Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers ensure that your food will not make you sick, that your car will run properly, and that your pants will not split the first time you wear them. These workers monitor or audit quality standards for virtually all manufactured products, including foods, textiles, clothing, glassware, motor vehicles, electronic components, computers, and structural steel. As product quality becomes increasingly important to the success of many manufacturing firms, daily duties of inspectors have changed. In some cases, the job titles of these workers also have been changed to quality-control inspector or a similar name, reflecting the growing importance of quality.
$60,000 – $92,000
Training requirements vary, based on the responsibilities of the inspector, tester, sorter, sampler, or weigher. For workers who perform simple “pass/fail” tests of products, a high school diploma generally is sufficient, together with basic in-house training. Training for new inspectors may cover the use of special meters, gauges, computers and other instruments; quality-control techniques; blueprint reading; safety; and reporting requirements. There are some postsecondary training programs in testing, but many employers prefer to train inspectors on the job.
Employment is expected to decline, reflecting the growth of automated inspection and the redistribution of quality-control responsibilities from inspectors to other production workers. The employment number of 491,000 total workers in 2006 will decrease 7% to 457,000 in 2016.