Certified quality managers help companies with ensuring manufacturing activities are up to standard. This often includes identifying opportunities for process improvement and greater efficiency. Certified quality managers typically have a bachelor's degree and some positions require a master's degree.
Quality managers oversee and inspect their company's production process to ensure that the resulting items meet standards. Many employers look for candidates with bachelor's degrees in fields like business administration. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers the Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence credential.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in business administration or management, advanced positions may require graduate degrees|
|Optional Certification||Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE)|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||-4% for industrial production managers*|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$74,622 for quality managers**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Quality managers belong to the group of workers known as industrial production managers, who direct a company's manufacturing activities. Quality managers are tasked with ensuring that items produced by a company meet a certain standard, and to identify ways to fix production if production doesn't meet standards. In addition, quality managers examine an employer's production process to find ways to improve efficiency and make products better in general. Their job may lead them to train workers in new production methods or purchase raw material and other necessary goods from new suppliers to create the best possible product.
Many industrial production managers hold a bachelor's degree in a field like business administration or management, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). However, some managers work their way up within a company by learning production tasks as they go. As methods of production become more complicated, some employers even look for workers with graduate degrees in the field.
The ASQ, or American Society for Quality, offers certification to quality managers (www.asq.org). To earn the status of Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE), formerly known as Certified Quality Manager (CQM), applicants must possess ten years of on-the-job experience in industrial production. Five of those years must have been in a decision-making position. Educational experience waives a number of the required years, depending on the amount of time it typically takes to earn such a degree. For instance, a bachelor's degree can substitute for four years towards the ASQ's required ten, while an associate's degree reduces the experience requirement by two years.
Once the appropriate experiential requirements are met, applicants can register to take a test administered by the ASQ twice a year. The four-hour test consists of a 150-question multiple-choice segment and two essay questions.
Those who pass the exam are granted CMQ/OE certification and must recertify with the ASQ every three years. Quality mangers can recertify by exam or submitting documentation of continuing professional and educational activities, such as teaching or taking courses, earning additional certifications or publishing papers, journal articles, or books.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the employment of industrial production managers, including quality managers, is expected to decline by four percent between 2014 and 2024. PayScale.com reported that the median annual salary for quality managers as of January 2016 was $74,622.
Certified quality managers monitor the quality of production in many types of companies. A bachelor's degree is typical and a master's degree may be required for advanced positions. Certification is obtained through the American Society for Quality and requires recertification every three years.