Quality Control Inspectors
Career, Salary and Education Information
What They Do: Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.
Work Environment: Working conditions vary by industry, establishment size, and specific duty. Most quality control inspectors work full time during regular business hours. Overtime may be required to meet production deadlines.
How to Become One: 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.
Salary: The median annual wage for quality control inspectors is $38,580.
Job Outlook: Employment of quality control inspectors is projected to decline 12 percent over the next ten years.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of quality control inspectors with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as a quality control inspector with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Top 3 Quality Control Inspector Jobs
Quality Control Inspector
- Cytek Biosciences, Inc.
- Fremont, CA
The QC Inspector will be responsible for performing a variety of work functions that include performing inspection and testing of raw materials and components received from suppliers, finished goods ...
- The Job Center
- North Salem, NH
Quality Control Inspector The Job Center Staffing is hiring associates on 2nd and 3rd shift for Quality Control Inspector in the Salem, NH area. This is a great opportunity for a temp to hire ...
Quality Control Inspector
- Accretech SBS, Inc
- Portland, OR
Quality Control Inspector EMPLOYER: Accretech SBS, Inc DEPARTMENT: Operations REPORTS TO: Director of Operations EFFECTIVE DATE: 08/15/2022 HOURLY RATE: $17-$22 DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
What Quality Control Inspectors Do[About this section] [To Top]
Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.
Duties of Quality Control Inspectors
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
- Operate electronic inspection equipment and software
- Accept or reject finished items
- Remove all products and materials that fail to meet specifications
- Report inspection and test data such as weights, temperatures, grades, moisture content, and quantities inspected
Quality control inspectors 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) and three-dimensional (3D) scanners. 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.
Work Environment for Quality Control Inspectors[About this section] [To Top]
Quality control inspectors hold about 557,900 jobs. The largest employers of quality control inspectors are as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||9%|
|Administrative and support services||8%|
Work environments vary by industry and establishment size; some inspectors examine similar products for an entire shift, others examine a variety of items.
Inspectors in some industries may be on their feet all day and may have to lift heavy items. In other industries, workers may sit during their shift and read electronic printouts of data.
Workers in heavy-manufacturing plants may be exposed to the noise and grime of machinery. In other plants, inspectors work in clean, air-conditioned environments suitable for testing products.
Injuries and Illnesses for Quality Control Inspectors
Some quality control inspectors may be exposed to airborne particles, which may irritate the eyes and skin. As a result, workers typically wear protective eyewear, ear plugs, and appropriate clothing.
Quality Control Inspector Work Schedules
Although most quality control inspectors work full time during regular business hours, some inspectors work evenings or weekends. Shift assignments generally are based on seniority. Overtime may be required to meet production deadlines.
How to Become a Quality Control Inspector[About this section] [To Top]
Get the education you need: Find schools for Quality Control Inspectors near you!
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 and Training for Quality Control Inspectors
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 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 for Quality Control Inspectors
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. Although certification is not required, it 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 for Quality Control Inspectors
Dexterity. Quality control inspectors must 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 use specialized tools and machinery when testing products.
Physical stamina. Quality control inspectors must 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.
Quality Control Inspector Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]
The median annual wage for quality control inspectors is $38,580. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,970.
The median annual wages for quality control inspectors in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$46,280|
|Administrative and support services||$30,070|
Most quality control inspectors work full time. Some inspectors work evenings, overnight, or weekend shifts. Shift assignments may be based on seniority. Overtime may be required to meet production deadlines.
Job Outlook for Quality Control Inspectors[About this section] [To Top]
Employment of quality control inspectors is projected to decline 12 percent over the next ten years.
Despite declining employment, about 54,900 openings for quality control inspectors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Employment of Quality Control Inspectors
Continued improvements in technology allow manufacturers to automate inspection tasks, increasing workers' productivity and reducing the demand for inspectors. Fabrication and assembly workers monitor quality at every stage of production, assuming many of the duties previously done by specialized inspectors. In addition, use of three-dimensional (3D) scanners decreases the amount of time required to inspect parts and finished goods for correct measurement.
Despite technological advances in quality control in many industries, automation is not appropriate for all inspections. Personal inspections will continue to be needed for products that require testing for taste, smell, texture, appearance, fabric complexity, or performance. Automation will likely become more important for inspecting elements related to size, such as length, width, or thickness.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2020||Projected Employment, 2030||Change, 2020-30|
|Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers||557,900||489,800||-12||-68,100|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.