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Career profile Inventory Specialist

Also known as Cycle Counter, Fluid Operator, Inventory Specialist, Quality Assurance Inspector (QA Inspector), Scale Operator, Supply Clerk, Temperature Taker

Inventory Specialist

Also known as Cycle Counter, Fluid Operator, Inventory Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$26,130 - $52,100 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mathematics
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Document quantity, quality, type, weight, test result data, and value of materials or products to maintain shipping, receiving, and production records and files.
  • Compare product labels, tags, or tickets, shipping manifests, purchase orders, and bills of lading to verify accuracy of shipment contents, quality specifications, or weights.
  • Weigh or measure materials, equipment, or products to maintain relevant records, using volume meters, scales, rules, or calipers.
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What does an Inventory Specialist do?

Inventory Specialists weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment for the purpose of keeping relevant records.

In addition, Inventory Specialists

  • duties are primarily clerical by nature,
  • includes workers who collect and keep record of samples of products or materials.

What kind of tasks does an Inventory Specialist perform regularly?

Inventory Specialists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Document quantity, quality, type, weight, test result data, and value of materials or products to maintain shipping, receiving, and production records and files.
  • Weigh or measure materials, equipment, or products to maintain relevant records, using volume meters, scales, rules, or calipers.
  • Collect or prepare measurement, weight, or identification labels and attach them to products.
  • Examine products or materials, parts, subassemblies, and packaging for damage, defects, or shortages, using specification sheets, gauges, and standards charts.
  • Signal or instruct other workers to weigh, move, or check products.
  • Collect product samples and prepare them for laboratory analysis or testing.
  • Maintain, monitor, and clean work areas, such as recycling collection sites, drop boxes, counters and windows, and areas around scale houses.

The above responsibilities are specific to Inventory Specialists. More generally, Inventory Specialists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Inventory Specialist salary?

The median salary for an Inventory Specialist is $36,650, and the average salary is $38,080. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Inventory Specialist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Inventory Specialists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Inventory Specialists earn less than $26,130 per year, 25% earn less than $30,130, 75% earn less than $44,610, and 90% earn less than $52,100.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Inventory Specialists is expected to change by 10.7%, and there should be roughly 6,500 open positions for Inventory Specialists every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$26,130 - $52,100
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Inventory Specialists?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Inventory Specialist are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Inventory Specialists typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Inventory Specialists typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Inventory Specialist tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Inventory Specialists strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Inventory Specialists moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Inventory Specialists somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Inventory Specialists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Inventory Specialists, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Inventory Specialists need?

Working as an Inventory Specialist usually requires a high school diploma.

Inventory Specialists need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Inventory Specialists

  • 11.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 36.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 26.9% completed some college coursework
  • 9.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 12.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Inventory Specialists

Inventory Specialists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mathematics, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Inventory Specialists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Important Abilities needed by Inventory Specialists

Inventory Specialists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Inventory Specialists need abilities such as near vision, written comprehension, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Inventory Specialists, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Category Flexibility
The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Critical Skills needed by Inventory Specialists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Inventory Specialists frequently use skills like critical thinking, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Inventory Specialists, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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