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ANSI-ASNT CP-189 Interpretations

The following interpretations of CP-189 were issued by the SDC Interpretation Subcommittee and approved by the SDC. These responses clarify the intent of CP-189.


Inquiry 95-01

When an outside organization is engaged to perform Level III duties, is that organization to provide the employer with copies of the exam for the employer’s records?


Yes. When an outside agency is engaged to provide Level III services for the employer they should provide copies of the examinations that they administered, provided that is their policy. Some companies only provide resulting grades of examinations, while others provide a pass/fail as a result. The employer’s procedure on qualification should address these issues.

Inquiry 96-01

Does CP-189 allow limited certification in NDT methods if documented in the employer’s written procedure.


Yes. ANSI/ASNT CP-189 ASNT Standard for Qualification and Certification of Nondestructive Testing Personnel allows limited certification in any NDT method as long as the employer’s written procedure meets the minimum qualification requirements of CP-189.

Inquiry 97-01

In accordance with ANSI/ASNT CP-189-1995; when a company does not have an NDT Level III on staff and elects to hire an outside organization to perform the duties of an NDT Level III, is the ASNT NDT Level III(s) of the engaged outside organization required to take the employer’s Level III Specific Examination (for each method)? Section 6.2.2.

If an outside organization’s ASNT NDT Level III(s) is required to take a company’s Level III Specific and Practical Examinations, what authority will prepare and administer said tests on the company’s behalf? Section 6.7.


No, per Paragraph 4.5. The employer is responsible for evaluation of the outside organization to assure the services provided are in accordance with the employer’s certification procedure. The certification procedure should outline what the employer’s requirements are for approving the outside organization.

Inquiry 97-02

There is some confusion as to what “administration” of a practical exam really means in Paragraph 6.4.1 of CP-189-1991. Does a Level III have to be looking over the inspector’s shoulder during a practical or not?

It seems contrary to the way practical exams are supervised in the ACCP program. From what I understand of the ACCP GHOP, the candidate is given the equipment, parts, and requirements and is left to inspect the parts with minimal supervision and is graded based upon results rather than precisely how the individual performed the inspection.


Yes, per Paragraph 6.4.1. The Level III must administer (develop, proctor, and grade) practical examination in the method for which he is qualified.

Inquiry 97-03

I currently certify about 120 inspectors in PT, MT, RT, UT, and ET as Level I or II. I have developed checklists for practical exams in the methods I am certified Level III. We have Level IIs in our organization who have been delegated the responsibility of administering and grading written exams for our customers. Will we be in compliance with CP-189 if we use these Level IIs to give practical [examinations] to Level I and II candidates, assuming they use the checklists?


No, per Paragraph 6.4.1. The Level III must administer the practical examination per checklists as stated in Paragraph 6.4.4 for Level I and Paragraph 6.4.5 Level II.

Inquiry 03-01

Is it the intent of Appendix A that additional hours of experience in other NDT methods are required in addition to the minimum hours specified for each method prior to certification?


The intent of Appendix A is to allow an individual to use experience hours gained in other methods toward the experience requirements of a specific method. However, Appendix A does not require experience in methods other than the method for which certification is sought. If an individual is seeking certification in one method with no experience in other methods, the experience hours needed to meet the requirements for certification under Appendix A would be the “Total Hours in NDT.”

Inquiry 03-02

Does an ASNT NDT Level III certified individual need to provide annual documentation of experience? This assumes that the individual performs hands-on testing and not just oversight duties. How does ASNT interpret experience for Level IIIs in order to be compliant to CP-189?


No, the intent of CP-189 was that experience requirements for ASNT NDT Level III certification would be satisfied if the individual held a current ASNT NDT Level III certificate in the specific NDT method.

Inquiry 04-01

Does CP-189 allow personnel other than the corporate Level III to act as the employer’s certifying representative?


Yes, if the employer has developed a procedure in accordance with Paragraph 5.2.e that defines who is responsible for documenting the certification. The employer's procedure must however be approved by an NDT Level III designated by the employer, as specified by Paragraph 5.3.

