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What Is a Quality Control Inspector?

Feb 24, 2021 ·

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CNC machinists are responsible for creating some of the most important manufactured parts on the planet. Computer numerical control (CNC) machines turn and shape materials like metal, plastic and wood into intricate parts and complete products. Components created using CNC machines are found in medical equipment, cell phones, computers and many other products that people use every day.

During and after a CNC machine creates a part or product, a quality control inspector ensures the piece adheres to specifications. This is an important job because the quality control inspector is responsible for the final product. A faulty part or component could render an entire product useless or unsafe.

Learn more about what a quality control inspector does, how to become one, and what the job outlook is like for quality control inspectors.

Quality Control Inspector Job Description

Quality control inspectors check finished products made with CNC machines. They also inspect CNC machines and parts as they’re being made and before they’re ready for finishing. Sometimes quality control inspectors work during the process to save time and ensure the part comes out correctly, especially when a parts program is still being developed. Once whatever the CNC machine produces is finished, the inspector will once again check the part.

The quality control inspection process typically includes the following steps:

  • Checking the CNC machine to verify part features and tolerances
  • Reading specifications and blueprints
  • Verifying the key tolerances and features of the part during the process and monitoring operations to ensure they meet production and quality standards
  • Recommending adjustments to the production or assembly process
  • Using statistical process control to inspect the part for quality after the part is removed, using micrometers, rulers, calipers or gauges to measure products
  • Accepting or rejecting finished items and removing materials and products that fail to meet specifications
  • Reporting test and inspection data

A qualify control inspector makes sure parts and products adhere to the established standards of measurements, quality, strength and endurance. If not, they can become a costly and dangerous problem.

How to Become a Quality Control Inspector

Completing a formal training program like the CNC Machining Technology program offered at NASCAR Technical Institute can give you a great foundation of skills to build on if you’re looking to become a quality control inspector.1 During the 36-week program, you can learn how to operate CNC machines and ensure parts are created to correct specifications.

Quality control inspectors check finished products made with CNC machines.

CNC machine quality control inspectors need to have experience using computers to work with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology and need to know how to use CNC machine tools and computerized measuring machines.

CNC quality control inspectors must have physical strength and stamina, since they’re on their feet working with machinery. They also need to have technical skills, mechanical skills, math skills and dexterity to ensure products are completed successfully.

Certifications are not typically required for quality control inspector positions, but formal training like UTI’s CNC Machining Technology program and certifications can help make candidates stand out. The American Society for Quality offers a Certified Quality Inspector designation, plus various Six Sigma certifications that can provide value to employers. There are also industry-specific programs like the Skills Certification System from The Manufacturing Institute that are available to help train quality control inspectors.

Job Outlook for Quality Control Inspectors

Many quality control inspectors began their careers in CNC machining. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for computer numerically controlled tool operators in the United States was $46,760 in May 2022.34 This means half of CNC machinists earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Settings in which quality control inspectors can work include:

  • Metalworking machinery manufacturing
  • Motor vehicle parts manufacturing
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
  • Plastics product manufacturing
  • Machine shops
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
  • Durable goods merchant wholesalers

Wherever parts and goods are manufactured, quality control inspection must take place before they are sold or distributed.

Get on Track to a Career

CNC quality control inspectors have very important roles in ensuring parts and products are fit to specifications. These are parts that are in machines people use for transportation, in equipment that powers hospitals and life-saving products, and in devices people rely on for work and communication. Quality control inspectors can play a major role in the production of essential items.

If being a CNC quality control inspector sounds appealing to you, CNC machining training at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) can help you grow your career. Head to our website to request information or give us a call at 1-800-834-7308.

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1) NASCAR Technical Institute is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

34) UTI’s CNC Machining Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as CNC machinists. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a CNC technician, such as CNC operator, apprentice machinist, and machined parts inspector. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary for persons employed as Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic (51-4011) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $35,140 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled CNC machinists in North Carolina is $22.01 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $17.28 and $14.82, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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