Professionals with quality technician positions are responsible for testing products as they pass through manufacturing processes and after they are completed, though before they are sent to consumers or retailers. Quality technicians also might inspect materials prior to manufacturing and operate and inspect all equipment used in testing procedures. To become a quality technician, a high school diploma or equivalent degree is essential. In many cases, undergraduate or two-year associate degrees are preferred by employers, though they may not be necessary. For some positions, such as in software development, a person who would like to become a quality technician might also need to have a graduate degree.
A person who wants to become a quality technician needs to understand what defines standards of quality in a particular industry. For example, a quality technician in a company that produces automobile parts should know the expected dimensions of parts and how they are supposed to function. In some cases, a quality technician must also be familiar with government regulations. In a field such as pharmaceuticals, for instance, this kind of professional has to understand guidelines dictated by regulatory agencies.
In most cases, a person who wants to become a quality technician should have a number of years working in a particular industry. Manufacturing professionals might get relevant experience by conducting parts of a manufacturing process and holding entry level management or planning positions where they can learn about factors that contribute to the success or failure of operations. In short, these professionals should understand where a process can go wrong and have some idea about how problems can be fixed.
Many businesses are run under management models in which procedures constantly are being developed. Professionals who adopt this philosophy believe that systems and processes are never perfect and that they must adapt to market changes and customer expectations. To become a quality technician, it might be necessary to be familiar with this kind of management model. Lean management is an example of one kind of management philosophy in which continual improvement is a key aspect. Quality technicians who work in these kinds of business environments might be required to continually gather information regarding market behaviors and expectations and apply this data to quality inspections.
Organizations, such as the American Society for Quality in the United States, offer training and certification for quality technicians. Entering one of these programs, earning certification, or even attending day-long seminars can be great ways to strengthen your resume. These programs, courses, and workshops also can be great professional networking opportunities.