Dimensional inspectors are a type of specialized quality control inspector responsible for inspecting product dimensions using a variety of methods and tools to ensure they meet proper specifications. Tools that such inspectors may need to utilize include rulers, calipers, gauges, or micrometers.
Like other types of quality control inspectors, dimensional inspectors work full-time, primarily during business days. Some evening or weekend hours may be required of inspectors new to the field. Their work hours are split between an office, where they write their reports, and on location, wherever the inspections have been scheduled. Inspectors may be exposed to some risk factors; in order to protect themselves from injury or illness, specific clothing and protective gear may be required. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary of quality control inspectors is $36,000 as of May 2015.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or GED required; no college degree necessary|
|Experience||At least 2 years of experience in the quality control field|
|Certification||Certification, such as through the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, is preferred|
|Key Skills||Strong written and verbal communication skills, self-directed, detail-oriented, ability to read blueprints and engineering drawings, hand tool inspection skills, knowledge of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) processes, welding and statistical process controls experience|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$36,000|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Earn a High School Diploma
A high school diploma or GED is necessary for employment as a dimensional inspector. Since employers generally prefer dimensional inspectors with strong math and computer skills, students can prepare for their careers by taking additional math courses and honing their computer skills.
Taking a training course is also a good way to prepare for this career. Organizations such as Applied Technical Services offer nondestructive testing (NDT) training courses that provide knowledge in a variety of testing methods, like magnetic particle, ultrasonic, and visual inspection testing. These programs can be valuable for aspiring dimensional inspectors.
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Gain Work Experience
Professional experience as a quality control inspector in the manufacturing industry can provide the skills and knowledge necessary for a career as a dimensional inspector. Employers may look for candidates with prior experience in geometrical dimensioning and tolerancing and various aspects of inspecting and NDE processes. Employers may also look for candidates with statistical process control experience and knowledge of specific quality management system and safety procedures.
Specifically learning about the tools and equipment of dimensional inspecting is also vital to becoming an dimensional inspector. Dimensional inspectors often use measuring instruments like depth and bore gauges, calipers, and micrometers as well as coordinate measuring machines. Experience with these tools may help inspectors stand out from the competition when seeking employment.
Certification isn't a requirement, but some employers prefer it. The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), for instance, offers a central certification program, though the candidate's employer typically administers the program. The ASNT also offers an NDT Level II certification program, which requires a minimum amount of training hours and experience as well as passage of certification exams. Level II certification lasts for 5 years, and then it must be renewed by retaking the exams or providing proof of related and approved education, training, or activities.
In summary, the process of becoming a dimensional inspector involves earning a high school diploma, taking an Applied Technical Services NDT training course, gaining experience as a general quality control inspector, learning about the tools and equipment of dimensional inspectors, and getting certified by the ASNT.