Mechanical Inspector: Job Description & Requirements

Mechanical inspectors examine mechanical units of industrial and commercial appliances and components to ensure proper quality and adherence to safety standards. Mechanical inspectors work in fields such as manufacturing and electronics, using specialized tools and computer coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) to test the quality of products. Read on to learn about the job of mechanical inspecting.

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Career Definition for a Mechanical Inspector

Most mechanical inspectors work in manufacturing, where they run elaborate tests with specialized CMM machines to determine proper quality standards; because the work is similar, they might also be called quality inspectors. The equipment they test ranges from commercial kitchen equipment to heating and cooling systems to tanks, boilers, piping, or ventilation systems. They work together with industrial production managers to detect and target problem areas, and their job responsibilities might shift from quality control to problem analysis.

Education High school diploma as a minimum, on the job training and certification available
Job Skills Blueprint analysis, mechanical system knowledge, critical thinking, tool familiarity
Median Salary (2015)* $36,000 per year/ 17.31 per hour (for quality control inspectors)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* No growth expected (for quality control inspectors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Educational requirements for mechanical inspectors vary according to the field of occupation, but a high school diploma is the minimum. Since most inspectors work in factory or industrial settings, knowledge and experience in manufacturing technologies are highly beneficial, as is knowledge of special software and equipment associated with conducting testing in a specific industry. On-the-job training is the main source for knowledge in these areas, although certifications may be available from the American Society for Quality.

Required Skills

Mechanical inspectors are expected to read and analyze blueprints, manuals, verify measurements of mechanical plans, and test the ascribed capabilities. They require a basic knowledge of mechanical systems, critical thinking skills, and proficiency with standard testing tools, calipers, depth gauge, microscope, and CMM programs.

Career and Economic Outlook

The job market for quality control inspectors, including mechanical inspectors, is expected to remain the same between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median hourly earnings of inspectors were $17.31 as of May 2015. With a median salary of $18.61 per hour, the professional, scientific, and technical services industry was the most lucrative field for mechanical inspectors in that same year.

Alternate Career Options

Construction and Building Inspector

Average employment growth of 8% was predicted for these inspectors by the BLS from 2014 through 2024. A high school diploma and job experience related to construction are the norm for training; some areas require certifications or licensing, in addition. The BLS revealed that construction and building inspectors made a median salary of $57,340 per year in 2015.

Fire Inspector or Investigator

Investigators find the causes and origins of explosions and fires, while inspectors check buildings for fire hazards and code compliance. These inspectors and investigators have high school diplomas, work experience as police or firefighters, and academy training. The BLS projected average growth in these positions of 5% from 2014 through 2024, and reported their annual median earnings as $56,730 in 2015.

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