A quality control engineer plans and oversees the various steps that are involved in processing and manufacturing materials to make sure they reach a specific level of quality. She is responsible for selecting the best techniques for a given process, determining the level of quality, and taking the appropriate steps to maintain or improve the quality of the process, if necessary. Many companies focus on bettering the quality of their products during each stage of production, hoping to prevent defects, and thereby save money. A quality control engineer often works with employees from many different departments in a company to figure out the best ways to manufacture and improve the quality of the items.
Developing, implementing, and directing the processes that result in a specific level of quality for manufactured items are among the responsibilities of a quality control engineer. She must identify standards to measure the quality of a manufactured item, analyze details that can affect the quality of the item, and decide what the best techniques are for the optimal end results. This person must also set up practices to monitor and control quality; however, other factors must be considered, such as effectiveness, cost, and productivity.
In some cases, this person may take part in the design and evaluation of the product. In those instances, she may have additional knowledge or education on industrial design. She may also join forces with sales or marketing persons to analyze consumer reports, which will indicate how well a product works for the general public. In addition, she may be responsible for making sure that the materials meet the requisite standards and that the equipment works correctly.
A quality control engineer works with a variety of individuals. Besides meeting with numerous employees to decide the best techniques for production, she may also supervise quality control technicians, inspectors and other production personnel to make sure that the best quality is maintained. Having good communication skills is beneficial to those pursing a career in this field.
Opportunities for those looking to become a quality control engineer are relatively common, although the job market is dependent on economic conditions. Many companies are attempting to manufacture their products more efficiently, at a lower cost, and with increased quality. Consequently, as companies begin to see the benefits of employing quality control engineers, more jobs will likely become available. Industries that need skilled people in this job include pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, and the food industry.