QA inspectors, or quality assurance inspectors, are the key to making sure an organization’s products meet government and customers’ standards. Most QA inspectors work in a production or manufacturing environment. They test and inspect products during the production process.
The minimum education requirement for a QA inspector is a high school diploma or GED, but this varies based on the type of position. To give an example, a QA inspector of products that are not technical are often promoted into this role after working on the production line. Technical products, such as electronics, may require an associate degree in engineering, electronics or a related discipline. Education related to blueprint reading and computer-aided design can increase job opportunities. Employers often train QA inspectors on the job, because each type of inspection requires specific skills and processes.
Inspection and Testing
Before a product goes into production, QA inspectors test prototypes. They ensure the product functions properly and is compliant with related government laws and regulations for the product. During the production process, QA inspectors inspect products being manufactured. They measure, weigh or test products to ensure their quality meets its specifications. They may test each product on different parts of the production line or test products randomly. They also monitor and inspect equipment they use for inspection to make sure the equipment continues to function properly. QA inspectors reject products that do not meet specifications.
QA inspectors frequently prepare reports about their inspections. The reports are reviewed by supervisors and engineers. QA inspectors work with them to analyze production issues, resolve problems and improve quality during the manufacturing process. After analyzing reports, QA inspectors adjust equipment or change the production process to improve product quality.
Career Outlook and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 8 percent job growth for quality inspectors between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than the 14 percent average expected for all U.S.occupations. Slower growth stems from advances in automation, which allows testing and inspections to be done using technology. Although advancing technology will slow growth, it cannot completely replace inspection by hand. In 2010, the average salary was $15.88 per hour for QA professionals, according to BLS.