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Friday, October 8, 2010

Thinking Outside of the Box - Unique College Majors

Every week I will feature a "unique" college major offered at a college in MN or surrounding states. I think it's important to think outside of the box of the typical majors I hear that students are interested in obtaining.

This week: Nondestructive Testing Technology offered at Ridgewater College.
- Length of the program: 2 years
- Typical Career Name: Civil Engineer or Quality Control Inspector
- What do I do with this? Think of the 35W bridge collapse back in August of 2007. Many "inspectors" of the bridge were people with this time of college major. They needed to study the debris to find out what went wrong and how to avoid this type of catastrophe again.
- Things to know: Nondestructive Testing programs may be part of larger Quality Control programs. Nondestructive Testing may sometimes be called nondestructive inspection or nondestructive evaluation. Nondestructive testing may use some equipment that is used for medical purposes, but is a separate field. You need good communications skills to succeed in this field. A writing course, and probably a public speaking course, should be part of your program even if they are not required. Consider taking some business courses. In this field you work closely with management, so it helps to be able to speak that language. In addition, the skills you learn in these courses may later help you make a career shift into management. You may want to become certified by a professional organization, as it will improve your job prospects. Plan on doing this after you get some work experience. You probably will need to get some additional specialized training before you take the certification examination. The good news is that often your employer will pay for you to get this training.
- Approximate starting wage: $25 per hour or $52,000 a year (pretty good for a two year degree and fresh out of college)!

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