Career Advice please

  • Career Advice please

    Posted by harry on 27/11/2021 at 6:37 pm

    Hopefully I can get some direction from this group. I am currently attempting to get level III’s for everything that I was qualified for in the USAF. I have MT, ET, IR, and VT left to get. I am also enrolled in college for an engineering degree. I wanted to know if its worth my time to get into NDE/NDT Principle engineer career path or should I focus on one method like UT and stick with only one and forego the degree.

    Bit of background:
    I get bored really easily. I learn very fast and when I feel comfortable with a job I usually move on to something else that interests me. I am not sure why this is but I found that in NDE/NDT having multiple methods helps me negate switching jobs if I can have multiple methods at my disposal. I was told in a job interview that my experience was too broad and not focused enough to fill a specialist’s position. I was also told that I am hard to place because of my broad experience, Advanced composites of F-22 to now Nuclear inspection. I have done IR, MT, PT, UT, RT, VT, AES, PAUT, Rotoscan(Bubbler), Surface Acoustic Wave fluid analysis, Advanced application ET, etc. etc.

    So I am seeking some career advice. I love the science and application of NDE/NDT but I feel like its a slow death focusing in on just one method. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Anthony Wohali replied 7 months, 1 week ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
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    Anthony Wohali

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    28/11/2021 at 3:18 pm
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    I understand how you feel. I have been a non-specialist for over 50 years but came to this from a different direction. I have a degree in Metallurgical Engineering and was working in a shipyard when the Navy decided technical responsibility for NDT should go to the metallurgical laboratory. The engineering degree has been extremely valuable to me! I have developed NDT techniques for new products and materials using RT, CT, NRT, UT, PAUT, ET, MP, PT, Microwaves, various types of bond testing and leak testing. I also enjoy developing techniques, preparing procedures, teaching inspectors how to use them, and then moving on to a new project. I have almost never been bored and have enjoyed working in the shipyard, ASME unfired pressure vessel construction, AWS and API weld inspection, radiography and CT of complex shapes such as castings, maintenance inspections of structures and used parts, raw materials, and more. My background has allowed me to participate in the design phase to help determine what and when to test by which methods and even participate in determining acceptance criteria. If you have ever been frustrated by some of these requirements in your own experience you know what a pleasure this is. It is true there are more jobs for inspectors than for engineers in NDT, but essentially the same thing is true of any career with multiple paths that can be followed. I was never unemployed from age 21 until I retired from full-time work at 69. There are always changes in technology, equipment, specifications and things that require NDT so the work has continued to be interesting. I am still working part-time for multiple clients at age 76 because people think they actually need me. I have been telling people I am not their long-term solution and trying to train replacements for me for several years. One thing I never expected to be important is that I realized when I was working on top of a domed stadium was that I could do a lot of my work from a wheelchair if I fell off and survived. For the past several months I have been working from a wheelchair, and people have been coming to me when I could not go to them. Now I can walk again but I’m not sure I should tell all of my clients about this. I can understand the point of view that very broad experience makes it hard to place a person in some types of jobs. To me the solution is to define the job you really want the most and get qualified for that. Engineers I have known working in NDT have had degrees in mechanical, electrical, chemical, material, metallurgical and welding engineering. Some jobs you may not have thought of include: Applications engineer for an NDT equipment manufacturer, work for an independent testing organization that works mainly in-house testing objects sent in by customers. These are likely to include CT, immersed UT and other fun techniques. Work in product design teams to establish what, when and how to inspect material as it becomes product in stages. Designing custom probes (for example eddy current and ultrasonic) to examine hard-to-reach places for maintenance inspections. Reviewing customer requirements for NDT before bidding on a prospective new job. This can be really funny or frustrating or both. You should also consider that it is almost impossible to honestly renew ASNT Level IIIs on the basis of points for more than 4 or 5 methods. There just isn’t enough time in 5 years. So you will need to be prepared to take exams every 5 years and some employers would only want to pay for the methods they need from you. In the civilian world, the certifications you need depend on the specifications your customers expect you to follow. I won’t start on that because you are probably tired of reading by now, but feel free to contact me directly if you wish. Good luck!!

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