School of Engineering Technologies

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This project aims to address the growing unmet need for skilled technicians in nondestructive testing. Nondestructive testing is used to test the safety of structures, vehicles, or vessels using technologies such as ultrasound and X-ray analysis. Nondestructive testing technicians help U.S. vessel, vehicle, pipeline, and infrastructure industries meet quality and safety assurance requirements, thus preventing injury or loss of life. The shortage of workers in nondestructive testing results from both high industry demand and a shortage of training programs. Consequently, the project proposes to develop a new Associate of Applied Science degree program and two specialized certificate programs in nondestructive testing. This curriculum has the potential to increase the capacity of educational institutions to provide classroom training leading to American Society for Nondestructive Testing Level II certification. Activities will also be developed that promote diversity in high technology careers by focusing recruitment efforts on high school students and incumbent workers from groups that are not yet well represented in this employment sector.

Innovative aspects of the curriculum will include: (1) a focus on weld testing, with an integration of nondestructive testing and welding curricular content in the AAS degree program; and (2) alignment with American Society for Nondestructive Testing certification standards to ensure the highest quality of preparation for graduates. The project’s objectives are to: (1) develop curricula for radiographic testing and ultrasonic testing certificates that lead to fulfillment of American Society for Nondestructive Testing Level II classroom requirements; (2) to align the two certificates and the associate’s degree program to create flexible academic pathways for students; (3) to enhance student learning with new equipment for teaching radiographic testing and phased array ultrasonic testing; and (4) to recruit and enroll high school students and incumbent workers in the new pathways to earning nondestructive testing credentials. A research study will add new knowledge regarding the effectiveness of the recruitment activities, including activities introduced in a summer camp and in a dual enrollment welding curriculum. The project evaluation will examine the effectiveness and impact of industry relationships, curriculum development, use of new equipment, and recruitment activities, with regard to the intended learning outcomes and alignment with the needs of students and employers. This project can provide a model for career and educational pathways in nondestructive testing that other colleges may replicate or adapt. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.

High School Students

NDT Summer Camp

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) involves non-invasive processes that allow technicians to carefully inspect and certify the integrity and safety of vehicles, bridges, pipelines, and airplanes. Hands-on workshops include welding, robotics, and more!

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Associate of Applied Science in Non-destructive Testing only program in the northeast

Everything from the bridge you use to the pipeline that brings gas to your home needs to be routinely monitored for safety and stability. Thanks to non-destructive techniques, certified inspectors can carefully identify defects in welded joints before they fail. In the associate’s in Non-Destructive Testing program, you’ll master the major non-destructive testing methods. Learn welding techniques in our newly expanded 55,000-square-foot-plus facility. And gain essential hours towards your American Society of Non-Destructive Testing (ASNT) certification.

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Teachers/School Counselors

In summer 2023, Penn College hosted an “externship” camp for teachers and counselors. Twelve Pennsylvania educators spent a week on our campus learning about the NDT industry, including engaging hands-on activities such as welding, ultrasonic testing, radiography, visual inspection, and much more! The program connected teachers from all corners of our state and challenged them to develop a project that links the content learned on campus to lesson plans in their own classroom.

Summer 2023

Incumbent or Displaced Workers

Careers in non-destructive testing are abundant! Penn College is now enrolling for a new, one-semester certificate in Ultrasonic Inspection (Fall Semester) or Radiographic Inspection (Spring Semester) that will prepare you for immediate employment. The new certificate will also allow for an easy transition into our NDT Associate Degree.

Have you completed or are you currently enrolled in a registered apprenticeship? If so, please take a look at our new A.A.S. in Apprenticeship Technology. This program will award a block of 39 credits to individuals who have completed a registered apprenticeship.

Project Evaluation

This NSF funded project has been externally evaluated to ensure project activities are inline with the NSF proposal and that adequate progress has been made to lessen the skills gap in advanced manufacturing.


Individuals with questions about the program are encouraged to contact Dr. Brad Webb, Dean, School of Engineering Technologies at or 570.320.2400 x4437.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 20000831. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

School of Engineering Technologies

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