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Rope Access Career From Start to Finish!

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Today is my 3rd day at NDT school (Ocean Corp.). I will be attending IRATA rope access the week after I graduate in May at Ropeworks in Nevada. I will be adding to this post as sort of a blog of som

Guest blogger today Many of you know me peripherally, but Manny and I had a talk today about how informative it would be if I were to introduce myself formally -- and introduce you to the other si

As I near my Level 3 assessment, I think back to the lvl 3's whom I've worked with and the qualities that I admired in them that I intend to adopt when I get there. The thing is I like about being

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  • Root Admin

Manny, welcome to the site and the forum..!

This is an interesting post, what we'd like to do is make it into a 'sticky' so that it will always remain at the top of the topic list. This will ensure the most amount of people can see it and (hopefully) benefit from it.

The time you are taking to record your efforts will assist others and we appreciate your time. I'm sure you will go far in this business, those with flexible, forward thinking positive attitudes always get on well - we're all looking forward to seeing you shine.

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The school I attend is the Ocean Corporation ( http://www.oceancorp.com/ ) The first two days were an introduction to the NDT industry and what seemed to me as more of a motivational seminar. There are 24 people in my class of which six will statistically not complete. Of the 24 there are two women (One of them is 18.) I am the only one interested in rope access. They think I'm a nut. Today we completed CPR/first aid. It's kind of a buzz kill when you get all stoked about NDT school, and get rolling with the first aid first. Makes sense though. The next ten days are HAZMAT. Then we get to get started on the real NDT stuff. I can't wait. Later I'll throw up some of the numbers and salaries they threw at us and you can tell me if it's hype, or if the numbers look realistic.

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These are the books. I wonder how many other schools use these books since they are from ASNT.

As far as salaries coming out of school, we were told that a stump coming out of the Ocean Corp. will make about 50k, and some who go into the nuclear field may make as much as 100k first year. I find myself to be a bit skeptical, but I am optimistic -- I am a hard worker and intelligent, and think that I will have a good career even if those numbers are inflated. Those numbers are not rope access NDT numbers. What are some of the realistic numbers I can expect if I am adding ropes to the equation?

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Learning in HAZMAT classes about a thousand ways to die from different kinds of exposure has made me look at alot of things differently. Today we did fit test for respirators.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So we skipped "Materials and Processing" and went straight into VT. (Visual Testing) Did you know there is a company that has great welders that do bad welds for training guys like us? I'll post some pictures of what we get to inspect tomorrow in lab. After VT comes welding THEN Materials and Processing...go figure.

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  • Root Admin

Those welders you mention Manny are very skilled and very sneaky, they know the exact places to put those anomalies. They put them right on the very edges of where you would expect them, they also put in very fine anomalies that could *appear* to be spurious. You need to keep your wits about you and treat them all carefully (just like you'd do in real life).

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So here are the pictures I spoke of. In the example I had, I found an .25" undercut starting from the reference edge at a depth of 1/64". The example also had excessive weld splatter 2.8" from the reference edge with a length of 1.25". Another flaw I found was excessive root concavity that measured only 1/32 of an inch with a depth of 1/64" at a length of 1/8". Apparently, like the admin. here said, there are some flaws included in these examples that can be tricky. We have already had two students drop out of the program. Tomorrow we continue VT with welding codes and diagram interpertation.

(For those reading this who are noobs like me, definitions for the underlined words can be found here:)

http://www.mig-welders-tig-welder.com/weld...definitions.htm

The picture of the plate here is not the example I had. I took the pictures after the fact.

Also, Tom Anderson is a cool cat to learn from. (Bonus points?)

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Manny, I have never been interested in NDT, even when it looked like the way to take my RA Career. Luckily I had no need for it when I was working in RA.

I admire your enthusiasm for the job and it's great to see someone who is genuine in placing posts here that will undoubtedly help others.

Well done mate, and keep 'em coming!

NDT (from what I see) when done on Ropes (opinion) is pretty boring once you have a grasp of the NDT side and the Ropes, but I guess when your reasonably new at one or the other it puts a different perspective on the work...

