Quality Assurance Inspector Careers: Job Description & Salary

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A quality assurance inspector's average income is about $37,860. Is it worth the training and education requirements? Check out real job duties and get the truth about a quality assurance inspector's salary and career prospects to find out if becoming a quality assurance inspector is right for you.
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Pros and Cons to Becoming a Quality Assurance Inspector

Quality assurance inspectors, also known as quality control inspectors, monitor the quality of almost any manufactured product, from food to electronics to apparel, across nearly every industry. Find out some of the good and bad to working as a quality assurance inspector to decide if this career is a good match.

PROS: Becoming a Quality Assurance Inspector
Night and day shifts are available depending on your preference*
New inspectors normally receive on-the-job training*
Your employer provides safety gear to you if it is necessary*
As workers leave or retire, more positions are expected to open up in quality assurance*

CONS: Becoming a Quality Assurance Inspector
Slower than average predicted employment growth (six percent from 2012-2022)*
When production deadlines are near, overtime is often assigned*
Skin and eye irritation can occur from particles in the air depending on the materials you're inspecting*
Your shift assignment can be dependent upon your level of seniority within the company*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description

Before working with a type of product, you'll need to look over the specification and blueprints, as well as the ins and outs of the product in order to do a proper examination. On a shift, a quality assurance inspector examines products and notes any problems with them during the tagging period.

A defective item might be trashed or fixed depending on the nature of the defect. If there is nothing wrong with the product, you'll certify it and send it out for shipping. Other duties of a quality assurance inspector might include weighing, testing and sorting.


In May 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that inspectors, sorters, weighers, samplers and testers, which include quality assurance inspectors, had an average yearly salary of around $37,860 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry offered the highest salary with an average of approximately $67,250 in 2013.

Occupational Requirements

Training and Education

A GED or a high school diploma is a good starting point for quality assurance inspectors. If at all possible while you're in high school, you'll want to look into studying computer-aided design and other industrial trades. Other subjects like biology and chemistry can be useful if you're applying to work for pharmaceutical companies or similar industries.

Job training is the crucial part to becoming a quality assurance inspector. Many employers want to do this training in-house, but there are postsecondary educational options. If you're new to the field, you'll want to look for entry-level positions. As you get some work experience under your belt, you can try to work your way up to higher openings. You can find associate degree programs in quality control management at some community colleges and vocational schools.

What Employers Are Looking for

Employers generally want quality assurance inspectors with good physical strength. Good math skills are important to employers as well. Various specifications and measurements have to be met on products before they can be approved for shipping. By reading below, you can learn what some real employers in April 2012 were looking for in quality assurance inspectors.

  • In Texas, an energy equipment company needed a quality assurance inspector with certification in welding inspection.
  • A Pennsylvania manufacturer in healthcare services required a quality assurance inspector willing to work night shifts consistently.
  • A quality assurance inspector opening in Wisconsin called for someone with an associate or a bachelor's degree in management, technology, business or engineering.
  • In Michigan, a distributor requested quality assurance inspector applicants to have experience in reading blueprints.

Standing Out as a Quality Assurance Inspector

Organizations like the American Society for Quality (ASQ) offer professional certifications to quality assurance inspectors (www.asq.org). The requirements vary depending on what certification you're after. For example, the quality inspector certification from ASQ requires you to have two years of job experience and a high school diploma or three additional years of job experience.

A multiple choice written examination for this certification is offered twice a year. If you feel you need some preparation for this exam, Web-based training programs and several reference books are also available.

Other Career Paths

Quality assurance inspectors who are looking to transfer to a different field with higher salary potential might consider becoming a fire inspector. As a fire inspector, you'll visit structures and buildings to look for potential fire hazards. While you're at the location, you'll need to make sure all local, state and federal fire codes are being followed. You'll also test to see if the protection equipment on the site is working properly. In May 2011, the BLS reported that fire inspectors and investigators made around $57,000 on average annually.

If you'd like to conduct inspections in a different field, you might consider becoming a construction and building inspector. In this position you would oversee repairs and changes to existing buildings along with new construction projects. By familiarizing yourself with building ordinances and codes on the national and local level, you'll be able to identify if a building is safe and inhabitable. You'll also have to be wary of zoning regulations and make sure all the requirements of a building contract are properly met. Construction and building inspectors made roughly $55,000 on average according to the BLS in May 2011.

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