How Do I Become a Quality Assurance Technician?

T. L. Childree

A quality assurance technician is responsible for locating and correcting errors in a manufacturing process that may cause poor product quality. You must be very detail-oriented and possess good problem-solving skills to succeed in this profession. Although there is no standard educational requirement to become a quality assurance technician, most employers prefer some type of college degree. After college, you can usually find employment in a wide variety of manufacturing facilities. Once you have become a quality assurance technician, you will be responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of each product produced by your employer.

Quality assurance technicians may be employed by pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure their products are safe for patient consumption.
Quality assurance technicians may be employed by pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure their products are safe for patient consumption.

Certain personal qualities are usually needed to become a quality assurance technician. Manufacturing processes must be continuously monitored to ensure the best finished product and you will need to be very detail-oriented to succeed in this profession. Excellent problem-solving skills are also required to locate and correct any faults in the process. You must also have good communications skills in order to coordinate your activities with workers in other departments. Good writing skills are also needed to keep detailed records of your observations and reports of your daily activities.

Quality assurance technicians should have a strong understanding of the industry in which they work.
Quality assurance technicians should have a strong understanding of the industry in which they work.

Educational requirements for this occupation are often industry-specific, but most employers require you to have at least an associate’s degree in applied science. This two-year degree will give you the mathematical and scientific problem-solving abilities needed to perform simple inspections and equipment testing. Technicians working in the computer or chemical manufacturing industries may be required to hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering, chemistry, or computer science. You may need a college degree in food safety management or nutrition to secure an agriculture or food processing position. Specialized degrees in quality management or quality assurance are offered by some colleges and several types of professional certification are also available to qualified candidates.

Quality assurance technicians are utilized by a variety of different industries, such as food processing, pharmaceutical and medical-equipment manufacturing, and computer software development companies. Technicians working in the food processing industry make certain that the manufacturing processes utilized are in compliance with government standards and safety regulations. Those employed by pharmaceutical and medical-equipment manufacturers ensure that the finished product will be safe and accurate for patient use. Technicians working in computer software development write the automated scripts and use cases utilized for new software testing.

Quality assurance technicians usually begin their work by selecting and testing the raw materials and chemical compounds utilized in the manufacturing process. These professionals often use computer programs to interpret test results to make certain that raw materials will maintain their viability during the entire manufacturing process. If a material is found to be unsuitable, an alternative material or process must be found through further research and testing. The equipment utilized in the manufacturing processes is also evaluated periodically to ensure proper function and safety.

Quality assurance technicians may need to be able to visually identify a potentially faulty product, and carry out further testing.
Quality assurance technicians may need to be able to visually identify a potentially faulty product, and carry out further testing.

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