Should I Become a Certified Mechanical Inspector?
Mechanical inspectors work in the manufacturing industry to ensure the proper function of parts and equipment. Day-to-day duties may include working with quality engineers, evaluating hardware documentation, inspecting products, measuring process performance, recording data, and preparing reports. Other tasks may include offering basic system support.
The majority of mechanical inspectors work full-time during regular business hours, although some positions may require evening or weekend work. Depending on the workspace where inspections are to be completed, inspectors may be exposed to chemicals, eye and skin irritants, and loud noises; precautionary gear and clothing are required. Work hours are shared between inspections of manufacturing plants and office hours, during which time mechanical inspectors write up reports.
|Degree Level||High school diploma; postsecondary training can be beneficial|
|Degree Field||Related technical field|
|Certification||Voluntary professional certification may be preferred|
|Experience||At least two years of experience is needed for certification|
|Key Skills||Written and verbal communication, teamwork, and management skills; ability to identify inspection mistakes, read and interpret blueprints, and use inspection planning tools; familiarity with quality terms and concepts|
|Salary (2015)||$60,532 yearly (median for all mechanical inspectors)|
Sources: Online job postings (January 2013), American Society for Quality (ASQ), PayScale.com (September, 2015)
Step 1: Obtain Postsecondary Education
Although taking college courses or completing postsecondary education is not a requirement for becoming certified, employers may prefer to hire candidates with some vocational training. Certificate programs for aspiring mechanical inspectors can be found at community colleges and vocational schools. Coursework is designed to teach students skills in blueprint reading, calibration, inspection and testing, technical math, and metrology.
Classes may also cover topics like applied technical mathematics, introduction to machine tools, and mechanical inspection. Some training programs can also offer more specific courses that include inspection of bolting and fasteners, tubing and piping inspections, valve inspections, and inspection results reporting.
Step 2: Gain Experience
According to ASQ, in order to be eligible for the Quality Inspector designation, candidates must have at least two years of experience in mechanical inspection or a similar field. This allows candidates to build a solid foundation for a career in mechanical inspection by gaining hands-on experience operating measuring machines, using calibration equipment, interpreting blueprints, planning inspections, and evaluating quality. Employers also look for applicants with experience in related areas, such as inspection and mechanics.
- Begin preparing for the certification exam. ASQ offers online resources to help certification candidates prepare for the test, including online access to the Quality Inspector Body of Knowledge. ASQ also offers preparatory courses and links to books that can help prepare aspiring mechanical inspectors for the exam.
Step 3: Get Certified
The ASQ Quality Inspector certification exam contains 100 multiple choice questions. Candidates are given four hours to complete the open-book test. Questions cover inspection and testing, metrology, technical math, and quality assurance. The exam is designed to gauge candidates' knowledge and comprehension, as well as their ability to apply, analyze, and synthesize ideas. The ASQ certification is a lifetime certification that does not require renewing.