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Become A Test Operator

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Working As A Test Operator

  • 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

  • $59,280

    Average Salary

What Does A Test Operator 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 A Test Operator

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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Test Operator Jobs

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Test Operator Career Paths

Test Operator
Test Technician Engineering Technician Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Electrician Foreman
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Phlebotomist Laboratory Technician
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Production Operator Material Handler Operator
Lead Operator
5 Yearsyrs
Repair Technician Quality Assurance Technician Quality Control
Lead Quality Control
5 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Production Supervisor Warehouse Supervisor
Logistics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Test Technician Field Service Technician Operations Manager
Plant Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Production Operator Production Supervisor Production Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Inspector Quality Control Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Inspector Quality Control Technician Quality Assurance Technician
Quality Assurance Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Technician Technician Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Assembler Electronics Technician Production Supervisor
Quality Control Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Repair Technician Maintenance Supervisor Quality Control Inspector
Quality Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Technician Engineering Technician Manufacturing Engineer
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Assembler Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Quality Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Forklift Operator Operator
Senior Operator
5 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Delivery Driver Welder
Shop Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Operator Technician Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operator Foreman Operations Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Test Operator?

Test Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

69.5%

Female

27.4%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

53.6%

Hispanic or Latino

19.1%

Asian

13.4%

Black or African American

9.8%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.5%

French

8.8%

Vietnamese

7.4%

Korean

4.4%

Japanese

2.9%

Hindi

2.9%

Tagalog

2.9%

Gujarati

2.9%

Russian

1.5%

Khmer

1.5%

Chinese

1.5%

German

1.5%

Ilocano

1.5%

Dakota

1.5%

Sami

1.5%

Mandarin

1.5%

Italian

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Lingala

1.5%
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Test Operator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.5%

Austin Community College

11.9%

Mission College

8.0%

Boise State University

5.7%

Wichita State University

5.7%

De Anza College

5.1%

Mesa Community College - Boswell

4.0%

Calhoun Community College

4.0%

Portland Community College

4.0%

Washington State University

4.0%

Evergreen Valley College

4.0%

San Diego State University

3.4%

San Jose City College

3.4%

J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College

3.4%

Ashford University

2.8%

University of Puerto Rico - Aguadilla

2.8%

Eastern Florida State College

2.8%

ITT Technical Institute-Austin

2.8%

San Jose State University

2.8%

South Texas College

2.8%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

18.0%

Business

16.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

8.3%

Computer Science

7.2%

Criminal Justice

4.8%

General Studies

4.0%

Information Technology

4.0%

Accounting

4.0%

Computer Networking

3.8%

Computer Information Systems

3.5%

Automotive Technology

3.3%

Management

3.0%

Education

3.0%

Mechanical Engineering

3.0%

Health Care Administration

2.8%

Drafting And Design

2.5%

Precision Metal Working

2.2%

Nursing

2.0%

Computer Programming

2.0%

Psychology

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

33.0%

Bachelors

29.1%

Associate

22.5%

Certificate

8.2%

Masters

4.5%

Diploma

2.1%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.3%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Test Operator?

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Top Skills for A Test Operator

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  1. Test Plans
  2. Safety
  3. Test Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Executed test plans, kept clear progress notes and used databases to enter and track defects.
  • Supervised Integrator Payload integration safety of flight in adverse environments.
  • Operated and performed troubleshooting and repair on integrated circuit test equipment leading greatly improved machine up time and production output numbers.
  • Entered test programs into computer, pulled shipping reports, calibration and trouble shooting of test equipment.
  • Performed manual assembly of electronic components into printed circuit boards.

How Would You Rate Working As a Test Operator?

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