Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
51-9061.00

Inspect, test, sort, sample, or weigh nonagricultural raw materials or processed, machined, fabricated, or assembled parts or products for defects, wear, and deviations from specifications. May use precision measuring instruments and complex test equipment.

Sample of reported job titles: Inspector, QA Auditor (Quality Assurance Auditor), QA Inspector (Quality Assurance Inspector), QA Technician (Quality Assurance Technician), QC Technician (Quality Control Technician), Quality Auditor, Quality Control Inspector (QC Inspector), Quality Inspector, Quality Technician, Test Technician

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Discard or reject products, materials, or equipment not meeting specifications.
  • Mark items with details, such as grade or acceptance-rejection status.
  • Measure dimensions of products to verify conformance to specifications, using measuring instruments, such as rulers, calipers, gauges, or micrometers.
  • Notify supervisors or other personnel of production problems.
  • Inspect, test, or measure materials, products, installations, or work for conformance to specifications.
  • Write test or inspection reports describing results, recommendations, or needed repairs.
  • Recommend necessary corrective actions, based on inspection results.
  • Read dials or meters to verify that equipment is functioning at specified levels.
  • Make minor adjustments to equipment, such as turning setscrews to calibrate instruments to required tolerances.
  • Read blueprints, data, manuals, or other materials to determine specifications, inspection and testing procedures, adjustment methods, certification processes, formulas, or measuring instruments required.
  • Monitor production operations or equipment to ensure conformance to specifications, making necessary process or assembly adjustments.
  • Record inspection or test data, such as weights, temperatures, grades, or moisture content, and quantities inspected or graded.
  • Position products, components, or parts for testing.
  • Remove defects, such as chips, burrs, or lap corroded or pitted surfaces.
  • Collect or select samples for testing or for use as models.
  • Stack or arrange tested products for further processing, shipping, or packaging.
  • Check arriving materials to ensure that they match purchase orders, submitting discrepancy reports as necessary.
  • Inspect or test raw materials, parts, or products to determine compliance with environmental standards.
  • Analyze test data, making computations as necessary, to determine test results.
  • Compare colors, shapes, textures, or grades of products or materials with color charts, templates, or samples to verify conformance to standards.
  • Clean, maintain, calibrate, or repair measuring instruments or test equipment, such as dial indicators, fixed gauges, or height gauges.
  • Fabricate, install, position, or connect components, parts, finished products, or instruments for testing or operational purposes.
  • Administer tests to assess whether engineers or operators are qualified to use equipment.
  • Monitor machines that automatically measure, sort, or inspect products.
  • Interpret legal requirements, provide safety information, or recommend compliance procedures to contractors, craft workers, engineers, or property owners.
  • Adjust, clean, or repair products or processing equipment to correct defects found during inspections.
  • Compute usable amounts of items in shipments.
  • Inspect or test cleantech or green technology parts, products, or installations, such as fuel cells, solar panels, or air quality devices, for conformance to specifications or standards.
  • Grade, classify, or sort products according to sizes, weights, colors, or other specifications.
  • Disassemble defective parts or components, such as inaccurate or worn gauges or measuring instruments.
  • Compute defect percentages or averages, using formulas and calculators.
  • Weigh materials, products, containers, or samples to verify packaging weights or ingredient quantities.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 93% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 57% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 60% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 77% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 51% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 42% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 49% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 46% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 44% responded “About half the time.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Telephone — 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 42% responded “Very important results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 32% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Physical Proximity — 47% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos — 27% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 36% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 36% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 31% responded “Never.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Knowledge

  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 70%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 27%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required
  • 3%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Interests

Interest code: CR
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$18.55 hourly, $38,580 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
557,900 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
54,900
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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