Inquiry 04-02

1.  Where are the techniques defined, or to be defined, for each NDT method listed in ANSI/ASNT CP-189?

2.  If an individual is not going to be performing all techniques of a method, e.g., immersion UT but will be performing contact UT, would this be considered as a "limited" certification?

3.  If so, where is this to be addressed?


1.  CP-189 identifies the NDT methods only, techniques need to be defined within the employer's qualification and certification procedure.

2.  Designating a limited certification must be defined in the employer's qualification and certification procedure.

3.  Must be defined in the employer's qualification and certification procedure.

Inquiry 05-01

If hours in a specific method for Level II certification takes several years to acquire, can NDT experience hours be used towards the specific method hours to fulfill experience requirements?


No, the required experience must be met in the method in which certification is being pursued plus the additional NDT hours as specified in Appendix A. The additional hours required to fulfill the total NDT experience requirement may be gained in more than one (1) method. However, an individual is still required to meet the minimum method hours prior to being certified.

Inquiry 05-02

If included in our written practice, is it permissible to allow for the Level III examiner to extend a technician's certification for 30 days if extenuating circumstances prevent testing before the technician's certification expiration date?


No. CP-189 does not provide for extension of certifications.

Inquiry 05-03

Can an ASNT PdM Level III administer qualification exams under CP-189?


Yes, provided the PdM Level III certificate is in a method addressed by CP-189.

Inquiry 05-04

1.  What initial training and experience requirements should be used for Level Is and IIs in the laser method (LM) shearography? (Appendix A)

2.  Lacking the above guidance, does Paragraph 4.1 permit the employer’s NDT Level III to determine these requirements provided they are documented in their written procedures?


Since ASNT does not provide an NDT Level III certificate in laser shearography, qualification and certification in this method cannot be performed in accordance with CP-189.

Inquiry 06-01

An NDT Level III possesses a current ASNT NDT Level III in RT, PT, UT, MT, and VT and ACCP Level III in RT, PT, UT, MT, and VT with documented evidence of experience including the preparation of NDT procedures to codes, standards or specifications and the evaluation of test results. Is it necessary that the employer shall qualify him by specific examination for RT, PT, UT, MT, and VT?


Yes, Paragraph 6.2.2 requires that the employer administer the specific examination (for each method in which certification is sought). The written examination shall consist of at least thirty questions.

Inquiry 06-04

1.  Does CP-189-2001 require the ASNT Level III approving an employer's written procedure for personnel certification to be certified in the specific methods addressed by that written procedure?

2.  Does CP-189-2001 require the ASNT Level III administering a facility's NDT program to be ASNT Level III certified in all NDT test methods performed by the facility?


1.  No.

2.  No.

An NDT Level III for ANSI/ASNT CP-189 is any valid ASNT NDT Level III certificate holder. Specific method certification requirements are described in the document where applicable. As an example, practical examinations must be administered by an NDT Level III certified in the applicable method to ensure credibility in assessing satisfactory performance.

Inquiry 07-01

Can an ASNT Level III not certified in a particular method sign certification of personnel in that particular method, if he is designated by the employer as the certifying representative?


Yes, provided the requirements for the certifying representative are covered in the procedure for qualifying personnel.

Inquiry 07-02

Is it the intent to allow Limited Certifications other than UT and RT film interpretation? This is not defined in the document. Both Paragraphs 3.4 and 4.2.2 reference, Appendix B of this document, which is specific to RT and UT.


No, however, for methods other than those in Appendix B, limited certification may be used as long as the employer’s written procedure meets the minimum qualification requirements of CP-189.

Inquiry 07-03

The predictive maintenance (PdM) individual is identified in two paragraphs in this document: Scope 1.1 and NDT Levels 2.2.1, with no clear understanding who this individual is. In 1.1 the scope of this standard is to establish the minimum requirements for the qualification and certification of the PdM. This does not exist in this standard. Is it the intent of this document to address PdM personnel qualification and certification requirements?


Yes, for Level I and Level II personnel, see Paragraph 4.1.1, Table 1 and Appendix A.

