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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Non-Destructive Testers and Inspectors (2261)

Non-destructive testers and inspectors operate radiographic, ultrasonic, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, eddy current and similar testing equipment to detect discontinuities in objects of various compositions and materials. They are employed by quality control, maintenance and safety departments of manufacturing, processing, transportation, energy and other companies and by private industrial inspection establishments.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read notes from co-workers. For example, they may read notes which offer co-workers' descriptions of work completed to date. (1)
  • Read e-mail messages from co-workers and customers. For example, they may read customers' inquiries about testing and inspecting services. (1)
  • Read memos and letters from co-workers and customers. For example, they may read memos from their supervisors to learn about matters such as incidents and accidents involving the mechanical systems they have been asked to inspect. They may read letters from customers to learn about the maintenance histories of the parts they are going to test. (2)
  • Read short text entries in forms. For example, they read entries in work orders to learn about the histories of parts they must test and inspect and to locate information about tests, inspections and repairs that were completed in the past. (2)
  • Read maintenance and inspection reports. For example, aircraft non-destructive inspection technicians read engine maintenance reports in which mechanics, mechanical engineers and other testers and inspectors describe damage to aircraft engines, outline steps followed during repairs and offer comments on final inspections. (2)
  • Read policy and procedure, equipment and training manuals. For example, aircraft non-destructive inspection technicians may read manufacturers' engine repair manuals to determine the types of forces and stresses placed on the parts they test and inspect. Weld inspectors may read their organizations' policy and procedure manuals to ensure they file reports properly and comply with health and safety regulations. (3)
  • May read textbooks and journal articles. For example, they may read articles in the Canadian Institute for Non-destructive Examination Journal to learn about specific testing methodologies and new and updated procedures for conducting tests. (3)
  • Read specifications for testing and inspection procedures. For example, aircraft non-destructive inspection technicians read specifications for engine fan blades that describe the steps they must follow while completing their inspections and provide detailed information about defects, cracks and discontinuities that fall within acceptable ranges. Pipe testers read welding specifications that outline safe and optimal atmospheric conditions under which they must use their testing equipment and materials when testing outdoors. (4)
  • May read regulations and codes. For example, they may read sections of reference standards completely when they are faced with new and unfamiliar testing situations. Non-destructive testers and inspectors who inspect large fuel storage tanks may read the National Fire Code of Canada and the Environmental Code of Practice for Aboveground Storage Tank Systems Containing Petroleum Products to review guidelines for testing and explanations of acceptable test results. They read carefully to gather information from passages that explain testing conditions and variances in interpretations to ensure they accurately report test results. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Locate data in lists. For example, they may scan pre-inspection assessment checklists to locate the types of hazards that are associated with particular inspections and the safety equipment required for these jobs. (1)
  • Enter data into forms. For example, they enter data such as temperatures, part and model numbers and dates into report forms. They may tick boxes to indicate completed tasks. (1)
  • Locate data in completed forms. For example, they locate test parameters and brief comments written by co-workers and colleagues in inspection report forms. (2)
  • Locate data in tables and schedules. For example, they may check work schedules which display their work hours. They may read posted schedules to determine dates and times for recurring preventative maintenance tasks like monthly vibration analysis tests and testing equipment calibrations. (2)
  • May locate parts and part numbers in assembly drawings. For example, aircraft non-destructive inspection technicians refer to assembly drawings of engines to locate fan blades, gas generators and other metal parts they must inspect. (2)
  • Locate data and trends in graphs. For example, weld inspectors may refer to graphs in welding standards such as the Canadian Standards Association W59 to determine allowable numbers and sizes of cracks and defects in steel joint welds for large cranes. Aircraft non-destructive inspection technicians locate data in graphs which display concentrations of magnetic particle solutions after equipment calibrations. (3)
  • May interpret and take measurements from scale drawings. For example, pipe testers may examine the angles and dimensions of pipes in scale drawings prior to performing ultrasonic testing. Crane inspectors may take measurements from scale drawings of crane assemblies to ensure that the placement of binding clips and welds are correct and correspond with actual crane specifications. (3)
  • Interpret photographs, radiographs, sonograms and other images. For example, aircraft non-destructive inspection technicians may review photographs of engine parts to identify potential discontinuities. They may scrutinize magnified areas of digital photographs to locate tiny cracks more easily. Pipe testers may interpret digital radiographs of pipe walls taken with computed radiography equipment to identify small cracks and areas of the pipes that may have thinned. Non-destructive testers and inspectors who test welds on marine propellers may interpret radiographs of blades to locate small discolorations that indicate cracks and faults. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write reminders and notes to co-workers. For example, they may write notes about testing procedures and test data so that they can remember these details when they eventually write reports for customers. (1)
