How to Become a Quality Control Analyst: Career Roadmap

Explore the requirements to become a quality control analyst. Learn about the job description and duties, and review the step-by-step process to start a career as a quality control analyst. View article »

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  • 0:04 Quality Control Analysts
  • 0:39 Career Skills & Info
  • 1:19 Step 1: Bachelor's Degree
  • 3:07 Step 2: Experience
  • 3:24 Step 3: ASQ Certification

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Video Transcript

Quality Control Analysts

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. Their job tasks closely correspond with workers described as 'quality control inspectors' by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Quality control analysts may have to stand on their feet for long periods of time and sometimes work weekend and/or evening shifts.

Career Skills & Info

Quality control analysts must have good critical thinking, manual dexterity, and mechanical skills. Physical stamina and strength can also help them succeed in the field. Quality control analysts should also be knowledgeable about computers and processing, chemistry, math, and writing. The ability to monitor operations and solve problems are also key. According to the BLS, quality control inspectors should see little or no change in job growth between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, inspectors, samplers, sorters, testers, and weighers earned an average annual salary of $39,410.

Career Requirements at a Glance

Degree Level Varies depending on specific employer
Degree Field Quality assurance, quality management, or related field, such as chemistry or biology
Experience Up to 2 years' experience may be preferred by some employers
Key Skills Knowledge of chemistry, math, computers, and processing; ability to monitor operations; problem-solving, writing, mechanical, and critical-thinking skills; manual dexterity; stamina and physical strength
Average Salary (2015)* $39,410 (for inspectors, samplers, sorters, testers, and weighers)

Sources: O*Net Online, *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monster.com job listings found in August 2015, Various bachelor's degree programs

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Step 1: Bachelor's Degree

A high school diploma and on-the-job training ranging from one month to one year may be enough for some applicants to obtain a job as a quality control inspector, such as those who assess products on a pass/fail basis. Other quality control analysts may need an associate's or a bachelor's degree in quality assurance or quality management. Those with a degree in biology or chemistry may also qualify.

In 4-year programs, students may take classes in quality management, auditing and planning, statistical process control, and customer service. They may also study the 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.

Success Tips:

  • Take relevant vocational or high school classes. Courses in computer-aided design and 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 postsecondary programs in quality assurance include the opportunity to participate in an internship. Internships not only provide students with experience working in the field, but also allow them to network with local businesses. Experience may impress employers during job searches, and networking may lead to 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. 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: Experience

Quality control analysts do not always need experience to obtain a position. However, some employers may prefer candidates with at least 2 years of experience working in the field. Once employed, they may write test cases and plans, calibrate lab equipment, and maintain accurate records.

Step 3: ASQ Certification

The American Society for Quality offers multiple certifications to workers in the field of quality control. These 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.

Let's review. To obtain a position as a quality control analyst, you may need an associate's or a bachelor's degree in quality assurance or management, biology, or chemistry. Inspectors, samplers, sorters, testers, and weighers earned an average yearly salary of $39,410 as of May 2015.

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