Quality control professionals work toward ensuring the best possible version of a product. A high school diploma and some on-the-job training can get you started in the field, although 2- or 4-year degrees are required for some positions. Voluntary certifications can enhance your standing in the profession.
Nothing is perfect, but some things can be darn close. Someone interested in ensuring that a product is the best it can be might consider a career in quality control. Quality control professionals use blueprints, manuals, and other specifications to ensure that the production of a product goes exactly according to plan.
|Career||Quality Control Inspector||Industrial Production Manager||Engineering Technician|
|Education Requirements||High school diploma||Bachelor's degree||Associate degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||-18%||1%||3% (for industrial engineering technicians)|
|Median Salary||$37,000 (2019)**||$103,380 (2018)*||$63,200 (2018, for industrial engineering technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Salary.com
A degree in the field of quality control can lead to a career as a quality control inspector, industrial production manager or engineering technician. Read on to find out about degree options for these professionals.
Quality Control Inspector
A quality control inspector monitors an organization's manufactured products to ensure that they meet standards. They inspect products, verify dimensions and ensure that parts work correctly. They may use hand tools or mechanized equipment to perform their job tasks, and can work in many different industry sectors, including the automobile, food or textile industries. There is no specific degree required to work in the field. Voluntary certification is available through the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Salary.com reported a median annual salary of $37,000 for quality control inspectors in 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports significant decline of 18% between 2018 and 2028.
Industrial Production Manager
An industrial production manager's main focus is creating products that meet company quality standards and ensuring that production costs fall within set budgets. These individuals may oversee the entire production process or only one specific area. Duties typically include monitoring production standards, implementing quality control programs and solving quality problems. A college degree is usually required to work in the field, and voluntary certification, which may help job seekers secure employment, is available from the ASQ or Association for Operations Managers.
According to the BLS, in 2018 there were 186,500 industrial production managers in the nation. The same source notes that these managers earned a median annual salary of $103,380 as of May 2018 and that jobs in this area are expected to show little change increasing by only one percent from 2018-2028.
Engineering technicians work to resolve problems in manufacturing, construction, inspection or maintenance. Some of these technicians, such as industrial engineering technicians, focus solely on quality control issues, and perform job tasks such as inspecting processes and products, testing products and collecting data. These individuals work under the supervision of an engineer to study production time and the quality of produced products.
The BLS reported an annual median salary of $63,200 for industrial engineering technicians in May of 2018. Job growth is expected to increase by 3% from 2018-2028.
Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in the field of quality control. These programs may be titled 'quality engineering technology', 'quality assurance/quality control' or 'quality control technology'. Regardless of degree level, these programs focus on training students to ensure that products meet quality standards. Examples of courses include engineering economies, manufacturing controls, auditing, quality auditing and planning, reliability, processing improvement and testing techniques.
According to the BLS, job opportunities for quality control inspectors, industrial production managers and industrial engineering technicians are expected to decline or see little to no change in the foreseeable future. An entry-level position as a quality control inspector can be secured with a high school diploma and on-the-job training, while technician and managerial positions call for an associate's or bachelor's degree. Because of the anemic projection for employment opportunities in the field, it's probably advisable to obtain one or more professional certifications in relevant areas.