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There are three Nondestructive Testing or NDT levels of certification known as NDT Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. These NDT levels are frequently noted with roman numerals, Level I, II and III. Each NDT level has its own requirements. You’ll also have to pass written and practical examinations for every NDT certification level.

The market for nondestructive testing is worth over $14.8 billion. It’s an effective way to prevent mechanical failure and ensure component life cycle and safety. An NDT technician performs specialized tests and must demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience at the required NDT levels. The best way to do this is to receive NDT certification.

Read our guide to understand NDT levels and how certification can help your career.

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NDT Levels

NDT levels offer many specialized testing methods. Testing ensures that all structural and mechanical components of a device work properly. It’s referred to as “nondestructive” because the tests don’t affect the usefulness of an object or material.

An NDT technician performs these important tests after receiving the necessary NDT certification level. Depending on your career goals, you may choose to focus on a specific NDT method.

We offer the most convenient and affordable NDT training program available.


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NDT Certification Levels

Certification for NDT levels is not typically offered in a “one size fits all” method of education. NDT certification levels are offered in several types of programs with different specializations and levels of expertise.

Creating the right training program allows you to work towards the career you want. To do that, you need to know the requirements of the 3 NDT certification levels.

NDT Level 1

NDT Level 1 certification teaches you to perform NDT calibrations and evaluations according to written instructions. Your instructor will have NDT Level 1 or 2 certification.

NDT Level 2

NDT Level 2 certification teaches you to set up and calibrate equipment. You’ll also learn how to organize and report the results of these tests. It’s your responsibility to complete the required on-the-job training. At this level, you’re qualified to supervise NDT Level 1 personnel below you.

NDT Level 3

NDT Level 3 teaches you to develop, qualify, and approve NDT procedures and techniques. You’ll learn how to interpret and report all your results. You’ll also be able to train NDT Level 1 and 2 personnel.

Let us customize a training program that meets your training requirements.

Certification for NDT Levels

To become certified in NDT Level 1 or 2, you’ll need to pass both a general and a specific written examination. Employees may also require those who are NDT Level 3 certified to develop up-to-date exam content.

A practical examination shows that you’re familiar with the NDT equipment you’ll be using daily. You’ll show the examiner that you can operate it properly and record and analyze the results.

Additional job-specific examinations may be required. Your employer is allowed to customize the requirements however they see fit.

All work activities that use a specific NDT method count as NDT certification level experience. The amount of experience you need depends on the job you take and the complexity of the test.

NDT equipment


Types of certification documents you may need include:

  • ANSI/ASNT CP-105, Nondestructive Testing – Qualification and Certification of Personnel
  • Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A, Personnel Qualification and Certification in Nondestructive Testing
  • ASNT Central Certification Program (ACCP) Document ACCP-CP-1, Rev. 6 (8/9/09)
  • ISO 9712, Non-destructive testing – Qualification and certification of personnel
  • EN 473, Non-destructive testing – Qualification and certification of NDT personnel – General principles

Every NDT technician must renew their certification every 5 years by showing proof of satisfactory performance or re-examination. They must also repeat their initial certification exams every 10 years.

NDT Levels 1 and 3 require it every 5 years. NDT Level 3 recertification requires you to retake your initial exams or earn 24 recertification points.

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Applications of NDT Certification Levels

Several industries use nondestructive testing. NDT inspection methods include:

  • Visual and optical testing (VT)
  • Magnetic particle testing (MT)
  • Penetrant testing (PT)

Radiography is another type of testing that requires more specialized training.

VT or visual and optic testing helps spot surface imperfections that could lead to breakdowns or poor performance. This type of certification requires a thorough knowledge of manufacturing, lighting requirements, and the workings of the human eye. You’ll use precise measuring tools and other equipment like computer-controlled cameras and optical aids.

RT or radiography involves using radioactive isotopes like gamma or X-rays. It examines materials and equipment like a doctor examines the human body. This certification requires you to direct radiation and read projections on a film or digital detection device.

UT or ultrasonic testing uses high-frequency sound waves. They enter a material to detect changes in its characteristics. It can detect internal imperfections, acoustic impedance, and more.

MT or magnetic particle testing induces a magnetic field into a ferromagnetic material. It applies iron particles to the surface of the material, pointing out any discontinuities.

PT or penetrant testing uses a dye solution that highlights any surface-breaking cavities. The technician then removes excess dye and applies a developer to draw out any unseen penetrant. Ultraviolet light helps make imperfections easier to see when the process involves fluorescent dyes. Color contrasts help with visible dyes.

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Certified Technicians and NDT Levels

NDT technicians inspect materials and structures to find any faults before they become a major problem. They may look for issues such as cracks, corrosion, or structural imperfections. At each NDT level, you will develop skills to evaluate materials thoroughly and systematically.

NDT technician jobs continue to grow as the technology sees widespread acceptance. You’ll need to hone your skills to stand out amongst a field of applicants. Certification in one or more NDT levels will give you a competitive advantage. You should also demonstrate an ability to problem-solve, use a variety of tools, and write detailed, accurate reports.