Anyway, good luck with the rest of things you get up to and I wish you all the success.

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Thank you. I hope to learn other aspects of the rope access industry as my main intent is to be a rope access tech. first, and an NDT tech to support it.

Manny, I have never been interested in NDT, even when it looked like the way to take my RA Career. Luckily I had no need for it when I was working in RA.

I admire your enthusiasm for the job and it's great to see someone who is genuine in placing posts here that will undoubtedly help others.

Well done mate, and keep 'em coming!

NDT (from what I see) when done on Ropes (opinion) is pretty boring once you have a grasp of the NDT side and the Ropes, but I guess when your reasonably new at one or the other it puts a different perspective on the work...

Anyway, good luck with the rest of things you get up to and I wish you all the success.

Edited by elitewc
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I took the VT test today whilst being very sick. I'm a little dissappointed that I didn't score the highest, but I am sick and I wanted to really just be in bed. Kudos to Don who beat my score. He's a worthy opponent and a cool dude. Looks like we are going to have "Materials and Processes" first and then start welding on Thursday. Now I'm off to bed to try to whip this crud before class tomorrow. I'm glad I had tonight off.

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Now to give you a little more on this VT stuff...

The idea of VT is quite simple. FOLLOW THE CODE. Everything that you need to examine, and the parameters in which you test things is very exact in the code, but is subjective in it's application. The VT class focused in Section XI for Nuclear Power Plants. We studied the different kinds of flaws and examination methods we would be using if VT is the area we end up going into. Basic weld types, symbols, and flaws were extensively covered as well as different kinds of pumps and support types. All in all, this will probably be the easiest of the methods we will be studing. I enjoyed the class and I feel fortunate that the guys in my class are fun and for the most part, interested in doing well as well as having fun.

And if you go to OCEAN CORP, watch for question 23. It is worded tricky and if you don't read it carefully, you will miss it even if you know the right answer :(

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I took the VT test today whilst being very sick. I scored the second highest grade and was the first one finished. I'm a little dissappointed that I didn't score the highest, but I am sick and I wanted to really just be in bed. Kudos to Don who beat my score. He's a worthy opponent and a cool dude. Looks like we are going to have "Materials and Processes" first and then start welding on Thursday. Now I'm off to bed to try to whip this crud before class tomorrow. I'm glad I had tonight off.

Good effort there, but it's not a contest. When you go looking for a job the company will not give a red cent if you came first, second or tenth in your class. They just need to know you have the bit of paper. Don't look at your colleagues as competitors or rivals. This can lead to bad feeling and isn't good.

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Good effort there, but it's not a contest. When you go looking for a job the company will not give a red cent if you came first, second or tenth in your class. They just need to know you have the bit of paper. Don't look at your colleagues as competitors or rivals. This can lead to bad feeling and isn't good.

The competition is all in good fun. I know it doesn't matter as long as I have the paper in this industry. But... would you rather have the surgeon who finished in the bottom 25% working on your heart, or the top guy? I just want it to reflect how hard I'm willing to work to do the best job I can, not to show off. When I start, I'm still going to have to start at the bottom, and I look foward to learning more from the guys who have been doing this for a long time. I really don't mean to come off as some know-it-all, or obnoxious "i'm better than you" kind of guy. Thats not me. In my class, we use the grades to motivate each other. Heck, I had 20 pages of handwritten notes that I made photo copies of for everyone to study with. (As did a couple of other students who are good at note taking)

As it goes, I'm the only one in my class who is going Rope Access, as the rest of the class thinks it's crazy to leave the ground.

I welcome any advice from you guys, and I hope one day to get to learn from those of you veterans that have invested your lives in this industry.

Thanks Waterat for even reading what I've been posting. :) Your comments will always be appreciated!

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How long is the NDT course you're taking? The only ones over here (UK) are a few days, or a 5 week course which is really far too much money for me to shell out with no engineering background.

