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Product examiner

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Summary of occupation

Product examiners ensure that primary produce and manufactured goods meet specified standards of presentation, safety and quality. They take samples and measurements of products throughout the production process, from when raw materials are received from external suppliers, right through to the packaging of finished products. These continuous checks allow issues to be identified and corrected early, ensuring the production process operates at maximum efficiency and effectiveness. The testing methods and quality standards will vary depending on the particular product. Testing may involve activities such as visual checks of appearance, weighing samples and conducting laboratory tests of a product's physical and chemical characteristics.

ANZSCO description: Examines products to ensure conformity to  specifications and standards of presentation and quality.
Alternative names: Product Quality Controller, Quality Assurance Assessor, Quality Assurance Inspector, Quality Control Assessor, Quality Control Inspector, Quality Control Officer, Quality Controller, Quality Coordinator, Quality Technician, Quality Tester
Specialisations: Film Examiner, Metal Products Viewer, Textile Examiner, Tyre Finisher and Examiner, Vehicle Assembly Inspector
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A Product examiner needs:

  • to be observant, with an eye for detail
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to analyse and solve problems
  • a logical and methodical approach to work
  • patience
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Working conditions

Product examiners are often based in an office, laboratory or workshop. However, they will often visit the production floor or storage facility to collect samples or check production processes. Production areas are often noisy and may be hot and dusty as well. Many workplaces will use heavy machinery and strict safety guidelines must be followed to avoid injury. Product examiners must also take care when working in a laboratory, particularly if working with chemicals. In many cases protective clothing must be worn, which may include, safety glasses, ear muffs, lab coats, high visibility clothing, hard hats and/or gloves, depending on the specific work environment. Many manufacturing plants operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning quality controllers often work shifts, which may include working nights and on weekends.

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Salary details

On average, product examiners, classified under product quality controllers, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 250 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a product examiner develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Product examiners use a variety of tools and technologies, depending on the tests they carry out and the products they are examining. They may use a range of laboratory equipment to test factors such as chemical composition, nutritional value, the presence of toxins and electrical conductivity and/or insulation. They also check the dimensions and weights of products using sensitive scales and measuring equipment. Many tests are automated, allowing a greater volume of samples to be tested in a shorter period. Product examiners will need to be familiar with computers both to run these tests and to compile reports detailing their findings.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a product examiner without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, it may improve your employment prospects if you complete a qualification relevant to the field or industry in which you wish to work.

Many product examiners will have significant practical experience working on the production line, often as a machine operator or factory worker, manufacturing the products they inspect. Other product examiners may approach this occupation by working in a laboratory.

The Diploma of Quality Auditing is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can complete a traineeship. The quality assurance officer traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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