How to Become a Quality Control Analyst: Career Roadmap
Research the requirements to become a quality control analyst. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a quality control analyst.
Do I Want to Be a Quality Control Analyst?
Quality control analysts test materials and finished goods to ensure that they meet production standards. After testing these products, they might reject items not meeting standards, report on production quality to government agencies or company executives or recommend adjustments to the production or assembly process. The job tasks of these analysts closely correspond with workers labeled 'quality control inspectors' by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
These professionals might have to stand on their feet for long periods of time and sometimes work weekend and/or evening shifts. While their salary is below the national average, quality control analysts have a good job outlook; the BLS predicts that many jobs will open up as current quality control analysts retire.
Most quality control analysts have at least a bachelor's degree in the field. The chart below contains common requirements to work as a quality control analyst:
|Degree Level||Various, depending on specific employment* ** ***|
|Degree Field||Quality assurance, quality management**** or related field, such as chemistry or biology***|
|Certification||None required*, but voluntary certifications are available from the American Society for Quality (ASQ)|
|Experience||Up to 2 years experience may be preferred by some employers***|
|Key Skills||Knowledge of chemistry, math, computers and processing*, operation monitoring, problem-solving, writing and critical-thinking skills*, dexterity**, math and mechanical skills**, stamina and physical strength**|
|Computer Skills||Able to use analytical, database, query spreadsheet and program testing software programs*|
|Technical Skills||Able to use spectrometers, tension testers, ultrasonic examination and torque sensor equipment*|
Sources: *O*Net Online, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ***Monster.com job listings found in October 2012, ****Various bachelor's degree programs.
Step 1: Complete Required Education
Nearly 50% of quality control analysts possess a bachelor's degree, though according to the BLS, some positions only require an associate's degree, some postsecondary coursework or even just a high school diploma. Bachelor's degree programs are available in quality assurance or quality management. These 4-year programs include classes in quality management, auditing and planning, the fundamentals of statistical process control, customer service, Six Sigma methods and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) quality systems. Some programs require completion of a capstone project prior to graduation. Programs are available both on-campus and online.
- Take relevant vocational or high school classes. Courses in computer-aided design as well as the natural or biological sciences can help prepare aspiring quality control analysts for employment in the industrial trades or the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
- Complete an internship. Some quality assurance postsecondary programs allow students the opportunity to complete internships. These internships not only provide students with experience working in the field but also allow them to network with local businesses. Having experience may impress employers during job searches, and networking may lead to being informed of potential job opportunities.
- Complete a research project. Many quality control analysts inspect products and production methods to ensure that the best methods are being used and best quality achieved. Performing this job tasks requires researching potential methods and outcomes. Completing a research project as part of an educational program provides experience in this area.
Step 2: Begin Working as an Analyst
Many quality control analyst positions do not require experience. However, some employers may prefer candidates with at least 2 years of experience working in the field. Common job tasks performed by analysts include writing test cases and plans, calibrating lab equipment and maintaining accurate records.
Step 3: Earn ASQ Certification
The American Society for Quality offers multiple certifications to workers in the field of quality control. Examples of these certifications include the Certified Quality Inspector, Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Certified Quality Auditor credentials. Earning the Certified Quality Auditor credential identifies an individual as able to analyze a quality system and determine the adequacy of the criteria established for quality evaluation and control systems. Earning this certification requires passing an exam.
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