Quality control inspectors are responsible for ensuring that products are safe, reliable and suitable for use by the general public. Inspectors may use various methods and equipment to test, analyze and evaluate products prior to distribution. Requirements to become a quality control inspector vary by industry and type of job; a simple inspection position may require only a high school diploma or its equivalent while more complex positions may require completion of a vocational program or an associate's degree.
Quality control inspectors who work on factory assembly lines may secure their positions with only a high school diploma or equivalent and job specific training. Spot checking industrial assembly lines generally requires one to be able to visually identify faulty product. Other areas of quality control may require more extensive training and specified knowledge.
Those seeking to become a quality control inspector in a mass production company may find it helpful to complete an associate’s degree in quality management systems or industrial management. An associate’s degree in one of these fields or a relevant certificate program may prepare students with courses in technical writing, metrology, management and manufacturing. Additional field-specific courses may also be required. Those who possess a degree or relevant certification may be able to more easily obtain employment and advancement in this field.
Quality control inspection performed in medical or pharmaceutical labs may require specialized training and experience. Training and certification in biological or natural sciences is generally necessary for those seeking to become a quality control inspector in this area. Those who possess laboratory testing and data reporting experience or education will find employment in the medical or pharmaceutical field much easier than those attempting to gain entrance as inexperienced, entry-level employee.
Once hired, most quality control inspectors will typically need to complete job specific training, regardless of previous experience. Companies may use many types of testing and reporting software in addition to special meter and gauging instruments. Trainees will also need to learn company specific standards and methods of quality management.
Most quality control inspectors are also trained to read and analyze blueprints, perform safety prevention measures as well as report and interpret data. Some companies require employees to have some prior training in these areas while others provide on-the-job training. A few companies may pay for entry-level employees to complete the necessary degree or certification requirements to become a quality control inspector.
Continuing education is typically part of the quality control inspector job. Many inspectors must complete mandatory safety training on a yearly or even quarterly basis. Others may be required to complete training sessions for using updated software or technology to inspect and analyze products.