What does a quality control technician do?
The role of a quality control technician is to verify that an organization's products and services meet industry and government standards. This goes beyond product manufacturing. Quality control technicians work in fields like pharmaceuticals, computers, and electronics. The position's responsibilities include the inspection of equipment and materials and the presentation of reports to senior management.
Overall, your role as a quality control technician is extremely important. Through diligence, you ensure the final products that emerge from a company's machines are safe for the end user to use. The end user could mean an individual customer, or, if the organization you monitor quality for produces parts, another business that uses those parts to assemble a final product.View Jobs
What is the average salary of a quality control technician?
On average, the salary of a quality control technician is above what many other positions pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a quality control technician with a full-time position is about $38,580. This breaks down to approximately $18.55 an hour.
High and low-end pay rates
Ten percent of quality control technicians make $2,400 a month. Those at the top end of the pay scale make approximately $30 an hour or about $5,250 a month.
How to earn more as a quality control technician
How much you make as a quality control technician depends on several factors. Where you live is an additional consideration, as salaries are higher in more expensive locations, such as large cities or on the east or west coast.
Education is another factor that determines your initial salary. This is especially true if you focus on this specialty within secondary education and certification programs.
Employers also review your previous experience as a quality control technician. Your pay is higher if you worked in this role at another location. If your past role was within the company's field, then a salary increase occurs.
Since manufacturers operate 24 hours a day, your salary increases if you agree to work off-hours. In other words, your salary as a quality control technician will likely be higher if you take a position during the night shift. Companies also increase salaries if quality control technicians work weekends.
Working as a quality control technician
There's a good deal to know about the role of a quality control technician. The next sections define several items related to the position. These include your responsibilities, equipment, and potential schedule.
What are the responsibilities of a quality control technician?
These are some of the responsibilities you take on as a quality control technician:
- Ensure the proper operations of equipment that measures and tests both manufacturing machines products. Misaligned tools result in improper readings.
- Verify current production methods meet relevant state and federal legislation. A majority of these fall under the umbrella of quality management guidelines such as ISO 9001.
- Inspect and test product samples. Here, you focus on quality control (QC) to find any defects that remain after manufacturing. If this takes place, you report issues to supervisors for immediate corrections.
- Test products purchased from suppliers and keep records of their performance. This is especially true if the third-party item causes issues with your company's products.
- Diffuse issues customers have with the finished products. You must pass on multiple complaints about certain products to suppliers for further investigation.
- Perform audits and write reports on the findings and recommendations to correct issues.
- Present your data to senior managers for further review. This involves discussions about implemented improvements to improve manufacturing practices to minimize product defects.
- Work with other quality control team members to compare data. This helps determine if there are issues beyond your area that cause product defects.
- Create documentation to further educate managers and machine operators about proper manufacturing procedures.
What type of equipment do quality control technicians use?
Your role as a quality control technician requires you to evaluate manufacturing processes and products. However, the testing equipment you’ll use differs by industry. What's utilized to verify the temperature of food isn't the same as the gauges used to examine aviation parts.
Quality control technicians use a variety of tools
The equipment you’ll use to record quality data also varies. Some quality control technicians use a laptop while others rely on mobile devices to input the necessary information. In some cases, the testing tools send data directly to these computers. The numbers are compiled through an industry-specific application.
The necessity for safety equipment
Quality control technicians often wear safety equipment in industries where you must visit the manufacturing floor. This means hard hats, work boots, and other protective items. If you perform your duties in a clean room, then you’ll require gloves, masks, and other clothing to minimize the release of bacteria.
What is the work environment of a quality control technician?
The work environment of a quality control technician varies. Because it involves manufacturing of some form, product quality control often takes place within a plant. In the case of a refinery or agricultural organization, the job takes place outdoors. In industries like pharmaceuticals for food and beverage, you’ll work in a clean area to evaluate products.
