It is far more common to find Total Quality Management (TQM) training through a certificate program than through a degree program. Many certificate programs in the subject are designed for working professionals who want to learn ways to analyze work processes and improve their company's products. Certificates are available at the undergraduate and graduate level. However, individuals who want to gain an overview of the quality management field can enroll in a master's degree program in quality assurance.
Be it for a certificate or degree, applicants at the graduate level must hold a bachelor's degree. Programs do not usually discriminate with regard to undergraduate academic discipline because quality assurance can include fundamental behaviors common to a variety of fields.
Certificate in Total Quality Management
Because TQM techniques are applicable to doing business in a host of different disciplines, these 1- to 2-semester programs are offered through various types of departments, like education and business. Students can learn to empower employees and develop systems for inventory control. High school graduates or those who hold the equivalent of a high school diploma are typically eligible to apply.
Programs can train students to look at statistics to determine anomalies in process control and build better, more ethical relationships with teammates and suppliers. Training programs include coursework in subjects like:
- Data management
- Implementing new practices
- Quality management
- Quality metrics
Graduate Certificates Covering Total Quality Management
Programs in logistics, construction management and quality management can offer courses relevant to TQM. Though these programs are focused on different fields, they can all teach the principles underlying this business performance improvement strategy. Online graduate certificate programs are available.
Some programs require a specific undergraduate field of study as a prerequisite. These specific requirements are generally found in the engineering or construction fields. Depending on the field of study, students can learn how to optimize supply chains, build products of consistent quality and use statistics to manage engineering projects. Graduate certificate programs that cover TQM commonly teach students about:
- Experiment design
- Project management
- Quality control
Master of Science in Quality Assurance
Quality assurance is an interdisciplinary field used in professional settings like manufacturing, government and health care. Students can learn to develop systems, manage technical environments and make data more easily understood by coworkers. These programs may offer students opportunities to gain practical experience managing teams of professionals to comply with a client's product specifications.
Students can learn to design experiments, develop process control documentation and perform reviews of a system's safety and reliability. Master's programs can offer training in:
- Cost analysis
- Project management
- Regulatory issues
- Risk management
- Statistical methods
Popular Career Options
As of the May 2015 BLS reports, there were 169,390 industrial production managers employed. Depending on a student's training and background, job opportunities can be found as:
- Pricing analysts
- Purchasing managers
- Quality analysts
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Though there are many types of careers where people are able to use these skills, one example of a career relevant to TQM is industrial management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industrial production management jobs were projected to decline by four percent from 2014-2024 due to increasing automation improvements (www.bls.gov). Despite the fact that the number of jobs in this field was estimated to shrink, fair prospects were forecast for well-trained professionals, due to a large number of workers anticipated to retire. According to the BLS reports from May of 2015, industrial production managers earned a median annual wage of $93,940.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) administers certifications to engineers, managers and auditors in the quality field. Professionals are required to recertify every three years, either by retaking certification tests or by proving that sufficient continuing education credits have been taken.
Doctoral programs offering training in TQM are available as Doctor of Philosophy programs in educational leadership and civil engineering, among other options. Doctoral scholars tailor their course of study to best prepare them to write their dissertations, which can allow them to focus on TQM research. Degree programs in quality management or related fields include bachelor of science in quality assurance, bachelor of science in manufacturing and design, bachelor of science in product design, bachelor of science in engineering and master of business administration.
Training in total quality management is typically aimed at working professionals looking to improve a company's processes. Students will typically complete certificates in the field, though some master's degree programs exist and provide more advanced training.