The role of the quality control technician is to ensure quality standards of a wide variety of manufactured products, including electronics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, clothing, food, and other consumer goods. Most people employed in this area of manufacturing become a quality control technician through on-the-job training over a period of time, or in accordance with experience in a specific phase of the production process. For instance, some technicians may only be required to conduct a visual inspection of parts entering the assembly line, while others may be involved in testing or calibrating the final products. Although a high school diploma is usually the only requirement to become a quality control technician, advancement opportunities significantly improve with further training and certification.
First, it should be noted that advancements in engineering equate to more automated inspection methods, meaning more quality control inspectors and safety technicians are needed to operate and program the software and equipment necessary to run these automated processes rather than perform manual inspections. To meet this challenge, many candidates are supplementing their education and training in industrial arts with a focus on learning how to program and use computer-aided systems. A basic knowledge of various software applications is also desirable since they are used to compile and report statistical data related to operational and safety issues.
Many quality control technicians obtain their education and training by attending vocational courses while still in high school. Others enroll in adult education courses in order to train to become a quality control technician. In addition, there are agencies that provide specialized training and certification in this field. In the U.S., for example, The American Society for Quality provides more than a dozen quality control certifications. While each level of certification may have specific requirements, all generally require a certain number of years working on-site in the field and the successful completion of a written or practical exam.
In addition to training and certification, certain attributes are needed in order to become a quality control technician. Generally speaking, applicants should be able to demonstrate a mechanical aptitude, solid math skills, good hand-eye coordination, and excellent communication skills. Other desirable qualifications include the ability to interpret blueprints, design specifications, and product formulas, as well as the capacity to implement inspection procedures and quality assurance protocols. Advancement from quality control technician typically graduates to quality control inspection or testing and, with appropriate educational accreditation, quality control management.