Inquiry 07-04

If the employer does not have NDT personnel, but has PdM personnel, is it the intent of this document that there is still a need for a procedure for certification?


Yes, if the employer must certify PdM personnel in accordance with CP-189.

Inquiry 07-05

Does this statement (Paragraph 2.2.2) imply that the certificate holder (PdM) can perform the actions in 3.2 (General familiarity because of basic examination) and 5.3 for all methods not just IR and VA?


No, only the methods for which the Level III is qualified as stated in Paragraph 3.2.

Inquiry 08-01

Is the requirement and/or intent of Paragraph 4.3.2 that if an individual holds a current ASNT NDT Level III, the backup documentation including training and experience records need not be reviewed or retained by the employer to certify an individual in accordance with CP-189?


Backup documentation including training and experience records is not required. CP-189 Paragraph, Certification Record, states, For Level III personnel, a copy of the candidate’s ASNT Level III certificate. See also Inquiry 03-02.

Inquiry 09-01

CP-189 addresses the initial on-the-job training requirements. Are we to assume that the hours required for each method must be met during each certification cycle? Example: PT requires 140 h in the method and 270 h total in NDT for the Level II. Considering that these hours are required for initial certification, must we meet the same requirements each time we recertify?


No. The training hours shown in Appendix A are for initial certification. Recertification requirements are addressed in Section 8.0.

Inquiry 09-02

1. Is it the intent of Paragraph 6.3.3(b) that when a candidate is performing a Level II practical examination and the candidate certification will be limited to a technique (e.g. limited to dry powder yoke magnetic partial) that only one sample needs to be used in administration of the practical examination?

2. Is it the intent of Paragraph 6.2.4 that when a candidate is certifying to CP-189 from previous uninterrupted service as a Level III per SNT-TC-1A that a level III is required to perform the demonstration examination per the Level II practical examination during SNT-TC-1A certification?


1. No, Paragraph 6.3.3(b) states in part, “Level II. The candidate shall demonstrate proficiency … a minimum of two samples per method …”

2. No, Paragraph 6.2.4 states in part. “… The practical examination shall include demonstrations of candidate’s ability to perform required activity(ies).” Documented evidence of the candidates’ ability to perform required activity(ies) satisfies this requirement.

Inquiry 09-03

1. Is it the intent of CP-189 that the development of the qualification examinations described in Sections 6.2 and 6.3 be done by an ASNT Level III certified in the applicable test method?

2. If the answer to (1) above is no, must those examinations be approved by a Level III, and if so, must the Level III be certified in the applicable test method?


1. Yes, ANSI/ASNT CP-189-1995 Paragraph 6.4.1 states, in part, “…The employer shall be responsible for having an individual possessing a current ASNT NDT Level III certificate develop, administer, and grade Level III specific and practical examinations.”

Inquiry 09-04

Can an ASNT Level III who is not certified in the applicable test method administer a multiple-choice specific written examination to another Level III in that test method if he is designated by the employer as the certifying representative and that designation is documented in the company's certification procedure?


No, ANSI/ASNT CP-189-1995 Paragraph 6.4.1 permits delegation of administration and grading of multiple-choice questions for NDT Level I and NDT Level II candidates, if so documented. 6.7 takes precedence which states, “The employer’s representative who administers the Level III examinations shall possess a current ASNT NDT Level III certificate in the method for which the examination is administered and shall be knowledgeable and familiar with the standards, specifications, and products used or made by the employer.”

Inquiry 09-05

Appendix C: Sample Certification Form has a section to document education, including high school or equivalent. However, the pertinent sections of the document reflect no requirement for education or documentation of such (except for instructors). Suggest reflecting the requirements as needed to accommodate this aspect of qualification.


The individual candidate’s level of formal education is not a factor in the requirements for qualification and certification of NDT personnel in accordance with ANSI/ASNT CP-189 standards.

Inquiry 10-01

4.1.3 states “All training shall be presented by an NDT instructor.” states “possess a current ASNT Level III certificate in the NDT method to be taught.”

