In addition to a bachelor's degree in quality engineering, some students complete 4-year degrees in software design or computer science to complement their main field of study. Master's programs in quality assurance-related areas are now offered at many universities as well. Typically, a high school diploma or GED is necessary for entry into the undergraduate program while a bachelor's degree is expected for admission into a graduate program. Many degree programs offer students the chance to gain professional experience through supervised internships at local corporations.
After graduation, continuing education programs specific to quality assurance engineering may also be available. Quality assurance engineers can also become certified in their particular field.
Bachelor of Science in Quality Engineering
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Quality Engineering is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program designed to prepare students for either a career in the field or further education. Students learn how to identify issues and efficiently control and resolve those problems. Courses in quality engineering may include:
- Fundamentals of quality
- Technical documentation and inspection
- Information security
- Risk management
Master of Engineering Management
The Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M.) is a 2-year, graduate degree program that builds upon the knowledge gained in undergraduate engineering programs. Most programs give students the chance to concentrate their studies in quality assurance, and many programs require students to complete a graduate project or thesis before graduating. Students study a variety of advanced quality engineering subjects, including:
- Advanced quality control
- Engineering statistics
- Quality systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Depending on an employee's level of education, an assurance engineer can have different job titles. Quality control inspectors earned a median income of $36,000, and computer and information systems managers made a median salary of $131,600 as of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment opportunities for quality control inspectors is predicted to remain stagnant, while computer and information systems managers will see a faster-than-average 15% employment increase, between 2014 and 2024 according to the BLS.
There are many certification programs and workshops available for employees who wish to gain further professional development. Topics that may be covered in such workshop seminars include:
- Test methodology
- Quality assurance technology
- Quality assurance engineering education
- Cost control in quality assurance
Quality assurance engineers can complete a number of certifications offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), including the quality technician and quality inspector certifications. Engineers interested in becoming certified must have a certain amount of experience working in the field and pass a certification exam.
Students interested in quality assurance engineering can study the field at both the bachelor's and master's level. Upon completion of the degree program, pursuing a career as a quality control inspector or computer and information systems manager is ideal.