Master's in Quality Engineering programs cover a variety of industrial practices in quality control (QC), such as organizational management and process improvement. Students in these programs learn how to troubleshoot quality control processes, research manufacturing issues, and audit quality assurance protocols. Students also learn about behavioral factors that affect manufacturing and quality control processes. Specialization options include ISO 9000 and Six Sigma. Some programs are designed to prepare students specifically for certification in Quality Engineering, Quality Auditing, or Quality Management. Prior to graduation, students must submit a final project.
In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field, and some programs require students to have previous work experience in an engineering setting. Some programs are available online.
Quality Engineering Master's Degree
Most programs require students to complete 30 credit hours of coursework. Some of these courses train students to visualize the quality control process using block, matrix, and tree diagrams, which helps students understand the role of employees and the feedback mechanisms that facilitate the delivery of consistent products. Other course topics include:
- Quality management
- Organizational transformation
- Quality control audits
- QC strategies
- Presentation skills
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4% decline in job opportunities for industrial production managers from 2014 to 2024, most likely because of increased industrial productivity and job outsourcing to other countries. As of May 2015, the mean annual income for these professionals was $103,720.
According to BLS data, the average salary for industrial engineers was $86,990 in May 2015. Employment for these professionals is expected to see little or no change with a 1% increase from 2014 to 2024. There will likely be more retirements over the next decade, opening up more positions in the field.
Alternatively, graduates who want to pursue careers in research may seek entry-level engineering research positions. They may also seek further education by enrolling in a Ph.D. program in engineering.
Overall, a master's degree in quality engineering provides the quality control expertise and management training that students need to pursue leadership positions in the manufacturing industry.