A quality control inspector inspects and test materials and production processes of an organization. From food to clothing to motor vehicle manufacturing to medicines, you make certain that these are safe for the end-consumer.
To do your job well, you will need to be thoroughly familiar with the product’s blueprints and specifications. You use calipers, gauges, micrometers and rulers in your task. You may also use coordinate-measuring machines and other electronic inspection equipment. If you are inspecting electrical devices like television sets, refrigerators and computers, additional tools of your trade would include voltmeters, ammeters and ohmmeters. You evaluate finished products and if you notice defects in quality, you can reject them. Any materials or items that fall short of the standard are taken out and only those that meet it are given the stamp of approval.
After inspection, you will inform the company’s supervisor about the results and if problems were encountered, you help analyze where the issues came from and how these can be addressed. This way, the problems will not anymore be repeated.
There are actually different types of quality control inspectors. Inspectors certify or reject products. If they find that some issues are repairable, they may send these back to production to be fixed instead of giving an outright rejection. Samplers are quality control inspectors that work to test a product sample during a production run to determine if there are problems. Testers, on the other hand, subject products and prototypes to normal wear and tear to check the parts that will most likely get damaged first. They also test its longevity so that the products can be made better.
To succeed in this job, you need to be able to comprehend technical documents, blueprints and manuals to ascertain that the standards are followed. You also need to have math and computer skills since your job entails performing measurements and calibrations. Since you will be dealing with machinery and tools, you also need to possess mechanical skills. You need to have manual dexterity since your job may require quickly getting products from the production line to test it. In addition, your task will have you standing for long periods of time and even lifting heavy objects. As such, you need to be in the best physical shape to do this job well.
One reason to become a quality control inspector is the chance it gives you to play a very crucial role in ensuring that the processed food everyone eats is not contaminated with bacteria, that the medicines everyone takes will actually make them well and that the cars that people drive are equipped with brakes that work. This is a very huge responsibility but one which is very rewarding at the same time. Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that everything you do will translate for the good of the general public.
Quality Control Inspector Work Environment
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in 2012, an estimated two-thirds of quality control inspectors were employed by companies engaged in manufacturing. Those working in manufacturing are typically in charge of one workstation although those in other industries may have to work in different workstations inspecting various products. Depending on the type of inspection being done, inspectors may have to stand for their entire shift or even be required to carry heavy items. In some industries, their inspection job may involve sitting down and reading a lot of computer printouts.
The work environment will also differ depending on where quality control inspectors do their inspections. Those assigned in companies engaged in heavy manufacturing may have to contend with oil, dirt and loud noises while those working in firms where the products have to be tested in hygienic and cool surroundings will have more comfortable working conditions.
Because there might be dust and other particles that could potentially cause skin and eye irritation or even allergies in a manufacturing firm, quality control inspectors have to wear protective gear and follow proper handling procedures. Work is typically fulltime following regular hours. However, overtime work may be needed if production deadlines need to be met.
Quality Control Inspector Salary
The May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers is $37,860. This is higher than what the mean annual wage of occupations categorized under “other production occupations” which is $32,690. Some of the occupations under this category are chemical processing machine settlers, operators and tenders; cutting workers and jewelers and precious stone and metal workers.
Quality Control Inspector Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a slow growth for this profession. The employment outlook of quality control inspectors is forecasted to rise 6 percent in the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, a rate that is slower than the average for all job types. Despite this, the growth is still a reflection of the need for manufacturing firms, especially those operating in the pharmaceuticals industry, to have inspection quality standards.
Although automated inspections are increasingly getting popular, there will still be demand for quality control inspectors since some products still need to be inspected by hand. This is especially true for those items that need to be smelled, tasted, felt and visually checked to determine quality. Inspectors will also be needed to check if certain products will perform as expected. Automated inspection equipment will have an effect on the employment of quality control inspectors. Job opportunities will be good for quality control inspectors that have Lean and Six Sigma certifications and work experience.
Quality Control Inspector Degree
Aspiring quality control inspectors need a high school diploma at the least to get entry-level jobs. They can improve their chances of getting hired by taking up industrial trades courses while they are still in high school. They may also take postsecondary vocational programs after obtaining their high school diploma.
As soon as they get hired, quality control inspectors usually get anywhere from one month to one year of on-the-job training, depending on the responsibilities of the position. While a high school diploma plus training are sufficient for those performing pass/fail product tests, the more complicated precision-inspecting jobs are given to those with enough experience in the field. An associate’s degree in quality control management may be required for those who would be operating advanced equipment involving software applications in their inspections.
Getting certified will certainly increase chances of getting a job or advancing to a higher position. The Certified Quality Inspector certification can be obtained from the American Society for Quality. To get certified, the usual requirements include work experience and passing a test.