Quality Control Inspectors

What Quality Control Inspectors Do

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCTxteXoiAA

Work Environment

Working conditions vary by industry, establishment size, and specific duty. Most quality control inspectors work full time during regular business hours. Overtime may be required to meet production deadlines.

How to Become a Quality Control Inspector

Most quality control inspectors need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training that typically lasts as little as 1 month or up to 1 year.

Pay

The median annual wage for quality control inspectors was $39,140 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of quality control inspectors is projected to decline 17 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

Duties

Quality control inspectors typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints and specifications
  • Monitor operations to ensure that they meet production standards
  • Recommend adjustments to the assembly or production process
  • Inspect, test, or measure materials or products being produced
  • Measure products with rulers, calipers, gauges, or micrometers
  • Operate electronic inspection equipment and software
  • Accept or reject finished items
  • Remove all products and materials that fail to meet specifications
  • Report inspection and test data such as weights, temperatures, grades, moisture content, and quantities inspected

Quality control inspectors monitor quality standards for nearly all manufactured products, including foods, textiles, clothing, glassware, motor vehicles, electronic components, computers, and structural steel. Specific job duties vary across the wide range of industries in which these inspectors work.

Quality control workers rely on many tools to do their jobs. Although some still use hand-held measurement devices, such as calipers and alignment gauges, workers more commonly operate electronic inspection equipment, such as coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs) and three-dimensional (3D) scanners. Inspectors testing electrical devices may use voltmeters, ammeters, and ohmmeters to test potential difference, current flow, and resistance, respectively.

Quality control workers record the results of their inspections through test reports. When they find defects, inspectors notify supervisors and help to analyze and correct production problems.

In some firms, the inspection process is completely automated, with advanced vision inspection systems installed at one or several points in the production process. Inspectors in these firms monitor the equipment, review output, and conduct random product checks.

The following are examples of types of quality control inspectors:

Inspectors mark, tag, or note problems. They may reject defective items outright, send them for repair, or fix minor problems themselves. If the product is acceptable, the inspector certifies it. Inspectors may further specialize in the following jobs:

  • Materials inspectors check products by sight, sound, or feel to locate imperfections such as cuts, scratches, missing pieces, or crooked seams.
  • Mechanical inspectors generally verify that parts fit, move correctly, and are properly lubricated. They may check the pressure of gases and the level of liquids, test the flow of electricity, and conduct test runs to ensure that machines run properly.

Samplers test or inspect a sample for malfunctions or defects during a batch or production run.

Sorters separate goods according to length, size, fabric type, or color.

Testers repeatedly test existing products or prototypes under real-world conditions. Through these tests, manufacturers determine how long a product will last, what parts will break down first, and how to improve durability.

Weighers weigh quantities of materials for use in production.

Quality control inspectors held about 590,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of quality control inspectors were as follows:

Manufacturing 63%
Administrative and support services 9
Professional, scientific, and technical services 9
Wholesale trade 5

Work environments vary by industry and establishment size; some inspectors examine similar products for an entire shift, others examine a variety of items.

Inspectors in some industries may be on their feet all day and may have to lift heavy items. In other industries, workers may sit during their shift and read electronic printouts of data.

Workers in heavy-manufacturing plants may be exposed to the noise and grime of machinery. In other plants, inspectors work in clean, air-conditioned environments suitable for testing products.

Injuries and Illnesses

Some quality control inspectors may be exposed to airborne particles, which may irritate the eyes and skin. As a result, workers typically wear protective eyewear, ear plugs, and appropriate clothing.

Work Schedules

Although most quality control inspectors work full time during regular business hours, some inspectors work evenings or weekends. Shift assignments generally are based on seniority. Overtime may be required to meet production deadlines.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of quality control inspectors.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Construction and Building Inspectors

Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.

High school diploma or equivalent $60,710

Fire Inspectors

Fire inspectors examine buildings in order to detect fire hazards and ensure that federal, state, and local fire codes are met.

See How to Become One $60,230

Industrial engineers

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Bachelor’s degree $88,020

Industrial Engineering Technicians

Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in creating systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Associate’s degree $56,550

Logisticians

Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain.

Bachelor’s degree $74,750

For more information about quality control inspectors, including certification, visit

American Society for Quality (ASQ)

For more information about quality control training, visit

International Society of Automation (ISA)

Quality Assurance Association (QAA)

Society of Quality Assurance (SQA)

O*NET

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Quality Control Inspectors,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/quality-control-inspectors.htm (visited ).