|Overview of the NMP Pilot Project|
The purpose of this Pilot Project is to have the CRCPD, through the G-34 Committee on Industrial Radiography, serve as the lead organization for the oversight of all activities associated with a national industrial radiographer certification program. Oversight activities include:
The committee's starting point will be to formalize the criteria, based on nationally-accepted standards, and develop a process for conducting the initial application reviews. The committee will then apply this criteria and process when reviewing a test case, and evaluate its effectiveness. The committee will make recommendations for evaluating certification programs once they are recognized, but because of project time constraints there will not be time to actually develop and implement any follow-up program evaluation activities.
A centralized or national program approach for accomplishing the recognition of states or associations as certifying entities uses a review group, such as G-34, as its "center of expertise." The group is comprised of individuals from State and Federal governments, as well as with industry representatives. The committee, by CRCPD design, is a ready-made group of these representatives - who collectively have spent many years in the industrial radiographer certification arena. These members are knowledgeable of the issues pertaining to certification because they regularly participate in the decision-making activities that surround it.
Central certification promotes the efficient use of resources and expertise. Individual states do not have to do independent reviews in order to determine whether to recognize a new state or ICO. Having comparable programs nationwide encourages the uniform acceptance of cards and what they mean. This helps to accommodate the mobile nature of the industrial radiography industry. Naturally there may still be some local issues due to individual state's laws and resources, but overall having a designated "center of expertise" to deal with certification issues assists in providing continuity, tying up loose ends and closing the loopholes. Eventually, the implementation of follow-up program activity evaluations will ensure programs are accountable and operating in a manner consistent with their commitments.
Currently, 10 states are recognized as certifying entities. Seven of the states (Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, and Texas) offer three types of certifications: radioactive materials only, x-ray only, or the combination of radioactive materials and x-ray. Two states (Georgia and South Carolina) offer just the radioactive materials only certification. Oklahoma offers radioactive materials only, and the radioactive materials and x-ray combination certifications.
Even though none of these states submitted a formal application for recognition as a certifying entity, all states have comparable rules that support the industrial radiographer certification program components. In addition, they have contracts with CRCPD to receive radiographer examinations for their certification programs.
In addition to the states being recognized as certifying entities, the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc. (ASNT) is recognized as an Independent Certifying Organization (ICO). But in contrast to the states, ASNT went through a very different process. Their recognition in 1998 as an ICO for its radioactive materials program came as a result of a formal review by an NRC working group. Similarly, ASNT's X-ray and Both certification programs were reviewed by the G-34 Committee and recognized by CRCPD in 2001.
No formal, follow-up evaluation of the program activities currently exists for the recognized states or for ASNT. This also underscores the importance of the project in exploring a centralized certification forum, which will contribute to the credibility of certification programs nationwide.