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Become An Inspector

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Working As An Inspector

  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $68,885

    Average Salary

What Does An Inspector Do

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

Duties

Quality control inspectors typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints and specifications
  • Monitor operations to ensure that they meet production standards
  • Recommend adjustments to the assembly or production process
  • Inspect, test, or measure materials or products being produced
  • Measure products with rulers, calipers, gauges, or micrometers
  • Accept or reject finished items
  • Remove all products and materials that fail to meet specifications
  • Discuss inspection results with those responsible for products
  • Report inspection and test data

Quality control inspectors, for example, ensure that the food or medicine you take will not make you sick, that your car will run properly, and that your pants will not split the first time you wear them. These workers monitor quality standards for nearly all manufactured products, including foods, textiles, clothing, glassware, motor vehicles, electronic components, computers, and structural steel. Specific job duties vary across the wide range of industries in which these inspectors work.

Quality control workers rely on many tools to do their jobs. Although some still use hand-held measurement devices, such as calipers and alignment gauges, workers more commonly operate electronic inspection equipment, such as coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs). Inspectors testing electrical devices may use voltmeters, ammeters, and ohmmeters to test potential difference, current flow, and resistance, respectively.

Quality control workers record the results of their inspections through test reports. When they find defects, inspectors notify supervisors and help to analyze and correct production problems.

In some firms, the inspection process is completely automated, with advanced vision inspection systems installed at one or several points in the production process. Inspectors in these firms monitor the equipment, review output, and conduct random product checks.

The following are examples of types of quality control inspectors:

Inspectors mark, tag, or note problems. They may reject defective items outright, send them for repair, or fix minor problems themselves. If the product is acceptable, the inspector certifies it. Inspectors may further specialize in the following jobs:

  • Materials inspectors check products by sight, sound, or feel to locate imperfections such as cuts, scratches, missing pieces, or crooked seams.
  • Mechanical inspectors generally verify that parts fit, move correctly, and are properly lubricated. They may check the pressure of gases and the level of liquids, test the flow of electricity, and conduct test runs to ensure that machines run properly.

Samplers test or inspect a sample for malfunctions or defects during a batch or production run.

Sorters separate goods according to length, size, fabric type, or color.

Testers repeatedly test existing products or prototypes under real-world conditions. Through these tests, manufacturers determine how long a product will last, what parts will break down first, and how to improve durability.

Weighers weigh quantities of materials for use in production.

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How To Become An Inspector

Most quality control inspectors need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training that typically lasts as little as 1 month or up to 1 year.

Education & Training

Education and training requirements vary with the responsibilities of the quality control worker. For inspectors who do simple pass/fail tests of products, a high school diploma and some in-house training are generally enough. Workers usually receive on-the-job training that typically lasts for as little as 1 month or up to 1 year.

Candidates for inspector jobs can improve their chances of finding work by studying industrial trades in high school or in a postsecondary vocational program. Laboratory work in the natural or biological sciences also may improve a person’s analytical skills and increase their chances of finding work in medical or pharmaceutical labs, where many of these workers are employed.

Training for new inspectors may cover the use of special meters, gauges, computers, and other instruments; quality control techniques such as Six Sigma; blueprint reading; safety; and reporting requirements. Some postsecondary training programs exist, but many employers prefer to train inspectors on the job.

As manufacturers use more automated techniques that require less inspection by hand, workers in this occupation increasingly must know how to operate and program more sophisticated equipment and utilize software applications. Because these operations require additional skills, higher education may be necessary. To address this need, some colleges are offering associate’s degrees in fields such as quality control management.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers various certifications, including a designation for Certified Quality Inspector (CQI), and numerous sources of information and various levels of Six Sigma certifications. Certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase opportunities for advancement. Requirements for certification generally include a certain number of years of experience in the field and passing an exam.

Important Qualities

Dexterity. Quality control inspectors should be able to quickly remove sample parts or products during the manufacturing process.

Math skills. Knowledge of basic math and computer skills are important because measuring, calibrating, and calculating specifications are major parts of quality control testing.

Mechanical skills. Quality control inspectors must be able to use specialized tools and machinery when testing products.

Physical stamina. Quality control inspectors must be able to stand for long periods on the job.

Physical strength. Because workers sometimes lift heavy objects, inspectors should be in good physical condition.

Technical skills. Quality control inspectors must understand blueprints, technical documents, and manuals which help ensure that products and parts meet quality standards.

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Inspector Jobs

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Inspector Career Paths

Inspector
Operations Manager Analyst Compliance Analyst
Compliance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Operator Foreman
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Inspector Quality Assurance Manager Quality Manager
Director Of Quality
14 Yearsyrs
Packer Forklift Operator Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Packer Operator Laboratory Technician
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Quality Control
Lead Quality Control
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Logistics Coordinator
Logistics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Assembler Forklift Operator Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Quality Control Inspector Quality Control Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Inspector Quality Assurance Technician
Quality Assurance Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Operator Technician Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Material Handler Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Quality Inspector Quality Engineer
Quality Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Quality Inspector
Quality Lead Inspector
6 Yearsyrs
Quality Inspector Quality Technician Quality Engineer
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Assembly Line Worker Material Handler Quality Inspector
Quality Senior Inspector
8 Yearsyrs
Operator Production Supervisor Quality Engineer
Quality Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Assembly Line Worker Quality Control Inspector Quality Assurance Inspector
Senior Quality Assurance Inspector
9 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Numerical Control Operator Quality Control Inspector
Senior Quality Control Inspector
7 Yearsyrs
Assembler Technician Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Inspector?

