Williamsport -- The National Science Foundation has provided the Pennsylvania College of Technology with a nearly $600,000 grant to support the development of two certificate programs and an associate degree program to meet the growing need for technicians in non-destructive testing, which uses devices like x-rays and ultrasound machines to analyze the safety of structures, vehicles, and vessels without damaging the object being tested.
The non-destructive testing education program will be part of the welding curriculum, and is funded by NSF's Advanced Technological Education program.
“There is both a high demand for non-destructive testing and a shortage of training programs,” said Bradley M. Webb, dean of industrial, computing, and engineering technologies. “We believe our initiatives will successfully address both of those issues.”
Those initiatives include two stand-alone certificates in non-destructive testing methods - radiography and ultrasound. Both of the short-term programs are being built to comply with American Society for Non-Destructive Testing Level II certification.
The college is also developing an associate degree in non-destructive testing and welding.
“Our review of NDT programs across the country didn’t show any with an in-depth examination and understanding of the science or process of welding,” Webb said. “Our degree will combine a year of welding instruction with a year focusing on non-destructive testing. Penn College will be offering a unique approach for educating new NDT examiners.”
The college’s 55,000-square-foot welding facility – believed to be the largest in U.S. higher education – includes a non-destructive testing lab with advanced technology.
It is anticipated that the certificate programs will be offered starting in the 2021-2022 academic year, followed by the associate degree program a year later.
Webb and James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding, assisted with the grant application. Michael J. Nau, instructor of welding, serves as the grant’s principal investigator.