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How Do I Become a Quality Controller?

By Jan Fletcher
Updated: Feb 08, 2024

A person may become a quality controller by obtaining academic credentials in a course of study related to the science and practice of reliability in manufacturing. Some who work in quality control successfully pursue a strategy of obtaining on-the-job experience. This career path often involves acquiring inspection, evaluation, and statistical analysis skills. A quality controller may work in production, or he or she may apply quality-control expertise within companies providing personal services.

Academic preparation to become a quality controller may involve obtaining a bachelor’s degree or an even higher level of formal education. Courses of study in the science of reliability are quite varied, and are often drawn from a plethora of academic disciplines. Quality controller careers are found within such diverse industries as medical-instrumentation manufacturing and food production.

Scholastic credentials in the field of quality control assurance may include degrees awarded by technical schools, colleges and universities. Some who become a quality controller possess expertise in tracking and understanding statistical variances. As a result, a strong background in statistical mathematics can be very helpful in this field.

On-the-job experience may also be an entry point for those who seek to become a quality controller. Someone who works as a quality-control inspector for an assembly operation, for example, may increase his or her skill set in understanding manufacturing variables over time. This may happen through workplace training, seminars, or events sponsored by professional associations.

The job duties of a quality control manager typically involve product performance testing. He or she may also develop more reliable manufacturing processes. Sometimes quality assurance involves consulting with and reporting to management on quality-control issues. Those who become a quality controller by rising up through the ranks of a manufacturing operation may have the opportunity to acquire keen insight into variances that can occur in technological processes within a specific industry.

If a quality controller works for a company that provides services, such as health care or transportation, he or she may conduct consumer satisfaction surveys, analyze service-wait times, or tweak service transactions in an attempt to reduce the potential for mishaps. For example, a quality controller working for an airline company may analyze and measure the airline's baggage-handling errors. In this case, he or she may have prepared for this job by undertaking studies in customer metrics, such as understanding both the psychological and financial impact of mishandled baggage on repeat business.

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Discussion Comments
By nony — On Dec 21, 2011

@miriam98 - I don’t think you have to major in math and statistics; it’s just needed.

I am pretty sure the career path towards becoming a quality control auditor would involve some exposure to ISO quality control standards and perhaps some of the other training methods out there like Sigma 6, which focuses on constant process improvement.

Another hot trend I’ve heard about is TQM or Total Quality Management, which I think is similar in many ways and focuses heavily on the manufacturing industry.

By miriam98 — On Dec 21, 2011

@SkyWhisperer - Well, it doesn’t hurt. Software is only as good as the person using it my opinion.

I think you need to understand data mining techniques such as clustering and things like that before you go and use the tool. Sometimes the tool will only get you so far and then you have to use your understanding of the manufacturing processes and have an eye for detail to spot anomalies that could indicate problems in quality control.

By SkyWhisperer — On Dec 20, 2011

I guess I don’t understand the need for a credential in mathematics and statistics. Obviously math and statistics may be used, as they are in other analyst type positions, but the fact is we have software that can sift through this stuff.

At my work we have lots of software tools that fall under the rubric of “Business Intelligence” and these tools are quite effective at sifting through mountains of statistical data and producing interesting patterns and useful information.

I think you need to understand math, and perhaps elementary statistics, but I don’t think you need to major in it. Then again, I am not a quality controller myself, but I have worked as an analyst.

By anon231159 — On Nov 23, 2011

So, what are the similarities between these two positions: Manager Quality Control Laboratory and Quality Manager (ISO17025)?

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