How to Become a Quality Control Specialist

How to Become a Quality Control Specialist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a quality control specialist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a quality control specialist:


Those who become quality control specialists are naturally inclined to look closely at details. They have a natural talent for calculating figures and amounts, such as proportions, volume and percentages.


Quality control specialists must be able to work comfortably with others within a team setting, and must have excellent communication skills, in order to communicate their findings and prepare suggestions for improvements.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a quality control specialist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Quality Control Specialist

The education needed to become a quality control inspector vary based on the employer, the industry the inspector will be working within, and the responsibilities of the specific job.


For inspectors who do simple tests and inspections of products (such as pass/fail tests), educational requirements typically don’t exceed a high school diploma and some in-house training.


Prospective quality control inspectors that pursue post-secondary studies may improve their chances of finding employment, especially in sectors that require a specialized skill set.


For example, students that have an educational background in the natural sciences will benefit from their laboratory experience if applying for quality control inspector jobs in medical or pharmaceutical labs.


Also, those planning to work as quality control inspectors in manufacturing facilities may realize great benefit from an educational background in the trades, or vocational school. 




Quality Control Specialist Job Description

The main function of a quality control specialist is measuring whether or not a current product meets a set of quality standards. They are also involved in planning how often sampling will be performed and determining the standards by which quality will be judged, and make recommendations as to how products and the quality control process can be improved.


Quality control specialists work in a variety of industries; they monitor quality standards for nearly all manufactured products, including foods, textiles, clothing, glassware, motor vehicles, electronic components, computers, and structural steel.


Quality control inspectors may also inspect products purchased by their company from suppliers and maintain records of the supplier and the product’s performance. The data they collect is used to help suppliers improve their performance. It is also used for making decisions regarding which suppliers can be relied on to meet specified requirements.



Quality Control Specialist Job Duties

• Measure the quality of products using a pre-defined set of criteria

• Record information on products which do not conform to standards

• Create specification control charts based on the products they are sampling

• Liaise with engineers and others involved in production in order to create plans to improve product quality

• May be involved in determining the quality standards which a product must meet

• Make suggestions as to how the quality control process can be improved

• Spot trends in production line’s output that veers from expected quality

• Remove all products and materials that fail to meet specifications



Who Hires Quality Control Specialists? Where Do They Work?

There are many employers within a variety of industries that are able to utilize the skills, knowledge and competencies of quality control inspectors, including:


• Federal, provincial/state and municipal government departments

• Manufacturing companies (including automotive, mechanical, electronics, etc.)

• Food production and distribution companies

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Construction companies

• Energy and utility companies

• Pharmaceutical companies

• Self-employment (as a consultant)



Quality Control Specialist Salary: How Much Do They Make?

The salary level of quality control specialists can vary widely depending on a number of factors including their job title, where they work, the specific duties of their job, their level of education, their level of training and certification, and many others.


Quality Control Specialist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Inspectors in Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety occupational group, which includes Quality Control Specialists, earn an average wage between $31.30 and $41.28 per hour. The mean wage for this group is $37.10 an hour.


Quality Control Specialist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for workers in the Quality Control Specialists occupational group is $33,030 per year. 





Skills Needed to Become a Quality Control Specialist

There are certain skills needed to become an effective quality control specialist. Without these skills, a prospective quality control specialist would have a hard time performing their work duties, and would find their job very stressful. These skills include:


• Verbal communication skills

• Ability to follow oral instructions

• Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume

• Be able to work with different personality types

• Excellent interpersonal skills are necessary for pointing out errors in the work of co-workers

• Must be observant and pay attention to detail

• Must have the patience to complete lengthy inspections and reports

• Must be accurate when taking measurements and recording figures

• Must be able to utilize various computer programs effectively in order to record findings

• May need to be able to use technical equipment, such as microscopes and automated testing machines



Careers Related to Quality Control Specialist

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Quality Control Specialist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Food and Drug Inspector

Food Safety Auditor

Public Health Inspector

Safety Coordinator

Water Quality Analyst



References: How to Become a Quality Control Specialist

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a quality control specialist.



Occupations in Alberta:Information Systems Quality Assurance Analyst.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 11, 2020.

Production:Quality Control Inspectors.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 11, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



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Scholarships for Becoming a Quality Control Specialist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Quality Control Specialist can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Quality Control Specialist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a quality control specialist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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