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.
Education & Training
Education and training requirements vary with the responsibilities of the quality control worker. For inspectors who do simple pass/fail tests of products, a high school diploma and some in-house training are generally enough. Workers usually receive on-the-job training that typically lasts for as little as 1 month or up to 1 year.
Candidates for inspector jobs can improve their chances of finding work by studying industrial trades in high school or in a postsecondary vocational program. Laboratory work in the natural or biological sciences also may improve a person's analytical skills and increase their chances of finding work in medical or pharmaceutical labs, where many of these workers are employed.
Training for new inspectors may cover the use of special meters, gauges, computers, and other instruments; quality control techniques such as Six Sigma; blueprint reading; safety; and reporting requirements. Some postsecondary training programs exist, but many employers prefer to train inspectors on the job.
As manufacturers use more automated techniques that require less inspection by hand, workers in this occupation increasingly must know how to operate and program more sophisticated equipment and utilize software applications. Because these operations require additional skills, higher education may be necessary. To address this need, some colleges are offering associate's degrees in fields such as quality control management.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers various certifications, including a designation for Certified Quality Inspector (CQI), and numerous sources of information and various levels of Six Sigma certifications. Certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase opportunities for advancement. Requirements for certification generally include a certain number of years of experience in the field and passing an exam.
Dexterity. Quality control inspectors should be able to quickly remove sample parts or products during the manufacturing process.
Math skills. Knowledge of basic math and computer skills are important because measuring, calibrating, and calculating specifications are major parts of quality control testing.
Mechanical skills. Quality control inspectors must be able to use specialized tools and machinery when testing products.
Physical stamina. Quality control inspectors must be able to stand for long periods on the job.
Physical strength. Because workers sometimes lift heavy objects, inspectors should be in good physical condition.
Technical skills. Quality control inspectors must understand blueprints, technical documents, and manuals which help ensure that products and parts meet quality standards.