What does a quality inspector do?

A quality inspector makes certain that a product meets a set of standards. As a quality inspector, you measure and examine raw materials along with finished goods. You manually and visually inspect products and objects to ensure that all regulations are met. You also use machines to test the products. You’ll work in a factory setting with a set schedule.

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What is the average salary of a quality inspector?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a quality inspector is $38,580 per year, or $18.55 per hour. Depending on your experience, location, and size of the organization, quality inspectors can earn as much as $62,970. A wide salary range exists in these positions. The entry-level salaries in this position pay about $28,820 per year, while experienced workers in this position earn more than $62,970.

Quality Inspector

Working as a quality inspector

If you enjoy work that requires attention to detail and lets you offer input on how to improve products and manufacturing processes, working as a quality inspector is a good fit. You hold an essential position on a manufacturing line, regardless of the industry you enter. If you're reliable, detail-oriented and organized, consider a career as a quality inspector.

What are the responsibilities of a quality inspector?

Most workdays of a quality inspector follow the same schedule and include the same duties. Your typical workday will include the following responsibilities:

  • Read schematics, specifications and blueprints
  • Monitor manufacturing operations to products meet product standards
  • Recommend product or process adjustments
  • Test, inspect, or sample materials or products
  • Use gauges, calipers or micrometers to measure products
  • Use computers, electronic equipment and software to inspect items
  • Reject products that don’t meet product standards
  • Remove failed products and materials
  • Author reports that include the data from inspection and testing, including grades, weights, moisture content, temperatures and quantities inspected

What type of equipment do quality inspectors use?

Quality inspectors use various machines to test products. These typically differ by the product or industry. Also called sorters, testers and samplers, quality inspectors examine items as diverse as foods, structural steel and electronics using an array of tools. In some of these inspection jobs, the individual uses hand-held devices, including alignment gauges and calipers. Other inspection equipment this position uses includes:

  • Coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs)
  • Three-dimensional (3D) scanners
  • Ohmmeters
  • Voltmeters
  • Ammeters

The quality control inspector may use these items and visual inspection systems as part of automated or manual checks.

What is the work environment of a quality inspector?

Quality control inspectors typically work in a factory setting. More than two-thirds of these inspectors work in manufacturing. The other one-third work in wholesale trade, professional and scientific areas. They may also function in technical services or administrative and support services. This full-time position uses shifts of eight hours. A factory typically employs a team of quality inspectors each of whom reports to a quality inspection supervisor.

Who are your colleagues as a quality inspector?

The inspector records each inspection result and then compiles a report, which they provide to their supervisor. When they detect a product defect, they notify their supervisor and then work with them to analyze the issue and correct the production anomaly. You might also work with material handlers, packers and assemblers.

What is the work schedule of a quality inspector?

A factory may run 24 hours a day and divide it into three work shifts. The shifts are typically 7 a.m. - 3 p.m., 3 p.m. - 11 p.m., and 11-7 a.m.. Quality inspectors and the team with which they work typically work the same shift five days per week for a total of 40 hours per week. If production falls behind schedule, the factory may require work some nights or weekends.



What is the career outlook for a quality inspector?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be about 54,900 new openings for quality inspectors between 2020 and 2030. This increase may result from increased manufacturing along with the retirement of older workers. As of 2020, about 557,900 quality inspector positions existed.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a quality inspector?

As one of the top staffing companies, Spherion partners with firms across industries to provide talent for their teams. The Spherion team pairs you with a personal representative who champions you with the companies we help staff. This representative works one-on-one with you to find the right job for you. Working with Spherion affords you many advantages, including:

  • Weekly pay
  • Skill-building training opportunities
  • Options for flexible schedules, including some remote work options
  • A personal representative who assists you in your job search

What education do you need as a quality inspector?

The position of quality inspector only requires a GED or high school diploma. However, some employers require an associate or a bachelor’s degree. This typically occurs in the field of engineering or quality control management. Becoming a quality inspector does require significant on-the-job training though. This training period can take just over a month or up to one year. It depends on the product and industry, as well as the equipment used. The fields of aerospace and automobile manufacturing use an apprenticeship program, which provides paid on-the-job training. These sometimes require sponsorship of a trade association or business.

Skills & competencies

In addition to a detail-oriented nature, a quality control inspector hyper-focuses on materials or products to catch mistakes or flaws. Those working in this position successfully exhibit strong math abilities and mechanical skills. They use electronic tools and machinery during the testing process. Employees in this position also exhibit good physical strength and stamina. They stand for long periods and frequently lift items weighing up to 50 pounds. The position also requires technical skills since the inspector must read and understand technical manuals and documents, as well as blueprints and design schematics.

Licensing for quality inspectors

The position of quality inspector does not require a license, but to advance in the field, it will help to obtain a certification from The American Society for Quality (ASQ) referred to as the Certified Quality Inspector (CQI). Earning Six Sigma certifications also helps document your knowledge. Typically, earning a license or certificate requires a specific number of years in the field and successful completion of a course and passage of an exam.



Quality inspectors play an important role in ensuring that businesses produce high-quality products. Read some frequently asked questions about this role to learn more about working in this field.

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