Quality technicians ensure products meet the required quality standards before they are sold to consumers. A high school diploma or equivalent is required and on-the-job training is offered to technicians. In order to advance, a quality technician can earn an associate's degree in quality technology and obtain a certificate from the American Society for Quality. The career would appeal to individuals who have a sharp eye for detail and who have excellent problem-solving skills.
|Required Education||High School Diploma|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training and voluntary education for advancement|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||6% (slower than average)*|
|Average Salary (2012)||$34,460*|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Quality Technician Job Description
Quality technicians are responsible for conducting testing procedures during manufacturing processes to ensure that products comply with quality standards. They're needed in a wide range of industries to inspect all varieties of goods, such as food, clothing, electronics, and healthcare equipment. While some examine a variety of items in any given day, many technicians work with similar types of products and are stationed at one workspace for long periods of time.
This occupation includes different roles that focus on various procedures throughout the manufacturing process. Depending on production process and types of goods, some technicians may be required to conduct quick sensory checks, while others perform thorough, extensive analyses. Material inspectors examine goods to find defects, whereas mechanical inspectors verify that machines are safe and working correctly. Others technicians are responsible for single tasks, such as sorting, weighing, or testing materials and products.
Quality Technician Duties
Quality technicians are involved in the entire course of manufacturing. They may inspect components before assembly, analyze trial products during development, or test finished goods. During these processes, they record and analyze the results in order to decide whether to certify or reject specific products. Some technicians use this data to solve production issues and recommend improvements. Other duties may include preparing inspection plans, training new technicians, and evaluating quality cost.
Education requirements vary by position and employer. High school diplomas and in-house training are generally adequate for technicians involved in basic functions; however, inspectors that conduct more complex procedures may need post-secondary education. An associate's degree in quality technology, for example, can be found at a community college or technical school. This two-year degree program usually includes occupational training courses, such as inspection techniques, statistics, experiment design, auditing, problem solving, and equipment handling.
Technicians looking to advance in this career may choose to secure certification from the American Society for Quality. Candidates need at least four years of advanced education or work experience in quality control. They must also pass examinations that cover a variety of subjects, such as tools, calculations, calibration, auditing, and inspection concepts. This is a life-long certification, and technicians are not required to recertify in the future.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of quality control inspectors is expected to grow by six percent between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary earned by inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers was $34,460 in May 2012.