Quality Control Training Programs and Requirements
Quality control inspectors or engineers work in the manufacturing industry to reduce the potential for errors in making a product. They monitor quality standards for almost every manufactured item during each stage of the manufacturing process. Through formal education and on-site training in quality control, applicants gain the necessary tools to improve products.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
At a minimum, quality control inspectors need a high school diploma or equivalent. However, applicants seeking quality control engineering or management positions should have a bachelor's or master's degree. Some employers request applicants to have additional laboratory work experience with biological or natural sciences.
Quality control employees must possess strong math and communication skills, mechanical abilities and hand-eye coordination. They also need to know how to interpret blueprints, manuals and other data-based specifications. Some employers request that employees are familiar with basic word processing programs.
Colleges and universities offer several bachelor's and master's degree programs that focus on quality control and assurance. Master's degree programs train students for careers as managers.
Bachelor of Science
A 4-year bachelor's degree program in quality assurance prepares students for entry-level quality control careers in the development, design and manufacturing aspects of products and service. Students learn about quality management and standards, including ISO 9000 and Six Sigma. Common courses covered include measurement science, value-based quality, technical communication and systems failure analysis.
Master of Science
Students enrolled in a 2-year master's degree program in quality assurance learn technical and administrative aspects of quality control. Most students possess undergraduate degrees in quality assurance, biology, chemistry, bioengineering, chemical engineering or biotechnology.
Typical coursework for a master's degree program includes quality project management, customer satisfaction and benchmarking. Before graduating, students must know how to perform quality cost analysis, develop sampling plans, manage an organization and implement a quality assurance program.
Many quality control employers require candidates to be familiar with the specific industrial trade, although some employers prefer on-site training for its employees. Some employers also require candidates to know how to use specific inspection equipment, such as calipers, gauge pins and micrometers. Candidates should also know how to conduct internal auditing per ISO 9000 standards, as well other quality management systems (QMS). Quality control managers should have at least five years of experience and most employers require applicants to possess certification.
Licenses and Certifications
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers 15 separate types of certification for quality control workers. Applicants must complete a specific number of years of work experience before they can sit for the examination; however, depending upon the level of education completed, applicants can have some years reduced. To become certified, applicants must take a 3-5 hour examination, depending upon the certification, which covers quality systems, processes and philosophies. Certifications are valid for three years, after which applicants must apply for recertification.
Workshops and Seminars
Professional organizations offer 1-2 day workshops where quality control technicians can learn about safety and environmental impacts and regulatory changes. Annual conferences for quality control managers provide speakers who discuss project management, avoiding human error, strategic planning and technological advances. Private businesses also offer webinars, or online conferences, where workers learn about regulatory requirements and improving safety in the workplace.
Additional Professional Development
Those already working in quality control can enroll in additional certificate programs, which take as little as one semester to complete. Available to those who wish to learn more about a specific industry, students learn to improve problem-solving skills and reliability standards within that field.
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