  • May write e-mail messages to co-workers and customers. For example, they may write e-mail messages to office administrators to request further information about work orders. They may write e-mail messages to customers to confirm appointments for testing and inspecting activities. (2)
  • May write letters to customers and colleagues. For example, they may write covering letters for inspection reports. They may write letters to testers and inspectors working for other organizations to request testing protocols for new and unfamiliar inspections. (2)
  • Write inspection and testing reports. For example, they write lengthy reports to document testing processes, discuss test results and present their recommendations. They introduce and explain exhibits such as diagrams, photographs and data tables. They try to use language that can be understood by readers who lack technical backgrounds. (3)
  • May write specifications and testing and inspecting procedures for junior workers. For example, senior weld inspectors may write step-by-step procedures for testing the various parts of crane mount assemblies. They specify the types of testing methods that should be used, areas where faults commonly appear and other pertinent information. They must write specifications carefully and accurately to ensure the procedures can be repeated and to ensure that results are consistent. (4)
  • May write and co-author abstracts and articles for scientific journals. For example, senior testers and inspectors may write segments of articles that describe their personal research and experiences using unconventional testing methods. They rely on their scientific knowledge and understanding of testing theory to support their opinions. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May calculate amounts for travel expense reimbursements. They calculate amounts for travel in personal vehicles using per kilometre rates. They add amounts for per diem allowances, hotels, meals tools and supplies. (2)
  • May calculate amounts for testing and inspecting services in quotes and invoices. For example, they multiply their hourly rates by the times taken to carry out various testing jobs and add applicable taxes to provide quotes and invoices to customers. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Prepare testing, inspecting and maintenance schedules. For example, they may prepare schedules for the tests and inspections that they perform. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure physical properties using common measuring tools. For example, they use measuring tapes to measure lengths and widths of metal parts and structures and use thermometers to measure temperatures. (1)
  • Calculate dimensions using measurements of scale drawings. For example, they may take measurements from drawings of crane and aircraft assemblies to determine the actual dimensions of the structures. (2)
  • Take measurements using specialized measuring tools, equipment and methods. For example, they may measure and analyze sound and x-ray signals to determine the depths, locations and types of defects in materials. When carrying out beam ultrasonic testing, they determine placement angles to produce accurate testing data. (4)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare measurements and equipment readings to specifications. For example, they may compare calibration data and readings to standards to ensure that the magnets are working properly on magnetic particle equipment. (2)
  • Collect and analyze measurement and non-destructive test data. For example, they compare test measurements to standards, create graphs to identify anomalies and trends, sort test data in tables to identify data ranges, calculate rates of wear and failure probabilities and predict the service lives of parts and systems they inspect. (4)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate times for testing and inspection tasks. They consider the types of testing that must be performed and travel time associated with the work to provide time estimates to customers and supervisors. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers. For example, they may confirm appointments and job tasks with office administrators. They may discuss schedules, details of work orders, audit requirements and personal protective and testing equipment with supervisors. (1)
  • Discuss matters such as products, prices and delivery times with suppliers and service providers. (2)
  • May assign duties and provide instruction to junior testers and inspectors. For example, they may ask trainees to apply fluorescent liquid penetrant to parts during busy production periods. They may give instructions to students so that they can minimize radiation exposure during radiographic testing. (2)
  • Discuss testing and inspecting jobs with customers. For example, they may ask customers about the maintenance histories of their equipment and the criticality of jobs. They may discuss job specifications, site access and safety hazards so that they can provide customers with better estimates of times needed for testing or inspecting procedures. (3)
  • Discuss the technical aspects of work assignments and unusual job tasks with co-workers and colleagues. For example, they may consult engineers, technicians and tradespeople to discuss testing and inspecting processes, procedures and standards and to learn how to analyze anomalous test and measurement data. (3)
  • May present information to groups of customers, managers and students. For example, they present work plans for testing pulp and paper mills' equipment to the mills' management teams. They propose testing options, outline the equipment required and the tests to be performed and provide estimates of timelines and effects on production. (4)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Cannot complete testing and inspecting work because instructions on work orders are missing and unclear. They may contact co-workers such as customer service representatives and supervisors to verify job tasks and schedules. They may communicate with customers to receive instructions directly. (2)
