Industrial Radiologic Tech.

An industrial radiologic tech uses imaging technology to examine structures for defects in material and design. Learn about job duties and employment growth, as well as education programs and courses of study.

Is Industrial Radiologic Technology for Me?

Career Summary

If you were an industrial radiologic technician, you'd work in industrial settings searching for potentially dangerous defects in structures like planes, bridges, nuclear reactors, pipelines and railroad tracks. You'd use what is known as nondestructive testing (NDT) technology, which permits examination without damaging materials or structural elements. Gamma ray images, X-ray images, electromagnetic analysis and ultrasound methods are among the tools for examining, measuring and testing. NDT technicians are sometimes confused with radiologic technologists, who use similar technologies to help diagnose health conditions, but the two professions are distinctly different.

Job Options

As an NDT technician, you could work in the transportation, energy, manufacturing and petrochemical fields, as well as in the armed forces. Other job opportunities exist in the building, ship and infrastructure construction industries. You might perform regulatory or insurance inspections while working in the public or private sector as a consultant, or you might get a job in quality control in various industries.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

In April 2014, Salary.com reported that most beginning NDT technicians earned between $29,504 and $50,733 yearly, with a median salary of $46,506. Most senior NDT technicians earned between $55,493 and $79,403, with the median salary at $69,155. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that there would be very little employment growth for miscellaneous engineering technicians, including NDT technicians, between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Industrial Radiologic Technology?

Education Programs

You need specialized skills coupled with a command of physics and math to compete in this profession. You can find training programs in NDT technology at colleges, technical schools, commercial training firms and in the military. Most employers require at least an associate's degree for hiring, but some companies do offer training programs.

Topics of Study

NDT technology programs are typically offered at the associate's degree level, though certificate programs are also available. As a student, you'd learn to read blueprints, measure the density and strength of different substances, operate testing equipment, analyze test results and write reports. Courses may include radiography, metallurgy and radiation safety, as well as government codes and standards. Algebra, science and trigonometry are also important topics.

Certification

After graduating and gaining work experience, you may be eligible for certification, usually through your employer. There are varying levels of certification for each NDT testing method, all with specific education, training and experience requirements. You must also pass exams that evaluate your knowledge level and vision.

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