SNT-TC-1a for becoming “Qualified.” for certification to Level II status.

        Joe receives a certificate of completion from NDT Training and Testing Center, but he is not yet a “Certified Technician.” Remember, there is one more requirement to fulfill.

        Step Four – Joe and his employer keep track of how much time Joe actually spends practicing and performing Magnetic Particle Inspection under the direction of a qualified Level II or III.. Once Joe has completed the appropriate number of hours of Magnetic Particle Inspection, then he will have fulfilled the Time in Method (OJT)? recommendations of SNT-TC-1a.

        Joe’s employer can now “Certify” that Joe has completed all of the requirements, and Joe will receive his Level II Certification for Magnetic Particle Inspection.

        This is the process for proper certification in each method of NDT inspection.

        One more special note:

        If you have achieved a Level II certification in any method of NDT inspection in one company, then change to another, your new employer will have an obligation to have you re-qualify per his interpretation of SNT-TC-1a. ?That rarely means that you would have to start all over, but after all, he has every right to satisfy himself in every way that we’ve talked about that you meet his standards because it will be his (your new employer) reputation that’s exposed if you perform poorly as a technician for his company.

        Thorough documentation will typically be the key to easy transfer between employers by a veteran technician.? So keep your records up to date, with a complete file on all of the education you achieve, current eye tests, and time-in-method charts that work to prove that you are a professional technician who can be trusted by the new employer as being properly qualified so that he can issue his certification with confidence in your background and ability.

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