Quality assurance managers ensure that quality standards are met during the manufacturing of goods. They make sure that local laws are followed, analyze policies and procedures, and identify areas that need regulation within a company. A bachelor's degree is required, and, in a field with declining job opportunities, higher education may be helpful.
Manufacturers of all kinds need to ensure production quality. Quality assurance managers, sometimes known as industrial production managers, ensure that organizations adhere to established quality standards. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree in business administration or industrial engineering.
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Certification options available|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||1% for industrial production managers; 18% decline for quality control inspectors|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$103,380 for industrial production managers; $38,250 for quality control inspectors|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A quality assurance manager directs, creates and controls an organization's policies and procedures to ensure that its daily operations and products conform to their quality standards. Their job tasks may include reviewing laws relevant to the industry, analyzing current policies and procedures, identifying areas in an organization needing regulation and handling quality problems.
Specific job tasks differ depending on the industry in which the manager works. For example, a hospital quality assurance manager may implement hospital standards to ensure that the best care is provided to patients or may review reports to identify problematic procedures in need of alteration. An information technology quality assurance manager may identify software that can improve an organization's operations or may develop software testing. A quality assurance manager working in the farming industry may oversee purchasing procedures, maintain a processing plant's licensure and act as a liaison with government regulatory agencies.
Education and Certification
Certificate, associate degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree programs are available in the field of quality assurance. These programs may be designed to prepare individuals for entry-level work in quality assurance, or to build on existing work experience or education in a field like business, computer science or engineering. The curriculum in an associate's degree program usually covers topics like manufacturing materials and processes, inspection methods and quality planning. A bachelor's degree program may cover subjects such as electrical metrology, quality auditing and measurement science. Master's degree programs may include coursework in processing improvement and project management. Some bachelor's and master's degree programs are available entirely online.
Certification is not required to work in the field, but is available. The American Society for Quality offers the Certified Reliability Engineer, Certified Quality Engineer and Certified Quality Auditor credentials. The successful completion of an exam is required to become certified. Generally, these credentials must be renewed every three years.
Salary and job growth information is largely dependent upon an individual's experience and the sector in which they work. In many cases, job prospects are determined by expertise or education in a certain field, rather than just a quality assurance education. Quality assurance professionals in multiple fields may be required to hold a relevant bachelor's degrees.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) incorporates quality assurance duties into jobs in specific fields (www.bls.gov). For example, the job tasks of industrial production managers include assuring that quality standards are met. In most cases, these professionals are expected to hold a bachelor's degree in a related field, like business administration or industrial engineering. The BLS expects employment opportunities in this field to decline by 18% from 2018-2028.
With a decline from 2018-2028, applicants who want to work as quality assurance managers can gain practical experience through internships to help prepare to enter this career field and compete for available jobs. They'll need a bachelor's degree at minimum, and many managers earn master's degrees, along with professional certification from The American Society for Quality.