Quality Control Inspector: Duties & Salary

Quality control professionals who obtain the proper education have plentiful employment opportunities in a variety of industries, from food and beverages to the auto industry. Quality control ensures that products and services are at their highest quality before they reach the consumer. This keeps consumers happy and businesses thriving that are known for offering the best products.

What does an inspector do?
Inspectors monitor all domestically manufactured goods such as food, clothing, textiles, glassware, cars, electronics, and structural steel. The quality control inspector’s job is to make sure their employer’s goods are the best quality imaginable. Although many inspectors are the same, there are some differences between industries. Inspectors who work with materials use all of their senses to locate imperfections. They may also have to verify the dimensions  of an object like color, weight, texture, and strength. Mechanical inspectors check that parts move properly, fit well, and are lubricated, while also checking the pressure of gases, liquid levels, the flow of electricity, and test operation. Sorters separate items according to an item’s intended specifications. Samplers inspect samples from a batch for defects and or/imperfections. Weighers weigh materials for production.
Quality control professionals have a role in every part of the production process. They often examine materials from a supplier before sending them to production. Some inspect components or assemblies and perform final checks on completed products. Inspectors with advanced skill levels will also set up and test equipment, calibrate instruments, and repair defects, as well as record data.

Inspectors use hand-held tools and electronic devices to perform their job duties. Hand-held measurement devices include micrometers, calipers, and alignment gauges, and the electronic inspection equipment are used to coordinate measuring machines. These electronic machines allow inspectors to probe parts and analyze the results using computer software. Inspectors testing electrical devices use voltmeters, ammeters, and oscilloscopes.
Inspectors also note problems and can reject defective items, send them for repair, or fix problems themselves. When products pass inspection, inspectors can stamp, tag, or certify them in a number of ways. After inspection, quality control professionals also record the results of inspection, calculate the number of defects, and prepare inspection and test reports. This data is shared with supervisors to help locate the cause of defects and correct these production problems.

How much are inspectors paid and what kinds of inspector jobs can I get?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median hourly wage earnings in May 2006 for inspectors, testers, sorters, and samplers was $14.14. The highest 10 percent earned an hourly wage of more than $24.85. Wages vary for quality control professionals in aerospace products and parts manufacturing, motor vehicle parts manufacturing, semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing, plastics product manufacturing, and employment services.
Quality control professionals can hold positions as quality control inspectors, inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers. Related careers where inspection is involved include agricultural inspectors, construction and building inspectors, fire inspectors and investigators, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, and transportation inspectors.

Many jobs in this field will arise because of the need to replace workers who leave the field but most of these positions will require professionals who have experience and advanced skills.