Does it imply that if an employer has an NDT Level III in direct employment he does not require an NDT instructor to present training, since the employer’s Level III has met the requirement of


Yes, Paragraph provides that individuals who possess a current ASNT Level III certificate in the NDT method to be taught meet the criteria as an NDT Instructor. References to an ASNT Level III certificate in ANSI/ASNT CP-189 applies to individuals holding either (or all) Level III certificates issued by ASNT, i.e. ASNT NDT Level III, ASNT PdM Level III, or ACCP Professional Level III.

Inquiry 10-02

Can the eye examination for near vision given in the middle or beginning of a month expire at the end of

that same month 1 year later? Example: If an eye examination for near vision is conducted on Dec. 15th of 2009, can the expiration date be Dec. 31st, 2010.


The term “date” used to establish intervals, such as “annual” in ASNT personnel qualification and certification documents is intended to be the last day of the applicable month.

Inquiry 10-03

Improperly formatted request.

Inquiry 10-04

Improperly formatted request.

Inquiry 10-05

CP-189 Paragraph 6.2 requires NDT Level III examinations administered by the employer as follows:

1. Specific exam: written exam on NDT-related requirements of specifications or standards used by the employer, e.g. ASME codes.

2. Practical exam which requires that the candidate should prepare an NDT procedure. (If the documented experience demonstrates that the candidate has previously prepared acceptable procedures using specifications and requirements of codes applicable to he employer, a practical exam is not required.)

Is it required from ACCP Professional Level III anyway to undergo the exams mentioned above?



Inquiry 10-06

Improperly formatted request.

Inquiry 10-07

Is it the intent of Paragraph 9.2:

9.2 Contents of Documentation.

The employer's certification documentation shall include at least a training record, certification record, an experience record, a record of previous experience (if applicable), employee's current examinations, and a vision examination record.


That these records should be kept in one file for each individual?


No, a filing system is not specified in this standard.

Inquiry 11-01

The State of California, Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect has jurisdiction over construction of schools and other state-owned buildings. They are now requiring a Licensed Civil Engineer to sign off on all of our firm’s nondestructive testing (NDT) certification documents. We feel this is an unnecessary level of bureaucracy, as per CP-189, and the ASNT NDT Level III is the certifying authority, and he administers the tests and signs the certifications. Is the state’s requirement in conformance with CP-189, and would it not require a formal revision to ANSI/ASNT CP-189?


There is no need for a formal revision. Paragraph 9.2/ does not prohibit the customer from adding requirements.

Inquiry 12-01


Inquiry 12-02

Will ANSI/ASNT CP-189 accept and recognize certification of nondestructive testing (NDT) personnel issued by ISO 9712 or EN 473 schemes? Under which conditions and terms?


No. As an ANSI standard, all requirements of the standard must be met, including paragraph 2.2.1, which states, “NDT Level III. An individual possessing a currently valid ASNT or PdM Level III certificate (see 10.1.3) or ACCP Professional Level III certificate (see 10.1.4) and certified in accordance with this standard. (See also Section 3.)” Reference to ASNT NDT Level III throughout this standard implies the individual holds one of these certificates.

Inquiry 13-01


Inquiry 14-01

1. If the responsible person is a Level III per a certifying body other than ASNT (for example, BINDT and certified to PCN Level 3, CSWIP Level 3, EN 473 Level 3, and so on) does this individual meet the intent of ASNT’s designation of NDT Level III, as is the case with ACCP Professional Level III?

If the answer to 14-01 is “yes,” then ignore (2) and go straight to (3).

2. Per CP-189 (2006), may a Level III per a certifying body other than ASNT (for example, BINDT and certified to PCN L3, CSWIP L3, EN 473 L3, and so on) be responsible for the administration and grading of examinations for Level I and Level II?

3. In case one or more part(s) of the examinations’ requirements (general, specific, practical) is/are performed by a central certification body such as BINDT, only the results of the examinations and not the actual examination paper are not released to either the test taker (employee) nor his/her employer (as is also the case with ASNT and ACCP examinations).