Inspector Demographics

Gender

Male

58.8%

Female

39.3%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

61.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.5%

French

7.3%

Arabic

3.7%

German

3.4%

Portuguese

2.3%

Chinese

2.2%

Russian

2.0%

Mandarin

1.9%

Carrier

1.7%

Italian

1.6%

Korean

1.2%

Cantonese

1.1%

Dakota

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Hmong

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Japanese

0.8%

Thai

0.6%

Bosnian

0.5%
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Inspector Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.9%

Kaplan University

5.7%

Ashford University

5.6%

Community College of the Air Force

4.8%

Greenville Technical College

4.8%

Liberty University

4.6%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.5%

Henry Ford College

4.2%

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

4.1%

The Academy

4.1%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

4.0%

Houston Community College

3.9%

Strayer University

3.9%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

Troy University

3.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.6%

West Virginia University

3.3%

Lamar University

3.2%

Vincennes University

3.1%

Piedmont Technical College

3.1%
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Majors

Business

26.7%

Criminal Justice

8.8%

General Studies

6.7%

Health Care Administration

5.4%

Accounting

4.4%

Civil Engineering

4.0%

Computer Science

3.9%

Education

3.9%

Management

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.8%

Nursing

3.8%

Medical Assisting Services

3.6%

Automotive Technology

3.5%

Psychology

3.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.8%

Biology

2.5%

Precision Metal Working

2.4%

Mechanical Engineering

2.4%

Communication

2.3%

Aviation

2.2%
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Degrees

Other

39.1%

Bachelors

25.4%

Associate

16.6%

Certificate

7.8%

Masters

6.7%

Diploma

3.1%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Real Inspector Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Inspector 3 Arcadis, U.S., Inc. Highlands Ranch, CO Sep 03, 2012 $84,240
Fleet Inspector DFW Ground Link Transportation LLC Irving, TX May 25, 2016 $83,242
Civil/Catenary Inspector HAKS Engineers, P.C. Fairfield, CT Jun 18, 2012 $82,805 -
$87,000
Special Inspector Future Tech Consultants of Ny, Inc. Mineola, NY Apr 04, 2016 $75,132
Site Inspector PB Americas, Inc. New York, NY Jul 24, 2009 $74,968
Site Inspector PB Americas, Inc. New York, NY Jul 24, 2009 $74,965
Inspector Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 20, 2015 $74,255 -
$92,058
Sire Inspector Pacmarine Services LLC Houston, TX Nov 20, 2015 $71,594
Sire Inspector Pacmarine Services LLC Houston, TX Apr 01, 2015 $71,594
Qaqc Inspector J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC Houston, TX Jun 05, 2016 $69,000
Bureau of Explosives Inspector Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Pueblo, CO Sep 01, 2013 $68,165 -
$109,065
Bureau of Explosives Inspector Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Pueblo, CO Feb 23, 2015 $68,165 -
$109,065
Inspector (Field Engineer: Construction Management Aecom Technical Services, Inc. New York, NY Oct 29, 2012 $68,065 -
$84,100
Inspector UTS of Massachusetts Inc. Stoneham, MA Jan 24, 2016 $65,156
Special Inspector Municipal Testing Laboratory, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Apr 01, 2015 $65,000
Site Inspector IH Engineers, PC Princeton, NJ Dec 01, 2014 $63,570
Special Inspector AEIS LLC Rahway, NJ Sep 25, 2014 $62,610
Inspector IV Intertek USA, Inc. Harvey, LA Oct 31, 2016 $61,208 -
$62,438
Special Inspector Municipal Testing Laboratory, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Sep 05, 2015 $61,006
Special Inspector Municipal Testing Laboratory, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Oct 01, 2015 $61,006
Inspector (Civil Engineering) PB Americas, Inc. New York, NY Sep 17, 2010 $57,200
Qaqc Inspector J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC Houston, TX Sep 05, 2013 $57,000
Inspector (Civil Engineer) Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Baltimore, MD Oct 01, 2011 $56,555 -
$77,000
Masonary Inspector Cornerstone Architects New York, NY Nov 30, 2011 $55,681
Qaqc Inspector J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC Houston, TX Sep 05, 2013 $55,000
Staff Inspector Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc. Viroqua, WI Mar 14, 2013 $50,839
Staff Inspector Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc. Viroqua, WI Feb 01, 2013 $50,839
Staff Inspector Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc. Viroqua, WI Mar 30, 2011 $43,827

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Top Skills for An Inspector

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  1. Magnetic Particle
  2. Safety Standards
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Contributed expertise in the utilization of magnetic particle inspection and dielectric test inspection techniques for telephone bucket trucks.
  • Inspected automotive vehicles to ensure compliance with governmental regulations and safety standards.
  • Contacted and scheduled site visits evaluating and if necessary correcting safety procedures to assure safe working conditions for life and property.
  • Performed regulatory and technical compliance inspections of facilities with state permits and/or those impacted by federal or state regulations.
  • Traveled to different sites to inspect parts for small and large factories such as GM, and Chrysler.

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Top Inspector Employers

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