Someone who wants to become a materials inspector may need a college degree, depending on the specific field of employment, along with industry experience. Materials inspectors evaluate shipments to make sure they conform with safety standards and match what was actually ordered. They can work in industry to inspect outgoing and incoming loads as part of quality and safety control. Others represent government agencies and large companies that use bulk materials and may need inspections before releasing loads for use by their personnel.
Government agencies typically require a bachelor’s degree in engineering to become a materials inspector. Their personnel examine materials like aggregate gravel for roads, and paints used in government buildings. Some specifically focus on hazardous materials, when they need to be familiar with legal requirements for safety. A materials inspector can also be involved in the process of developing protocols for handling, including proper disposal.
In other cases, people may receive on the job training to become a materials inspector. They start work under the supervision of someone with experience, learning how to evaluate loads appropriately and efficiently. Over time, they can be given more independence to inspect their own loads, and may rise through the ranks to senior positions. Qualified materials inspectors can also pursue jobs at other companies to take advantage of new opportunities.
Special materials inspector training is available in the form of classes at technical and trade schools, along with workshops for those who are already employed in the field. These can be helpful for people who aspire to high-ranking jobs. After someone has become a materials inspector, continuing education can also help maintain familiarity with the industry standards. When regulatory changes occur, classes can provide information on how those will impact inspections so people can be prepared.
For some types of materials inspection in some countries, certification is required. If a certificate is needed to become a materials inspector, it is usually because an inspector works for a government agency, or handles hazardous substances. Typically, people can gain certification by taking an examination to demonstrate knowledge of standards and practices in the industry. In some cases, they also need to provide proof of a set number of hours in training, depending on regional requirements. Job listings often indicate whether a certificate is needed, which can help people determine if they need to pursue a materials inspection certificate before working in a given area.