Master's degree programs in quality control are rare, but there are a few online-only master's programs that include coursework in quality control. These programs are usually master's programs in quality assurance or quality management, but other degree programs, such as business administration and human environmental sciences, may offer concentrations in quality control or quality management as well.
Many of these programs can be completed totally online. Students can view lessons and complete assignments when their schedules allow, within set guidelines. They can interact with instructors and classmates through online chat functions, message boards and e-mail. Admissions requirements vary, but usually call for a bachelor's degree, preferably in a relevant field.
In these programs, students take courses that give them a foundational knowledge of quality control. These courses may include statistics, reliability, quality function management and human factors in quality assurance. Other courses depend upon the student's career goals and could include courses in customer service, team dynamics and measurement and testing. Many programs require a research project.
Master's Degree in Quality Control
Graduate-level instruction in the area of quality control is commonly found within degree programs in quality assurance or quality management. Master of Science in Quality Assurance programs with concentrations in service and health care or manufacturing are available through entirely online means. Project quality management and consumer quality management programs also exist online as concentrations within Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Human Environmental Sciences programs. Since a high school diploma is considered sufficient for most quality control workers, college programs involving quality control are rare, especially at the master's degree level. Students gain advanced administrative skills and learn how to develop quality control programs to help an organization achieve continuous improvement.
Program Information and Requirements
A master's degree in quality assurance or management can be completed in 30-45 credit-hours. It is available entirely online through the use of distance-learning course management systems such as Blackboard or NetEd. Online materials are presented asynchronously giving students the flexibility to view lectures, work on assignments and participate in discussions at any time as long as certain deadlines are met. Students interact with their instructors and peers through the use of Internet-based message boards and e-mail.
The curriculum of a master's degree in quality assurance or management is composed of core major classes, concentration classes (if applicable) and a small amount of quality-related electives. A master's capstone project or thesis is required as the culmination of the program to demonstrate acquired skills and knowledge.
Quality Assurance and Management
This course examines the main ideas, theories, tools and skills involved with administrating, supervising and boosting the quality of an organization's products and services. It also identifies and analyzes quality management systems such as Total Quality Management, Six Sigma and ISO 9000 as methods for achieving continuous improvement. Lecturers discuss project management techniques and their influence on quality.
Human Factors and Team Dynamics in Quality Assurance
Students learn how to create and manage a team of workers in a way that produces the highest quality products and services. They study the effects of human performance on quality assurance. Other topics include risk management, human-operator constraints and team-building exercises.
Customer Service and Satisfaction
Lessons consider the objectives and networks of customer relations as well as their importance to a business organization. Students think about the needs of the consumer and techniques for keeping the customer happy. They assess quality control tests and measures as effective strategies for developing positive customer relations.
A master's degree program for quality assurance or management is designed to help professionals achieve career advancement in fields as diverse as engineering, health care, science and the service industries. One possible career title is industrial production manager. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2015, there were 169,390 industrial production managers earning an average yearly salary of $103,720. The BLS predicted an occupational decline of 4% between the years 2014 and 2024 for industrial production managers due to the increasing reliance of automation in the workplace (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Several programs provide continuing education in the field of quality assurance and management. They often deal with quality assurance within a specific field, such as nuclear quality assurance, software testing or quality assurance in higher education. Such continuing education programs are available online, but they are more prevalent in physical locations.
Trained professionals looking to increase their understanding of the principles of quality control have several online master's degree options to choose from, all of which offer advanced production-related training that can be applied in a wide range of fields. Because time constraints in these programs are minimal, they are ideal for workers who are balancing the degree with a full-time work schedule.