Education Spotlight: Nondestructive Testing Technology at Southeast Community College

ndt3_mainSure, you could get your degree in math, or science, or engineering. However, there is one more exciting field that doesn’t usually make the average list of career options: The Nondestructive Testing Technology program at Southeast Community College in Nebraska.

The Nondestructive Testing Technology program is one of the most successful programs at SCC, with 94% of the 2012-2013 graduates finding work or continuing their education.

If you don’t know what a degree in Nondestructive Testing Technology even entails, or what it could be used for, you’re not alone. This niche specialty prepares students for successful careers in product testing, consulting, and inspection careers in engineering and quality assurance areas of industry. This position is absolutely imperative to the manufacturing industry, because it’s what keeps machines healthy, moving, and safe. In industries like aircraft and aerospace, power generation, bridge and building fabrication, electronics, civilian defense, general manufacturing, historical renovation, infrastructure construction, automotive, rail, marine, and large ship construction, NDT graduates are integral to the safety of the operation.

Their role in the company is to use non-invasive inspection methods like ultrasound, radiography, and more to look inside a component or structure and determine if it is acceptable for service. To put it simply, it’s the art of testing a part or object without destroying its usefulness and dissembling entirely. As you can imagine, this is in major demand at most manufacturing companies.

The faculty at SCC who teach this course are top in their field, with years and years of combined instructional experience. Take instructor Bill Wiley, for example. After getting his degree at SCC some years back, he became part owner of an NDT inspection and consulting company, and has several years of experience in the pressure vessel NDT field. Even while instructing, he serves as an industry consultant on a regular basis. Wiley says that his favorite thing about teaching students is the dynamism of the field: “I enjoy teaching newer and developing technology in the field of NDT. Over the past 33 years, huge changes in technology have taken place, and introducing students to those is self-gratifying.”

In this program, students will take classes like Metallurgy, Welding Processes for NDT, Ultrasonics, Technical Physics, Liquid Penetrant, Radiography, Magnetic Particle, and more. Hard work in these areas can lead to fantastic jobs and high salaries, as Wiley explains. Recent graduates also report an average starting salary of $19.75 an hour, with a high of $26.45 per hour. Those highly paid positions tend to go to students who work hard: “Given the competitive job environment of NDT, my advice for students pursuing a degree in NDT is to strive for the best grades possible, as those individuals tend to get first selection at the best positions.”

To learn more about working in this exciting field, check out their page, or contact SCC for more information!

photo credit: Southeast Community College via