Personnel Certification For Non-Destructive Testing (PCN)

Personnel Certification For Non-Destructive Testing (PCN)

Personnel Certification in Non-Destructive Testing

The PCN scheme, an internationally recognized scheme for the certification competence of NDT personnel, is accredited as meeting the requirements of European Standards EN 45013 and EN473, and international standard ISO 9712. In addition, the aerospace sector examinations meet the requirement of EN 4179. Certificates of competence are valid for five years from issue, following a demonstration which includes specific periods of training and experience and a thoroughly searching independent examination. The scheme offers three levels of certification specific to industry sectors.

The British Institute of NDT is the professional institute for all those engaged in non-destructive testing and condition monitoring. It is concerned with the education and training of its members, and the advancement of the science and practice of the subject. Over its 50 years, the Institute has established itself as one of the country’s leading engineering institutions, and has achieved Nominated Body status with the Engineering Council. The object of the Institute is to promote and advance the science and practice of non-destructive testing, condition monitoring, diagnostic engineering and all other materials and quality testing disciplines. In achieving this aim, the Institute, which employs a permanent Secretariat at its Northampton headquarters, relies on the support of personnel, companies and other organizations in the NDT industry.

Levels of qualification

See EN 473 for a full description for levels of competence.

Level 1

This level qualifies personnel to carry out NDT operations according to written instructions under the supervision of a Level 2 or Level 3 person. A Level 1 person has demonstrated competence to:

  1. set up equipment and carry out tests;
  2. record and classify the results in terms of written criteria.

Level 2

This level qualifies personnel to perform and direct NDT according to established or recognized procedures and has demonstrated competence to:

  1. Choose the technique for the test method used;
  2. Perform and supervise the test;
  3. Interpret, evaluate and report results according to applicable standards, codes or specifications;
  4. Define the limitations of the testing method for which the qualification covers;
  5. Understand and transform NDT standards and specifications into practical testing instructions adapted to the actual working conditions;

Level 3

This level qualifies personnel to direct any NDT operation for which they are certificated and:

  1. assume full responsibility for a test facility and staff;
  2. Establish and/or validate NDT instructions or procedures;
  3. Interpret codes, standards, specifications and procedures;
  4. Designate the particular test methods, techniques and procedures to be used.

Pre-examination requirements

Level 1 and Level 2

There are mandatory minimum pre-approval training requirements which are given in the PCN requirements documents. Pre-examination training courses must be validated by The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing and need to cover the syllabus over a designated minimum number of hours. Documented in-house training may account for up to one third of the required training hours. The candidate also has to demonstrate practical experience in line with the requirements of PCN.

Level 3

The candidates have two access routes available which are shown in the PCN requirements documents. Both training and experience requirements depend upon academic background. Note: A mature candidate route is available.


The examination consist of general theory, specific theory and practical parts depending on level and type of examination. By holding other PCN qualification, candidates maybe eligible for exemptions. Following an examination, a result notice will be issued, this counts are evidence of PCN certification for a period of 42 days. The certificate will follow the result notice within 21 days. Where the candidates is unsuccessfully, one retest maybe allowed providing the percentage grades are not lower than the grades required by PCN