It's an eight month school. We go five hours a day, five days a week. When we are done we will have level 2 academics in MP,VT,UT,RT,PT, and ET as well as HAZMAT first responder awareness, certification in first aid/CPR, and certification in radiation safety. Our first year in ANST is covered. We also spend a couple of weeks learning different types of welding. It is expensive, but with financial aid and grants I only ended up coming up with $3k out of pocket. So far I feel like the expense will be worth it as far as a career in NDT, as it will give me the opportunity to understand different types of NDT and to decide which I want to invest more time pursuing. We have students from all over the world. We have companies like Oceaneering and CAN here in Houston, as well as NASA and LOTS of petrochemical companies and they fish our school for new blood. The teachers are experienced, and so far, fun to learn from. I would recommend it to my best friends, but my friends are lame. I hope this helps Johnny. Good luck!

Oh yeah, we still have to put in the hours to be real level 2's, but then again doesn't everyone? :)

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8 Months!!! Sack that, but $3000 is a bargin. Once your finished do you need to do time under a Level 2 examinating stuff or do they let you loose in the big wide world?

We do get A LOT of hands on experience, and YES we do have to put in the hours under supervision to get REAL level II practical certification. I like the fact that we are getting introduced to the different NDT diciplines. I've seen guys on here asking alot about what NDT classes they should take. I get to take them all and when I'm done, I'll have a better Idea of which I prefer and I can apply to employers in any of the diciplines. I forgot to mention that we spend a good amount of time learning rigging as well. We are doing welding right now and I'm totally into it. I think that I'm going to take a couple of classes on welding to add to my certs. and give myself another skill to put on a rope.

The school I go to does sponsor international students and there are some in my class. If you live overseas and want to see TEXAS for a while and get, what I believe so far, is a quality education check it out. www.oceancorp.com

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So, we finished Materials and Processing and did a few days in class going over welding theory and practices. Today we actually got to go out to the yard and practice some of what we learned. I have to tell you, I really enjoyed welding today. I wish it was something I had picked up years ago. I did some Oxy/Acetylene cutting and stick (SMAW) welding. I think I did pretty good for my first time ever holding a torch or stick. In fact, I find welding so facinating that I am considering taking some basic welding courses after NDT school. I definately have a new respect for the guys who have devoted their lives to this art. (And obviously some sympathy for the welders whose welds I will eventually have to inspect.)

In the pictures below:

My teacher instructing class

Me about to strike an arc

My first ever cut

My first ever beads

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If that was your first ever stick welding in photo 4 you are doing well.....!

Since I play guitar, my hands are particularly precious to me, so I never previously would have even wanted to touch anything that could possibly cause injury to my hands. That being the case, I spent so much time avoiding so many things I am now finding to be satisfying. The closest I have ever been to a welding machine before today was passing one up at a pawnshop on my way to look at guitars.

Coming from you, that makes my day!

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Welding ended on a good note as we finished practical welding and then tested. I scored a 96. You know those answers you just know then you start to second guess and change your answer to the second choice and your first instinct was correct? (whew...)Yeah, I did that and missed a perfect score, but eh, I'm not complaining. I don't understand some of the guys in my class that take some classes so lightly. I mean, you choose a school. You know what is going to be required, and yet some complain that things like Welding, Materials and Processes, First Aid, Hazmat, ect., are a waste of time and just want to get to the "good stuff" like MT, and RT, and UT. I mean we started Liquid Penetrant today and I'm already hearing it. I figured today, that I'm probably going to not pal around as much with those guys. (Not many really, but in a class of now 20, even three or four is obvious) I guess I find learning new things interesting. I am beginning to get a sense of how these things build upon each other, and really do find all of this stuff facinating.

Let me catch us up a bit.

We have completed:

Red Cross First Aid Cert.

HAZMAT First Responder Awareness Cert.

Introduction to NDT

VT I and II

Materials and Processing

Welding

Today we started Liquid Penetrant Testing.

Something interesting I found out today.

My school exceeds the required academic hours in every method we study.

As I understand it, It even meets or exceeds the requirements for mil spec and standards overseas.

Ah well, thanks for following along. If you have any questions or advice, I am always open to receive it.

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