  • May encounter cracks and other faults in their testing results that are uncommon and have not been documented in specifications, manuals and manufacturers' data sheets. They call manufacturers directly and contact their supervisors and other testers and inspectors to communicate the nature of the faults and seek their advice to adequately identify and isolate the faults. (3)
  • Detect patterns of skewed and distorted testing results. They review equipment calibration records to determine if their equipment needs to be recalibrated. They review the results of previous tests to look for inaccuracies. They may ask other testers and inspectors to review test results. (3)
Decision Making
  • Choose testing and inspection procedures. They consider the compositions of test specimens, their locations, environmental conditions and related specifications and standards. They vary the intensity, methodology and frequency of testing and inspection as more data is accumulated. For example, they may decide to re-test specimens using the same equipment under the same conditions to confirm initial results. They may decide to use additional testing methodologies to substantiate their initial findings. (2)
  • Decide to start, stop and delay inspections, tests and trials. For example, they may delay ultrasonic testing of outdoor pipelines because of inclement weather. They may re-schedule magnetic particle inspections of aircraft engine blades because equipment is not working properly. (2)
  • Choose standards and specifications to apply when testing and inspecting various materials. For example, weld inspectors may choose to apply the Canadian Standards Associations' W59 Standard when testing specific welds. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Assess the safety of workplaces and work processes. To assess potential risks, they review previous work orders and associated reports to see if hazards have been reported. They may verify details of testing and inspection procedures with safety personnel and supervisors. (2)
  • Judge the quality of test and measurement data. To confirm that data is sufficient and accurate, they may compare test results to data from previous tests, ask co-workers for opinions and read manuals and specifications. (3)
  • Judge the quality and condition of machine parts, welds and other specimens they inspect. For example, they consider the sizes and shapes of defects, the locations of defects and the composition and malleability of specimens to determine quality and condition. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Non-destructive testers and inspectors plan their daily testing and inspecting activities within the framework of production schedules and deadlines. Although their job tasks are often assigned by supervisors and managers who oversee production schedules, they work independently to organize a wide variety of testing and inspecting job tasks. They may be required to integrate their job tasks with workers who use equipment and structures they test and inspect. Their work is often interrupted by unpredictable factors such as frequent changes to production schedules, customers' requests and equipment malfunctions. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Non-destructive testers and inspectors may plan routine job tasks for assistants and junior testers and inspectors. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • May remember names of customers and colleagues to build professional rapport.
  • May remember specifications and standards such as service lives and wear limits.
Finding Information
  • Find information on the requirements for testing and inspecting specimens. They consult specification documents and on-line manuals. They consult co-workers and colleagues with specific expertise. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use word processing. For example, they write inspection reports to describe their testing and inspection activities. They may insert photographs and graphs to illustrate test and inspection results. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, they may use photo editing and image manipulation programs to enhance and enlarge digital photographs of mechanical parts they test and inspect. (2)
  • May use databases. For example, they may use databases to record data such as model and part numbers, test dates and times, operating statistics, testing criteria and coded test results for review by managers and supervisors. (2)
  • May use spreadsheets. For example, they create tables to collect, organize and analyze data. They may display test and inspection data as graphs. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, they exchange messages and attachments with customers, co-workers, managers and supervisors. They may exchange e-mails with supervisors to request additional information about job tasks and provide updates on work progress. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they may conduct general Internet searches for information on testing and inspection methods. They may search for and download resources such as specifications and fact sheets. They may bookmark sites for professional associations and manufacturers. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Non-destructive testers and inspectors work independently to complete their testing and inspection tasks. They coordinate and integrate job tasks with mechanics, engineers, technicians and tradespeople. (3)

Continuous Learning

Non-destructive testers and inspectors must learn continuously to keep their knowledge of non-destructive testing and inspection current. They obtain training in the areas of their specific testing and inspecting expertise and in testing specializations that interest them. They learn by reading textbooks in technical, theoretical, scientific and experimental fields and by reading articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the American Society for Metals Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention and the Canadian Institute for Non-destructive Testing Journal. They may attend conferences such as the annual meeting of the Canadian Institute for Non-destructive Testing and the American Institute for Non-destructive Testing. They learn from other testers and inspectors who may have different specializations. (4)

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