Expanding Educational Opportunities for Nondestructive Testing Technicians

The demand among companies in the United States for skilled technicians in nondestructive testing (NDT) is growing at a steady rate. These technicians ensure the quality and safety of manufactured products in industries such as aerospace, construction, manufacturing, and transportation. Companies typically create their own internal training programs. The technician employees earn certifications that may only be recognized at a specific company or include only a few types of testing methods. A limited number of educational institutions offer courses or programs in NDT technology. To keep up with the increasing workforce demand for NDT technicians, the nation needs more educational programs that provide complete professional preparation. To meet this need, Lorain County Community College will collaborate with two national industry associations and leading employers of technicians to identify the required skills, student learning outcomes, and best practices for NDT programs. The project has the potential to enhance the preparation of future NDT technicians to meet the need in the nation's workforce. 

This project main goal is to develop the capacity of community colleges to educate students for jobs in the NDT technician workforce. The project will involve collaboration between Lorain County Community College, the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, the American Welding Society Foundation, and industry partners. It will build upon results from two prior NSF-funded projects at Chattanooga State Community College and Iowa State University that focused in this technology area. Both institutions will also collaborate to accomplish project activities. The collaborators will perform a job task analysis for one technician job level. The results will then be combined with existing job task analyses for the other job levels. This synthesis aims to create comprehensive competency models for NDT technicians. These competency models will be used to define the desirable student learning outcomes for an associate degree that includes stackable credentials. Educators, along with subject matter experts in industry, will review and validate these learning outcomes. A framework for implementing NDT courses and programs will be developed, documented, and disseminated. The existing professional development program, Weld-Ed Module 7, for high school, community college, and university faculty will also be refined and tested at Lorain County Community College. Approaches to promote awareness of NDT technology and career pathways will be developed and implemented. These strategies will emphasize the inclusion of underrepresented groups and veterans to enhance the diversity of the workforce.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
July 1st, 2018
ATE Expiration Date
June 30th
ATE Principal Investigator
W. Richard Polanin
Primary Institution
Lorain County Community College
Record Type
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