Students interested in quality engineering programs will typically only find online options at the master's degree level. Even then, the programs are typically broader in scope than just quality engineering, and will most likely be offered with a concentration option in quality engineering. To be accepted, an applicant must typically hold a bachelor's degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering program. Additionally, students may be required to complete a research project prior to graduation.
Engineers must typically be certified and licensed to work, and quality engineers can obtain voluntary certification through organizations like the American Society for Quality. Postsecondary programs do not offer certification, but can prepare individuals to pass the demanding requirements of such certifying bodies.
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Master's Degree in Quality Engineering
Most online programs in quality engineering are broad degrees in professional practice or general engineering, with an emphasis in quality. Most of these programs are designed or intended for working engineering professionals looking to transition into management or quality careers.
Program Information and Requirements
Online degree programs may be delivered through forums and online content management systems, such as Blackboard, or may include lecture videos delivered on DVD or via the Internet. Most programs require at least 30 credits total, with more than half of those credits based on engineering courses.
Common Quality Engineering Master's Courses
Most online master's degree programs have a few core courses in engineering or management. Program courses vary significantly based on the focus of program, whether on process development, quality assurance or another aspect of quality control.
Engineering Probability and Statistics
This course helps aspiring quality control managers learn the statistical methodologies commonly used in the industry. Students learn how to come to conclusions about manufacturing process through the collection and analysis of data. Topics covered include probability distributions, experiment setup, confidence intervals, statistical software and more.
Quality management is a course that looks at the current theories for developing quality improvement projects. Students learn how to gauge the efficacy of their efforts in a business environment. Topics include Total Quality Management (TQM), project planning and more.
Quality Management Research Project
Many programs include a course that allows students to pursue independent research in the quality engineering field under the guidance of an engineering professor. These programs vary in their implementation and may involve real world scenario with the student's current employer.
Many online master's degree programs are designed to prepare students for a number of industry certification. Such certifications include the Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) and the Certified Manager of Quality (CMQ), both administered by the American Society for Quality (www.asq.org). Certification exams such as these technically require no education but demand that student possess a significant amount of study and experience in the quality engineering and management fields.
Students who decide to pursue graduate studies in the field of quality engineering will be able to complete programs online, if they choose to. These programs may be more generalized and have a specialization or focus in quality engineering.