The FDA is tasked with ensuring the nation's medication and food supply is safe and effective to consume. To accomplish this, FDA inspectors work to ensure that the manufacturing facilities and products meet their standards. Salaries for FDA inspectors rely on a paygrade scale and depend on the position and experience.
What Does the FDA Inspect?
The experts at The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have the mission of protecting public health by guaranteeing the safety and efficacy of medical devices, human and veterinary drugs, the nation's food supply, biological products, cosmetics and products that emit radiation. The FDA inspects an extensive range of manufacturers and processors. The FDA inspects vaccine and drug manufacturers, blood banks, food processing facilities, dairy farms, animal feed processors and compounding pharmacies.
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They are also responsible for inspecting facilities that conduct clinical trials. These laboratories conduct studies on animals or microorganisms, foreign manufacturing and processing sites for FDA-regulated products sold in the U.S. and imported regulated products at the border. The FDA performs three primary inspections intended to keep consumers safe: the pre-approval inspection, routine inspection and "for-cause" inspection.
The pre-approval inspection is performed once a company submits an application to market a new product. The routine inspection is performed at regulated facilities to ensure the facility operates according to the FDA's standards. Lastly, the "for-cause" inspection is performed when the FDA investigates a specific problem.
What Does the FDA Regulate?
The regulators at the FDA make sure that a wide variety of products that fall under food, biologics, drugs, medical devices, electronic products that give off radiation, cosmetics, veterinary products and tobacco products categories are safe for humans. The products under the food category include but are not limited to dietary supplements, bottled water, food additives, infant formulas and other food products; however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees regulating aspects of certain meat, poultry and egg products.
Under the biologics category, the FDA regulates vaccines for humans, cellular and gene therapy products, tissue and tissue products, blood and blood products and allergenics. They also regulate various medical devices, such as tongue depressors and bedpans, heart pacemakers, dental devices and surgical implants and prosthetics. The electronics products that give off radiation category includes a wide variety of products, such as microwave ovens, x-ray equipment, laser products, ultrasonic therapy equipment, mercury vapor lamps and sunlamps.
When regulating cosmetics, the FDA assesses the color additives in makeup as well as personal care products, skin moisturizers and cleansers, nail polish and perfume. The veterinary products under the veterinary category include livestock feeds, pet foods and veterinary drugs and devices. Lastly, the FDA also regulates tobacco products, such as cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco.
FDA Salary Range
So, how much does a health inspector make? The term "FDA inspector" can refer to a wide range of quality control inspectors within the Food and Drug Administration and, ultimately, varying salaries. According to the experts at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for quality control inspectors is $38,580 per year, or $18.55 per hour.
According to the BLS, there are currently 557,900 inspector jobs, but unfortunately, employment is expected to decline 12 percent between 2020 and 2030. However, despite the expected decline, there are around 54,900 projected job openings across the country each year. The BLS writes that these job openings are likely due to the expected vacancies due to transfers, career changes and retirement.
According to the experts at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, an FDA salary ranges from $20,172 per year to $146,757 per year, depending on the employee's pay grade and experience. Because the pay grades have distinct salary ranges, the level you start at can heavily factor into your pay over time.