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Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.Duties
Quality control inspectors typically do the following:
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:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Quality Inspector
Top Careers After Quality Inspector
Hispanic or Latino10.8%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix20.0%
Greenville Technical College11.1%
Henry Ford College5.0%
Sinclair Community College4.9%
Grand Rapids Community College4.7%
Lansing Community College4.6%
Macomb Community College4.0%
Eastern Michigan University3.7%
Shelton State Community College3.7%
Community College of the Air Force3.6%
Gadsden State Community College3.2%
Trident Technical College3.1%
Tri-County Technical College3.1%
Wayne County Community College District3.1%
American InterContinental University3.0%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Agricultural Quality Inspector & Process Coordinat||Georgia National Produce, LLC||Forest Park, GA||Aug 01, 2012||$56,493|
|Quality Inspector||Mint Group, Inc. D/B/A: Grain Wood Furniture||Norfolk, VA||Oct 08, 2016||$53,373|
|Fruit Quality Inspector||Manfredis Cold Storage & Distribution Inc.||Toughkenamon, PA||Jun 14, 2013||$45,000|
|Fruit Quality Inspector||Manfredis Cold Storage & Distribution Inc.||Toughkenamon, PA||Jun 01, 2012||$44,500|
|Quality Inspector||BZ Textiles, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||May 11, 2011||$43,555|
|Quality Inspector||Metro MacHine, Inc.||Englewood, CO||Apr 28, 2011||$43,160|
|Quality Inspector||Medin Corporation||Passaic, NJ||Jun 21, 2010||$40,446|
|Quality Inspector||Medin Corporation||Passaic, NJ||Oct 01, 2010||$40,446|
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