A quality control technician works anywhere
Your work environment's location also varies for a quality control technician. Manufacturing plants tend to be located within industrial parks or other places near populated areas. Conversely, if you are a quality control technician for the oil and gas industry, you’ll perform your tests in fields or drilling platforms several miles from the shore.
The hazards for quality control technicians
There are situations where quality technician work is hazardous. This is particularly true when working with chemicals. However, your employer ensures you're fully protected during your time at work. This ensures both safety and increased productivity.
Who are your colleagues as a quality control technician?
Besides quality control technicians, your colleagues span different areas of an organization. For instance, you’ll work with quality analysts that determine if a company's education and training are adequate for its operations. Also, you’ll connect with assemblers and others who handle a product's construction.
Colleagues at a client site
When you work with customers, your colleagues are managers and supervisors of an organization's help desk support team. You’ll also connect with those who handle machine operations to see if their processes meet standards.
What is the work schedule of a quality control technician?
The schedule of the average quality control technician depends on the industry. If the organization only operates 40 hours per week (a standard work week), then you’ll likely perform your tasks Monday-Friday. The hours vary based on the company's schedule.
Other types of schedules
On the other hand, many manufacturing companies work 24 hours per day. In this scenario, you work a standard daytime schedule or serve as a quality control technician on the second or third shift. Weekends are also an option when the company is on a deadline.
The schedule could change when a plant performs a turnaround. This involves a shutdown of the floor for examination and repair of existing machines as well as installation of new ones. As a quality control technician, you’ll be part of the team that reviews the machines. However, you're also encouraged to further your education and training during this downtime.
What is the career outlook for a quality control technician?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manufacturers will continue to hire quality control technicians, and quality control inspectors, to fill spots left empty by retiring employees or those who leave for other positions. On average, industries need to fill more than 54,000 quality control technician positions from now until 2030.
Life beyond a role as a quality control technician
A career as a quality control technician helps you make additional career moves when you're ready. As you examine the finer details of processes and products in this role, you’ll find that your skills as a quality analyst are useful for many other careers. Learning to be a quality control technician allows you to gather the necessary education and training to enhance production methods. In the end, quality control technicians will remain a necessity in the foreseeable future. Despite advancements in technology, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) aren't infallible. Human quality analysts will still be needed to ensure the high caliber of a product even if it comes from an automated manufacturing line.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a quality control technician?
Spherion is one of the best staffing firms that enjoy numerous connections with many manufacturing and production companies. Whether you prefer working in a plant or outdoors, Spherion has different job options for you. Working with Spherion offers many benefits. Among them are:
- Weekly pay
- A flexible schedule
- Available representatives to ask for assistance
- Training opportunities to enhance your skills
- A quick and seamless interview process
What education do you need as a quality control technician?
Generally, a high school diploma is required for an entry-level position as a quality control technician. Yet some businesses prefer to hire candidates that have an associate's or bachelor's degree in quality control management or engineering. Others require postsecondary (after-college) certifications in various quality control concepts.
Even with this knowledge on-hand, quality control managers still require on-the-job training for some industries. For instance, companies that work within the automobile or aerospace fields will usually require specialized training to help you understand industry-specific quality and safety standards. This training covers the use of the measurement and data collecting tools, regulations, and overall safety. In some environments, you apprentice with an existing quality control technician.
Skills & competencies
As a quality control technician, you must understand the concepts behind inspection planning and auditing. The latter requires knowledge of data collection and compilation for the respective field. Excellent communication skills are needed to present your findings to managers and other company representatives.
Quality control certifications
Additionally, competency in various quality control techniques is highly suggested.
These are obtained through certifications available from the American Society for Quality (ASQ). This includes education and testing to obtain the role of Certified Quality Inspector (CQI). It's recommended to review these programs to determine qualifications, testing, and when recertification is required.
Quality control technicians are crucial to the nation’s manufacturing industry and are in demand. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about becoming a quality control technician.