1. No. Rationale: an ASNT, ACCP, or PdM NDT Level III certificate is required.

2. No. Rationale: an ASNT, ACCP, or PdM NDT Level III certificate is required.

3. Not applicable. (This is a statement, not a question.)

Inquiry 14-02

If the examinations used to determine comprehension of training as required by Paragraph 4.1.1 also meet the requirements for qualification examinations as described in Paragraph 6.4, and the exams are administered by personnel meeting the NDT Instructor requirements of Paragraph 4.4, can the comprehension examinations be used to certify NDT personnel?


Yes. Rationale: comprehension examinations administered during training may be used for qualification examinations provided the requirements of ANSI/ASNT CP-189, Paragraphs and are met.

Inquiry 14-03

In Appendix A, Note C, it states, “The required minimum experience shall be documented by method and by hour with supervisor or NDT Level III approval.” While gaining experience hours, can those hours be documented by a supervisor who is not NDT certified?


Yes. Rationale: there is no specific requirement for the type of documentation records of experience.

Inquiry 14-04

In Appendix A, Initial Training and Experience Requirements for Level I and Level II, there are minimum hours in method as well as total hours in NDT for Level I and II. Is there a required time frame to gain these hours or is it at the discretion of the employer?


No. Rationale: there is no time frame requirement in ANSI/ASNT CP-189.

Inquiry 14-05

Is it the intent of CP-189 that individuals who meet the minimum requirements of later (or the latest) editions of the standard are also considered to be in compliance with earlier editions of the standard?


No. Rationale: each edition of the personnel qualification document stands alone.

Inquiry 14-06

1. Can an NDT Level II certified individual whose certificate has been expired for two years be recertified by specific exam per CP-189, clause 8.1.1 if the individual has more than two months (350 h) of documented experience using the applicable method over the five-year certification interval?

2. If yes, will the five-year certification interval of the new certificate start from the expiration date of the previous or from the date of the specific exam?

3. If no, what is the maximum time gap between the expiration date and recertification by specific exam?


1. No. Rationale: expiration of certification requires a new certification using all the examinations for certification, that is: general, specific, and practical.

2. Not applicable.

3. See the response to (1) above.

Inquiry 15-01

Does ASNT’s ACCP VT Level II certification issued through the American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) agreement meet the requirements of ANSI/ASNT CP-189 section 6.3, NDT Level I and Level II Examinations, for the Level II General, Specific, and Practical examinations?


No. ANSI/ASNT CP-189 is a standard and NDT personnel must meet the requirements of CP-189.

Inquiry 15-02

1. Per 6.1.4, are vision exams mandatory for an NDT Level III who regularly performs tests?

2. If yes, then can an NDT Level III approve a quality control or quality assurance manager to perform vision exams?


1. Yes.

2. Yes, in accordance with Paragraph 6.1.4.

Inquiry 15-03

1. Per 2.1.5, are employer provided training and contracted Level III provided training considered “appropriate authorities?”

2. Per 2.1.6, can “private” be applied to a company or an organization and not just to an individual?


1. Yes.

2. Yes. 

Inquiry 19-01

Does reading J1 on the jaeger chart at a distance of 12 in. satisfy the near vision acuity requirement in paragraph 6.1.1 of CP-189, 2011 edition?



Inquiry 19-02

Does reading J1 on the jaeger chart at a distance of 15 in. satisfy the near vision acuity requirement in paragraph 6.1.1 of CP-189, 2011 edition?



Inquiry 19-03

Paragraph 6.1.1, Near Distance Vision, states (in part) ... “near-distance acuity in at least one eye...” Is this statement to mean that a candidate with two functional eyes, who meets the acuity requirements with one eye but fails with the other eye and with both eyes can be qualified to perform NDE exams?


The CP-189 standard only addresses near-distance acuity in at least one eye. The employer should address any specific situations in their certification procedure.

Inquiry 19-04

Is it the intent of the 2006 edition of CP-189 to require 40 specific examination questions for the certification of Level II VT personnel?


No. The 40 question requirement for the Level II VT Specific Examination identified in Table 1 was an error and should have read 20 questions, which is consistent with previous and later editions of CP-189. An erratum to the 2006 CP-189 edition has been requested of ASNT.