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Working as an Inspector

You probably already know from context clues that inspectors inspect things. Sure, the joke's not great but it's not inaccurate either. There are a lot of different types of inspectors out there. So what they're inspecting really depends on what type of inspector they are.

The fact that there are many different types of inspectors is truly a good thing for the career, though. While it means you have a tougher decision to make, it also means you have a lot of job opportunities to consider. The more opportunities, the better. We don't recall anyone complaining about too much job opportunity.

The attention is in the details for inspectors. Whether you're a quality control inspector, a parts inspector, a furniture inspector, or even a police inspector your job requires you to look at the fine print. Pay attention to the little things. You don't want to miss anything as an inspector, no matter how small it is.

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.

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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Average Salary$32,289
Job Growth Rate-18%

Inspector Career Paths

Top Careers Before Inspector

Cashier
19.3 %

Top Careers After Inspector

Cashier
12.8 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for an Inspector

Inspectors in America make an average salary of $32,289 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $48,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $21,000 per year.
Average Salary
$32,289

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Menlo Park, CA
Salary Range34k - 54k$43k$43,239
El Paso, TX
Salary Range33k - 54k$42k$42,322
New York, NY
Salary Range31k - 51k$41k$40,549
Danbury, CT
Salary Range30k - 47k$38k$38,190
Portland, OR
Salary Range30k - 47k$38k$38,105
Colorado Springs, CO
Salary Range28k - 46k$36k$36,300
$22k
$54k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Inspector
Inspector
Randstad
Randstad
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$26,08801/30/2021
$26,088
The City of Houston
Inspector/Tdo-D
Inspector/Tdo-D
The City of Houston
The City of Houston
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$47,29001/30/2021
$47,290
Railcar Prep/Inspector
Railcar Prep/Inspector
Road & Rail Services
Road & Rail Services
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$32,34901/29/2021
$32,349
Randstad
Inspector
Inspector
Randstad
Randstad
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$25,04401/29/2021
$25,044
University of Alaska
Custodial Contract Inspector
Custodial Contract Inspector
University of Alaska
University of Alaska
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$49,75401/29/2021
$49,754
See More Recent Salaries

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Inspector Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Inspector. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Inspector Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Inspector resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Inspector Demographics

Gender

male

56.6 %

female

39.0 %

unknown

4.5 %

Ethnicity

White

59.5 %

Hispanic or Latino

18.3 %

Black or African American

11.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.8 %

French

6.9 %

Arabic

3.5 %
See More Demographics

Inspector Education

Degrees

High School Diploma

39.9 %

Bachelors

20.0 %

Associate

17.0 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Inspector

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.0% of inspectors listed communication on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and math skills are important as well.

  • Communication, 15.0%
  • Magnetic Particle, 6.1%
  • Customer Service, 5.9%
  • Safety Standards, 5.2%
  • Safety Procedures, 4.9%
  • Other Skills, 62.9%
  • See All Inspector Skills

Best States For an Inspector

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an inspector. The best states for people in this position are Louisiana, California, New York, and Texas. Inspectors make the most in Louisiana with an average salary of $48,878. Whereas in California and New York, they would average $40,867 and $40,314, respectively. While inspectors would only make an average of $40,023 in Texas, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Mexico

Total Inspector Jobs:
51
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wyoming

Total Inspector Jobs:
18
Highest 10% Earn:
$58,000
Location Quotient:
1.67
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Texas

Total Inspector Jobs:
593
Highest 10% Earn:
$65,000
Location Quotient:
1.21
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Inspector Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ inspectors and discovered their number of inspector opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Abc Employment Holdings was the best, especially with an average salary of $31,831. Randstad USA follows up with an average salary of $30,662, and then comes ManpowerGroup with an average of $30,938. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an inspector. The employers include Intertek, Alchemy, and National Older Worker Career Center

1. Abc Employment Holdings
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$31,831
Inspectors Hired: 
291+
2. Randstad USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$30,662
Inspectors Hired: 
188+
3. ManpowerGroup
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$30,938
Inspectors Hired: 
146+
4. Stratosphere Quality
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$33,345
Inspectors Hired: 
122+
5. Adecco
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$30,606
Inspectors Hired: 
121+
6. Aerotek
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$30,689
Inspectors Hired: 
113+