Manufacturing inspectors ensure 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..
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers rely on a number of tools to perform their jobs. Many use micrometers, calipers, alignment gauges, and other instruments to check and compare the dimensions of parts against the parts’ specifications. They also may operate electronic equipment, such as coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), which use sensitive probes to measure a part’s dimensional accuracy and compare the results with a computerized blueprint. Inspectors testing electrical devices may use voltmeters, ammeters, and oscilloscopes to test insulation, current flow, and resistance.
Job Outlook and Growth Potential:
Like that of many other occupations concentrated in manufacturing industries, employment of inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers is expected to grow more slowly than average through the year 2012. The slower than average growth stems primarily from the growing use of automated inspection and the redistribution of quality-control responsibilities from inspectors to production workers. Numerous job openings also will arise due to turnover in this large occupation. Many of these jobs, however, will be open only to experienced production workers with advanced skills.
Wages and Earnings Potential:
Median hourly earnings of Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers were $13.01 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.84 and $17.46 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.81 an hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.56 an hour. .