Quality Management Degrees and Certificates
Read on for more information about degree and certificate programs in quality management. Learn about each program's course requirements and prerequisites, and discover career opportunities in the field.
Quality management, sometimes referred to as quality control or quality assurance, is a management style designed to assure quality in all organizational processes. Programs in quality management are offered at the undergraduate certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, graduate certificate and master's degree levels. Each of these programs teaches students the basics of the field and can prepare them for positions where they will improve the quality of products or services through modifications in response to customer feedback.
Undergraduate Quality Management Certificate
Community colleges, technical schools and continuing education departments of 4-year institutions offer undergraduate certificates in quality management. This entry-level program develops students' management abilities in quality-oriented settings through several focused courses. Students are trained to be involved with employees through team building and conflict resolution practices. Handling and managing change within an organization are also emphasized. Other than the standard prerequisites for entrance to the school, students should have a solid mathematics background.
Courses emphasize positive change and improved efficiency within an organization. Problem solving is a recurring theme in many quality management certificate programs, and students can expect to explore the following additional topics:
- Corrective actions
- Problem identification
- Quality systems
- Improvement plans
Popular Career Options
Though an undergraduate certificate alone won't qualify individuals for high-level management positions, it may serve as a credential for obtaining entry-level supervisory positions in retail or manufacturing. Possible jobs are as follows:
- Shift supervisor
- Team leader
- Quality technician
Associate Degree Programs in Quality Management
Degree options at this level for quality management students include the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Quality Assurance, AAS in Industrial Quality Management, AAS in Water Quality Management and more. Students pursuing this level of training in quality management will be introduced to the basic principles and terminology of statistical quality management and total quality management. Students also learn math, statistics and other general courses. Graduates with quality management training at the associate degree level can find positions developing and managing policies and procedures that guarantee quality for a company's brand image and products or services.
Associate degree programs that offer quality management training are primarily offered through community colleges. Students are typically required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Specific enrollment and course prerequisites can vary by school.
The curriculum of quality management and assurance programs at this level include applications, principles, basic elements and other areas. The following are examples of common course topics:
- Value engineering
- Computer applications
- Industry transformation
Popular Career Options
Associate degree training in quality management prepares graduates for entry-level quality control and assurance positions. Students will develop the experience needed for quality management careers through such positions as the following:
- Product weight assistant
- Manufacturing inspector
- Production test technician
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Quality Management
The Bachelor of Science (BS) with a quality management concentration and Bachelor of Manufacturing Management (BMM) in Quality Management are two examples of undergraduate programs that provide a 4-year quality management. Students enrolled in these types of quality management programs typically take courses in statistical quality management and total quality management. Manufacturing processes and the authenticity, normalization and certification of quality products or services are also covered. Quality management students can also complete an internship where they will work closely with technicians in factory settings to enforce quality product and process conformity.
Bachelor's degree and certificate programs that offer quality management training typically require students to have undergraduate coursework in statistics, physics, mathematics, science, engineering or business.
The quality management curriculum in a bachelor's degree program assists students in developing the technical knowledge used in the field. The following are examples of the core and elective course material:
- Compliance methods
- Strategic management
- Advanced quality control
Graduate Certificate in Quality Management
Those who have a bachelor's degree in a number of areas might be interested in a graduate-level quality management certificate. Many people who enroll in such programs are already working as quality management professionals in the engineering, science and manufacturing fields, among others. These programs teach students the quality management methods used in governmental and industrial settings.
Interested individuals need a bachelor's degree and documentable proficiency in statistical methods. Students should also be competent with word processors and spreadsheets.
Students will explore the fundamental concepts of quality management and will also take some elective courses. Possible elective topics may include these:
- Engineering statistics
- Project planning
- Project policy
- Applied quality management
Master's Degree Programs in Quality Management
Master's programs in quality management, such as the Master of Science (M.S.) in Quality Management and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Quality Management, focus more on the theoretical aspects and issues of quality control. Students earning quality management master's degrees will cover such topics as quality functions within organizations, quality standards, and quality control in industrial, statistical and quality engineering. Graduates with quality management master's degrees can find careers within a variety of different organizations, where they design, implement and monitor quality control programs throughout the production process or customer experience.
Applicants to the M.S. and MBA programs in quality management programs should have a bachelor's degree; however, the degree doesn't have to be in a specific field. Many master's degree programs require coursework in science, business, mathematics and engineering. The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is also used as an admission requirement for some quality management degree programs at this level.
A capstone project and thesis research are often done during a quality management master's degree program. The graduate-level quality management training is also achieved through courses in areas such as process improvement, statistical and quality techniques, organization, as well as classes covering:
- Project engineering
- Human factors in quality control
- Quality auditing
- Supply chain management
- Quality planning
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree in quality management can find careers as quality control managers. These professionals' responsibilities include the adherence to quality programs based on the policies and procedures they develop and maintain. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of jobs for quality control inspectors will grow by eight percent from 2010 to 2020. Similarly, the number of employed industrial production managers is expected to increase nine percent during that time. Industrial production managers earned a median salary of $89,190 in 2012, reported the BLS.
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