A certified NDT technician makes an annual salary of anywhere from $41,387 to $53,723. It’s a customizable career with favorable prospects and fair hours.

NDT Levels and Training Courses

Nondestructive testing is a powerful way to prevent mechanical failure and ensure that every device lasts as long as possible. At AINDT, we provide customized courses at all NDT levels to meet your training needs.

NDT certification is a customizable but complex process. You need to know which NDT level you want to rise to, which specializations you require, and how to get there.

Finding the right certification at the correct NDT level helps you quickly reach your career goals. Enroll in our complete NDT training program today.


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NDT Training FAQs

Can I take an individual NDT course from AINDT?

Yes, AINDT does offer individual NDT courses.

Individual courses are best for people who are already in the NDT industry and are looking to expand their NDT methods education.

If you are looking to start a career in nondestructive testing as an NDT technician, an individual class isn’t the quick fix you are looking for.

Our full "NDT Certification" training program is what you’ll need to start your NDT career.

When I get done with the NDT Technologies Certificate Program will I be certified?

You will be well on your way, but you will not be immediately certified. After you complete the NDT Technologies Certificate Program, you will have the required education to become certified, then you will need on-the-job training hours. AINDT works with you to be placed and employed with a great company. After the appropriate amount of on-the-job NDT training experience hours you receive while working, you will be given exams to become certified in the various NDT methods by your employer.

What is the difference between a licensed private career school and the community college?

The American Institute of Nondestructive Testing (AINDT) is a private career school that offers a certificate program. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has licensed AINDT as a private career school.

A private career school like AINDT teaches people how to get into a specific career. Instructors at AINDT teach you job specific knowledge you need to succeed in the field of nondestructive testing. That's one of the reasons we are able to get people trained affordably, properly and more quickly than a traditional trade school.

At a community college there may be courses you may have to take before you even get into your career coursework. With AINDT, we're just teaching you NDT related coursework.

What if I did poorly at high school or in a previous college life? Am I able to still get a career or a certificate in nondestructive testing at AINDT?

Absolutely. Our instructors are there to give you any support you may need to successfully complete your coursework.

We train and teach people who haven't been in high school for many years. Our coursework and training is easy to understand and done at your own pace. Once you complete the online portion of your curriculum, you will attend our Baxter, MN facility for your hands on training, where you will work directly with instructors performing actual inspections, recording results, and preparing reports. Throughout the duration of your certificate program with AINDT, you will learn the necessary information needed to be successful in NDT.

What additional costs beyond my tuition will I have with the NDT Technologies Certificate Program?

Costs not included in your tuition include:

Travel costs to and from our area and your daily food costs.

Once I complete the NDT Technologies Certificate Program, do I have to travel for work?

Travel is not a necessity, and office and lab positions are available, but there are considerably less jobs that do not require travel than jobs that require you to be away from home for a few weeks at a time.

On the road positions may include: buildings, bridges, pipelines, commercial jetliners, and shipyards. These type of locations are not coming to you, so you'll have to go to them. The wage in these types of positions is traditionally higher - you're getting a large per diem every day - which can make it more lucrative to be on the road.

Does AINDT have a payment plan?

The cost of our NDT Technologies Certificate Program is $12,045.00.

We made our NDT school financing programs easy and affordable with student loans from Meritize and with Income Share Agreements (ISAs) from TradeUp.


Meritize offers student loans that look beyond FICO credit scores and use individual academic history to enhance credit evaluation and improve loan options. Even if your credit isn’t great or you don’t have a cosigner, a Meritize loan may be within your reach. If you do have a cosigner, that helps you even more. As you successfully repay your loan, you’ll be building your credit.

A Meritize Loan Offers…

  • Use your transcript to enhance your credit and improve your loan options
  • Fund the full cost of tuition on your own merit
  • Choose affordable fixed or variable rates
  • Select the repayment option that works best for you while you attend school – making full payments, making interest-only payments, or making no payments until 3 months after graduation
  • Repay your loan over 3 or 5 years
  • Avoid prepayment penalty fees if you choose to pay your loan off early
  • Get access to Meritize Career Success Services for job and career support

Does AINDT have a job placement program?


As soon as you arrive at AINDT for your hands-on training our NDT job placement team immediately starts working hard to find an NDT career that’s right for you.

How much money can I expect to earn?

Our graduates start earning $40,000 to $50,000 per year starting out in the NDT industry. Graduates can obtain further certification and increase their earnings substantially throughout their career. Certified NDT Technicians should anticipate compensation packages to include full insurance benefits and substantially high wages.

Will I always have work?

The Non-Destructive Testing and Inspection industry has been (for the last century), and will be, a growth industry for decades to come. As the infrastructure of America ages, the need for evaluation and advanced examination techniques increases. NDT and Inspection are not job avenues. They are careers.