“What Level Of Thermography Training Do I Need?”
Now this not so easy to answer.
Firstly I have to group training into certified and non-certified training courses. Certified training is divided into Cat 1, Cat 2 and Cat 3. For ASNT based training they tend to use the terms Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. While in the USA they do still use ASNT, it has fallen out of use elsewhere and is often not considered enough for various reasons. While there is similarity in the levels, the certification system itself has some issues. For this reason I would encourage people outside the USA to consider Level 1, 2 & 3 under the ASNT system as un-certified training. Cat 1, 2 & 3 are the industry standard for CM and NDT in thermography pretty much worldwide. All other training (1 day, introduction courses, youtube, online training) should be considered as Cat zero. This does not mean that they have no value, but it means that they don’t really count towards certification.
If you are working in Condition Monitoring (CM), Preventative Maintenance (PM), Predictive Maintenance (PdM) or Building Inspections then Cat 1 is the minimum Level that you should have. Other courses like 1 day introductory, youtube and online are not really enough, but should help in getting you up and running in the first instance, and can be of benefit before attending a Certified course. It is not intended that people rely totally on the Internet or introductory courses as their ONLY training exposure, it is just intended to get you off the ground. Many distributors provide people with an introductory course, and give the impression that this is all you need, this is incorrect. Many people have ended up in court defending their work, this is very difficult to do if you don’t have some form of legitimate certification. In todays world, everything we write in a report has potential to end up in court.
There are some industries outside CM and NDT where certification may be unnecessary, examples are furnace inspections, OGI and R&D. In these industries normal certified courses are simply not specific enough, and unlikely to provide the correct knowledge and skills required. Specialist courses have been developed to specifically build the correct knowledge and sills required for these applications.