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Certified Quality Manager: Job Description and Requirements

Certified quality managers require a moderate amount of formal education. Learn about the degree requirements, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

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 (2012-2022)-2% for industrial production managers*
Median Annual Salary (2014)$72,750 for quality managers**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Job Description

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.

Requirements

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 two percent between 2012 and 2022. PayScale.com reported that the median annual salary for quality managers as of December 2014 was $72,750.

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