Taste testers work primarily in food manufacturing industries, ensuring that foods look, smell and taste appealing. Taste testing jobs don't typically require education beyond a high school diploma. As such, the average pay for this skill, as of 2014, tends to be relatively low.
National Average Pay
The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies taste testers among inspectors, samplers, testers, weighers and sorters. As of May 2013, it reported an average annual salary of $37,860 for quality control testers and inspectors of all types. However, taste testers tend to earn less than others in that category. The BLS reports an average annual salary of $31,670 for testers and inspectors working in the food manufacturing industries. According to Indeed.com, taste testers earned an average of $24,000 per year as of August 2014.
Pay by Industry Sector
What goes in the tester's mouth can play a role in what goes on her paycheck. Those who specialized in fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty foods reported average salaries of $31,340 per year in 2013. Those dealing in seafood preparation averaged $32,160, while those employed by baked good and tortilla makers averaged $33,370. The best average money, $36,140, went to those dealing in sugar and confectionary products. Quality control workers in dairy products took home $36,260.
Pay by State
According to Indeed.com, taste testers earned some of the highest rates of pay in New York and Massachusetts, averaging $29,000 per year as of August 2014. Those working in Illinois earned $28,000, while Californians took in $26,000. Below-average pay was reported by testers working in Texas and West Virginia ($23,000), while those employed in South Dakota reported an average salary of just $18,000 per year.
The job outlook for taste testers and other quality control workers is mixed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs for this occupation were expected to grow at a rate of about 6 percent between 2012 and 2022, slower than the 11 percent average growth rate projected for the U.S. economy as a whole.
2016 Salary Information for Quality Control Inspectors
Quality control inspectors earned a median annual salary of $36,780 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, quality control inspectors earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,760, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $49,250, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 520,700 people were employed in the U.S. as quality control inspectors.