Quality Inspector: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Quality inspectors are responsible for assuring that manufactured items are made and assembled correctly, and to government standards, safety regulations and customer satisfaction. Education and training for this position varies based on the specific industry and job responsibilities.

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Job Description and Duties

Quality inspectors work with manufacturing professionals during the production process, often approving the quality of raw materials before manufacturing begins. When production is completed, quality inspectors are responsible for a final in-depth inspection, before signing off and approving the product. More importantly, quality inspectors find the faults in both materials and the manufacturing process. Correcting those faults ensures a better finished product for prospective consumers.

When a product is completed, a quality inspector tests the performance to determine if it meets manufacturer and industry standards. If a product does not meet specific standards, recommendations are made to improve the quality of a product.

Besides having an understanding of the product or service, a quality inspector must also be adept at the tools of the trade. Because many industry standards depend on weights and measurements, a variety of calibration tools may be necessary.

In the service industry, quality inspectors must be able to connect with customers in order to gauge satisfaction, identify problems, and work on a systematic approach to solve those problems with employees and management.

Educational and Other Requirements

Educational requirements to become a quality inspector vary, depending on the industry. While some employers require only a high school education, others demand extensive post-secondary education and training. Food or perfume industries may require an inspector with a sophisticated palate or sense of smell. Quality inspectors usually start at the manufacturing or management level, where they begin the process of learning about a specific business or industry. Rarely, is this considered to be an entry-level position.

Organizations, such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ), offer certification for a quality inspector, quality control engineer, calibration technician and auditor.

Employment and Salary Information

Demand for quality control inspectors is likely to increase by eight percent between 2010 and 2020, which is below the growth rate for the average profession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The slow growth can be partially attributed to automated inspectors and inspection duties being delegated to other workers, but there will still be a need for inspectors to do things that machines can't.

In 2012, the BLS reported the average salary for inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers was $17.90 per hour or $37,240 annually. The 2012 average annual salary was higher in the aerospace product and parts manufacturing industries, as those professionals made $51,250 per year, based on data from the BLS.

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