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What does a Weighmaster do?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A weighmaster has three areas of responsibility: weigh materials, inspect scales, and quality control. Weighmasters are very common in industries where the price is driven by the weight of the material, and when that material is difficult to quantify independently. For example, this role is very common in wineries, scrap metal yards, feed mills, and livestock dealers.

Most weighmasters work for government agencies, a weighmaster firm, or a company that requires this service on a regular basis. There is no specific post-secondary education degree program to become a weighmaster, but there is a certification program that is required. Look at the requirements for your state to determine who the certification agency is and what its requirements are to obtain certification.

People who are detail-oriented, are naturally outgoing, and who have a strong sense of fairness, report the greatest satisfaction as a weighmaster. In this career, you will meet with a wide range of sellers, buyers, and brokers. It is important to maintain a strong code of ethics and independence as a weighmaster. The primary role is to provide independent assurance that the scales are not doctored and the weights correct.

The primary responsibility is to weigh materials. This function is usually required at the point of material receipt or shipment. The weighmaster can bring his own scale, or can use their equipment and expertise to verify the existing scale is accurate and unaltered. They supervise the weighing of the materials and are responsible for ensuring that everything is above board.

Inspecting scales is another important responsibility of a weighmaster. Most states have laws surrounding the frequency of the inspections, qualifications of the inspector, and the exact tests to be performed. The types of scales inspected include gas pumps, grocery store scales, bar code scanners and a range of other related products.

Quality control is a very important part of this job. Although scales are inspected on a regularly scheduled basis, weighmasters must respond to consumer complaints about scales, how bar code readers work, and computerized pricing programming. Random, surprise audits are performed by government agencies to measure the depth of compliance and to assist in complaint investigations.

Demand for this role is increasing, along with the scope of responsibilities. Originally, a weighmaster's area of focus was strictly related to scales and measures. Over time, it has expanded to include any method used to calculate the price of any object. This includes gas pumps, utility metering equipment, bar code scanners and computerized cash registers.

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Discussion Comments

By titans62 — On Sep 05, 2011

@jcraig - I was interested in a lot of the same questions, so I did a quick search. I couldn't really find a lot of information about what exactly it takes to get the weighmaster certificate. I can't imagine it would be too difficult. I would guess that it covers the different types of scales and ways that you can calibrate them. I'm sure there is some training on the different laws for the state.

From what I was able to find, it sounds like weighmasters can either be independent contractors certified by the state, or they can work for a weights and measures agency. I figure depending on the product being measured, different weighmasters are acceptable.

By cardsfan27 — On Sep 05, 2011

Does anyone have an idea of how long weighmaster positions have been in existence? Not that they aren't just as important now, but in the past before electronic scales were widely available, I would guess that the job of a weighmaster was even more important. You could have easily set a balance up to misread measurements of a product.

Something in particular I was wondering about was whether weighmasters are in charge of calibrating truck weigh scales like you would find at an interstate weigh station. I think these are always run by the state police and are in charge of verifying that trucks are carrying what they are supposed to be carrying.

How would you even go about calibrating a big scale like that? It definitely wouldn't be as simple as using a few weights like you could with a desktop scale.

By jcraig — On Sep 04, 2011

Wow, I had no idea at all that jobs like this existed. Maybe I'm just too trusting, but it never crossed my mind that the scales at the grocery store or somewhere could be rigged to overcharge people.

The article mentions weighmasters needing to be certified for their state. What is the certification process like? After you take the test, how do you get hired to be a weighmaster? The article makes it sound like there are special third party businesses that are independently hired to check scales and the other job functions. Is that the case, or are weighmasters usually part of a state agency responsibly for measures?

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