Testing products for a living is a bit more complicated than it sounds.
Step 1: Pick a field Pick a field. Do you want to test toys? Evaluate appliances? Judge new ice cream flavors? The area that interests you will determine the kind of schooling you need.
Step 2: Get the proper training Get the proper training. If you want to work in a test kitchen or taste food for a living, a degree in food science will help. If you're interested in electronics, a computer science background is necessary.
TIP: If you're unsure of the training or education you need, contact someone who has your ideal job and ask them about their education and experience.
Step 3: Consider journalism Consider a career in journalism as your ticket to your dream job. Editors at motor magazines get to test drive all the new cars; electronics writers review the latest games and gadgets, and so on.
Step 4: Be wary of "mystery shopper" jobs Be wary of those "mystery shopper" jobs that are advertised on the internet. You often have to front the money for the service yourself, you are required to complete a long checklist of tests, and you run the risk of not getting reimbursed if you don't file your detailed report on time.
TIP: Forget the thousands of websites that claim they can hook you up with product testing jobs; they're more interested in getting your personal information to pass on to marketers.
Step 5: Find a job Find a job. Options include working for a company like Consumer Reports, or getting hired as an in-house product tester in a particular field. An employment agency can help you find opportunities in your area.
Step 6: Participate in focus groups To make some extra cash on a part-time basis, sign up with a market research company that keeps lists of potential focus group participants (it helps if you live in a major city like New York). But don't count on getting rich this way -- you can only participate in two focus groups a year.
FACT: A professional beer tester in Sao Paulo, Brazil successfully sued his employer, a brewing company, for turning him into an alcoholic.