Process Engineer Vs. Quality Engineer

Process and quality engineers deal with industrial production, whether they develop new means of manufacturing or audit those already in existence. They can be compared in other ways as well, particularly their education, salaries, job outlook projections, and duties.

Comparing Process Engineers to Quality Engineers

Although process engineers and quality engineers may both deal with mass-produced consumer items, the range of products they work with and the settings in which they complete their duties are often much different. Readers will explore their annual earnings, career growth projections, and main responsibilities, as well as the similarities between the degrees required for both careers.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Process Engineers Bachelor's Degree $71,433 8% (Chemical Engineers)
Quality Engineers Bachelor's Degree $67,022 6% (Engineers, all other)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Process Engineers vs. Quality Engineers

Both process and quality engineers spend time in industrial factories, though process engineers also spend time in scientific laboratories, and quality engineers sometimes work in office settings. Process engineers focus on developing innovative chemical processes to produce new consumer goods. Quality engineers, on the other hand, test products to find any defects or deviations. Importantly, process engineers may also deal with quality control as they create inventive ways to make stronger items, such as plastics and even concrete.

Process Engineers

Process engineers aim to improve a company's current products to make their production cheaper. They use chemical processes to produce medicine, foods, paper, and gasoline. Some laboratory experiments they conduct, like polymerization, lead to new forms of plastic. During their studies, these engineers chart chemical reactions, such as oxidization, to later analyze the results and develop ways to produce the same reactions in an industrial capacity. They specialize in ways to mix chemicals on a mass scale, design the layout for production lines and equipment, create safety procedures, and develop byproduct treatments. Process engineers normally have a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or a related field.

Job responsibilities of a process engineer include:

  • Studying new developments in chemistry and physics
  • Developing manufacturing equipment
  • Using chemicals to generate electrical currents used in electronics
  • Ensuring chemical processes meet environmental regulations

Quality Engineers

Quality engineers plan a company or industrial plant's inspection procedures, which leads to products that meet standards. These professionals should be familiar with both customer requirements and safety, while using knowledge of design concepts to ensure standards are met. In fact, they can earn a certification in top inspection procedures, including how to establish quality targets to maintain product standardization. Sometimes, their job includes auditing raw materials before they even become the product. The administrative portion of their responsibilities includes analyzing production statistics and validation test data to find issues with consistently failing products. Quality engineers will hold a bachelor's degree in engineering and often have extensive computer knowledge.

Job responsibilities of a quality engineer include:

  • Scheduling regular quality control testing
  • Utilizing computerized auditing systems
  • Meeting legal requirements for safety and quality
  • Maintaining testing equipment

Related Careers

Because you seem interested in a career as a process engineer, perhaps a position as a nuclear engineer may also interest you, as both make use of chemicals. Additionally, if you're curious about a job as a quality engineer, you could also research a career as a product manager, as both work with quality control.

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