How to Become a Quality Assurance Inspector

Quality assurance is essential to many companies and organizations and it refers to the systematic process of evaluating products, services, and facilities to make sure the require quality standards are being met. Quality assurance inspectors are trained professionals that carry out a variety of tasks to ensure quality assurance.

What does a quality assurance inspector do?

Quality assurance inspectors monitor the standards of quality for nearly all manufactured products such as food, clothing, electronics, appliances, motor vehicles, and building components. They use a variety of testing methods to make sure products, services, and facilities are meeting the necessary requirements. They complete visual inspections and examine individual components or parts. In manufacturing positions, they inspect products as they are being assembled and complete thorough examination of finished products. They take note of problems and send items for repairs or corrections. Quality assurance inspectors are also responsible for maintaining quality records and developing reports for supervisors.

What kind of training does a quality assurance inspector need?

Quality assurance inspectors typically need at least a high school diploma. Most learn their skills through on the job training where they learn how to use special gauges, meters, computers, and other equipment, read blueprints, and the reporting and quality control methods. Some quality assurance inspectors complete formal training programs in testing and inspecting. Many also gain voluntary certification such as the Certified Quality Inspector designation from the American Society for Quality to remain competitive in the field. The requirements include work experience and passing a written examination. Continuing education courses are often required to maintain certification.

What are the prospects for a career as a quality assurance inspector?

Employment of quality assurance inspectors is expected to decline moderately, decreasing 7% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Automated inspection and other professionals taking over responsibilities contribute to the job decline.

Job prospects are expected to be fair because there will be many job openings from the need to replace quality assurance inspectors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons. Quality assurance inspectors with extensive experience and advanced skills will have the best job opportunities.

How much do quality assurance inspectors make?

As of November 2009, quality assurance inspectors with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $10.05 and $15.13. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $11.57 and $16.43 (2).

A career as a quality assurance inspector is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in checking the quality of a variety of products and services. Quality assurance inspectors must have good mechanical aptitude, problem solving, and mathematical skills. Good eye-hand coordination, detail orientation, patience, and self-motivation are also essential qualities. Quality assurance inspectors must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they interact with a variety of other workers and sometimes customers. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team.

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