Quality Assurance Inspector: Job Description and Education Requirements
Quality assurance inspectors are employed by manufacturers to assure that products meet industry standards. They also look for ways to make the entire manufacturing process more efficient. Some quality assurance positions have no formal educational requirements and provide employees with on-the-job training, while other positions may require formal education.
Job Description for a Quality Assurance Inspector
Quality assurance inspectors ensure that products manufactured by their employers meet industry and federal standards. They may work on a production line or test items in a controlled laboratory setting. Quality assurance inspectors find employment in a number of industries such as food, clothing, electronics and automobiles. Their goal is to assure that products can withstand regular use and that products work as intended. For example, quality inspectors of mechanical parts must insure that the parts do not contain any imperfections or weaknesses and will fit properly with other mechanical parts.
The specific tasks of quality inspectors change depending on the industry in which they are employed. However, in general inspectors analyze products, using either machinery or direct sensory observation, and determine whether they're suitable for the marketplace. Quality assurance inspectors keep records of their work and send defective products back for repairs. They also try to locate the source of any defects and to assure that future items don't have the same problems. This is especially true as manufacturing becomes more sophisticated, and the quality inspector's job becomes more about creating an efficient manufacturing process than about weeding out bad eggs.
Education Requirements for a Quality Assurance Inspector
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), there aren't always formal education requirements for quality assurance inspectors. Quality assurance inspectors who perform simple tasks typically only need a high school diploma, coupled with on-the-job training. In this instance, quality assurance inspectors would be trained on the job in quality control techniques, safety and equipment used by their specific employer. However, more involved manufacturing jobs may require inspectors to complete some formal postsecondary education.
Colleges have begun to offer several educational options to meet the needs of quality inspectors. For instance, some community colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs; however, these programs typically focus on a certain area in quality control and assurance. Working professionals who want to take their education to great depths might even consider a bachelor's or master's degree program in quality assurance. All of these programs focus, to varying degrees, on the principles behind successful quality control in the global economy, such as quality improvement, failure analysis, statistical quality control and quality auditing.
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