Quality control engineers work with scientific instruments; therefore, you should take academic or industrial arts courses that introduce you to different kinds of scientific or technical equipment. You should also take electrical and machine shop courses, mechanical drawing courses, and chemistry courses with lab sections. Joining a radio, computer, or science club is also a good way to gain experience and to engage in team-building and problem-solving activities. Active participation in clubs is a good way to learn skills that will benefit you when working with other professionals in manufacturing and industrial settings.
Join the Technology Student Association (TSA), which provides students a chance to explore career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, enter academic competitions, and participate in summer exploration programs. TSA administers a competition that allows high school students to use their technology skills. The Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (https://tsaweb.org/teams) is an engineering problem competition.
You should check out the American Society for Engineering Education’s precollege Web site, http://precollege.asee.org, for general information about careers in engineering, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about engineering.
Keep in mind that quality control activities and quality control professionals are often directly involved with manufacturing processes. If it is at all possible, try to get a part-time or summer job in a manufacturing setting, even if you are not specifically in the quality control area. Although your work may mean doing menial tasks, it will give you firsthand experience in the environment and demonstrate the depth of your interest to future employers.
Quality control engineers develop, implement, and direct processes and practices that result in a desired level of quality for manufactured parts. They identify standards to measure the quality of a part or product, analyze factors that affect quality, and determine the best practices to ensure quality.
Quality control engineers set up procedures to monitor and control quality, devise methods to improve quality, and analyze quality control methods for effectiveness, productivity, and cost factors. They are involved in all aspects of quality during a product's life cycle. Not only do they focus on ensuring quality during production operations, they are also involved in product design and evaluation. Quality control engineers may be specialists who work with engineers and industrial designers during the design phase of a product, or they may work with sales and marketing professionals to evaluate reports from consumers on how well a product is performing. Quality control engineers are responsible for ensuring that all incoming materials used in a finished product meet required standards and that all instruments and automated equipment used to test and monitor parts during production perform properly. They supervise and direct workers involved in assuring quality, including quality control technicians, inspectors, and related production personnel.