Quality control inspectors sample, analyze or test products, processes, or equipment to check for defects and ensure they meet specifications. Some quality control personnel use technologically advanced measuring instruments and complicated test equipment. Their educational and training background depends on the specific job, but, for those conducting rudimentary pass-or-fail operations, a high school diploma is typically sufficient. Since "good salary" is a relative term, a better way of measuring a salary by job title is by analyzing the pay in selected geographic locations and by employer type, as well as the number of jobs in each category.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2012, 454,010 quality control inspectors were employed nationwide. The annual mean wage was $37,240. The best-paid 10 percent earned at least $58,840, but the bottom 10 percent earned no more than $20,460.
Five Best-Paying Employers
The top-paying employer type for quality control inspectors was the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry, with 980 employees making an annual average salary of $64,020 in May 2012, according to the BLS. Next was other pipeline transportation with 100 employees earning an average of $58,420 annually. The third was pipeline transportation of crude oil, with 70 employed and an annual mean wage of $58,120. Fourth was the natural gas distribution industry, with 730 employed individuals making an annual average wage of $55,190. Rounding out the top five, nonscheduled air transportation employed 50 quality control inspectors and paid them an average of $53,150 per year.
Five Best-Paying States
The best-paying state, as of May 2012 was Alaska, with 500 employed and an annual mean wage of $62,640, the BLS reports. New Mexico employed 1,280 quality control inspectors who averaged $52,600 per year. Quality control inspectors in the District of Columbia earned an average annual wage of $51,690, but only 110 worked in that area. The fourth was Washington, with 9,930 employed and an annual mean wage of $47,840, and fifth was Wyoming, with 740 employed and an average wage of $45,830 annually.
Five Worst-Paying States
According to the BLS, the worst-paying state for quality control inspectors was Mississippi, where they averaged $30,990 annually. South Dakota was the second lowest-paying state, providing an average annual salary of $31,500. Other states with average salaries significantly below the national average were Arkansas, with an annual mean wage of $31,690; Alabama, with a mean wage of $32,400; and Georgia, with its annual mean wage at $32,570.
Five Best-Paying Metropolitan Areas
The top-paying metropolitan area was Anchorage, Alaska, where 250 quality control inspectors averaged $67,030 annually, according to a May 2012 report from the BLS. The second highest paying was the greater Wilmington, North Carolina, area, where 400 inspectors averaged $56,390 annually. Next was the greater Brockton, Massachusetts, metropolitan area, where the annual mean wage was $56,060 for the 190 people employed in this occupation. The fourth highest-paying metropolitan area was the Madera-Chowchilla area of California, which had an annual mean wage of $55,340 but only 60 quality control inspectors. At number five was the Seattle metropolitan area, which reported a mean wage of $53,990 and 6,170 inspectors.
- O*Net Online: Summary Report for Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012 -- Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Quality Control Inspectors Do
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Quality Control Inspector
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