While you might qualify for a job as a quality control inspector with just a high school diploma, your horizons can be broadened if you have some industry-specific training, or if you've earned a postsecondary degree. Voluntary certifications are available and can also enhance your employment possibilities in this field.
Quality-control inspectors are employed by manufacturers in a variety of industries. They check completed products, as well as raw materials, to make sure they suit their employer's standards. They also work in teams to create more efficient production processes and lessen defective products. Educational requirements in the field vary, but inspectors might opt to earn an associate's degree in quality control technology from a community college or technical institution.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED and on-the-job training; individuals who have completed a technical or vocational program in industrial trades or the sciences may be preferred by employers|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary certification available through the American Society for Quality|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||Little or no change for quality control inspectors|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$36,000 for all inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary Information for Quality Control Inspectors
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), quality control inspectors - categorized among inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers - earned a median annual salary of $36,000 as of May 2015. Figures from the BLS also showed the top ten percent of workers in this occupation took home $62,150 or more as of 2015, while the bottom ten percent earned $21,140 or less.
Career Information for Quality Control Inspectors
Quality-control inspectors check items to ensure they meet required specifications. They find employment in many industries, from automobile to textiles manufacturing. They have input in every step of production. They examine the materials that go into creating products and check the final merchandise.
Basic duties of a quality-control inspector include testing, measuring, and sampling various products to detect any problems. In doing this, inspectors employ a wide range of tools and machinery. Specific equipment differs depending on a worker's industry, but may include handheld devices like calipers and alignment gauges or more complex electronic units such as voltmeters and accelerometers. They also use computer software that measures, compiles, and analyzes data.
After each test, inspectors record the results. If they find bad products, they reject them outright or send them back for repair. They also report problems to supervisors or managers. Finally, they work with teams of other employees to suggest ways of improving manufacturing processes in order to treat the cause of defective products at the root.
The BLS noted in 2015 that training requirements for quality-control inspectors varies with the complexity of the work. Pass or fail inspectors can often find jobs with only a high-school diploma. Other workers receive on-the-job training. However, the BLS also stated that as production methods become more sophisticated, postsecondary education in the field has become a more popular option. Some technical schools and community colleges offer associate's degrees in quality-control technology. These two-year programs familiarize students with the technology and ideology behind quality assurance, while also providing team building and communications skills.
Quality control inspectors sample, test and measure products to ensure that they meet specifications. They work across multiple industries, and a degree and certification can give you a leg up in the competition for job openings in this field. Employment opportunities for quality control inspectors are not expected to increase or change through 2024.