What is a Quality Engineer?
Quality engineers ensure products and services are of the highest quality. They often evaluate products and services through testing and statistical analysis. Companies try to create new and improved products and services; quality engineers help in this process by checking for efficiency and quality while still helping the companies maintain competitive prices. These engineers may work with the design, development, and/or manufacturing process of products. Here we explore different aspects of a quality engineer job description in more detail.
What Does a Quality Engineer Do?
Quality engineers problem-solve and communicate possible solutions to improve the quality of a range of products. They also must work with a wide range of staff members to discuss improvements and ways to implement changes. Specific quality engineer responsibilities may include tasks like:
- Developing quality control systems
- Auditing quality systems
- Administering management information systems
- Finding ways to increase productivity
- Decreasing waste
- Optimizing resources
- Writing action plans
- Ensuring compliance with regulations and policies
- Conducting audits
What is the Job Outlook for Quality Engineers?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not report the specific job outlook for quality engineers but did report a job outlook for the broader category of industrial engineers. These engineers had a job outlook of 8% from 2018 to 2028. This outlook is faster than average and equates to 23,800 new jobs in the field over this same time span.
What is a Quality Engineer Salary?
PayScale.com reported that the median annual salary for quality engineers was $68,366 as of December 2019. This salary could vary based on factors like skill set, location, and work experience. For example, PayScale.com also reported that quality engineers in San Diego, CA, made an average salary that was 22% higher than the national average. The website also reported that quality engineers with 20 years or more of experience made an average salary of $84,497.
How Do You Become a Quality Engineer?
Quality engineers must have a background in engineering. To get started, associate's degree programs in engineering are available, but most engineers, including industrial and quality engineers, need to have at least a bachelor's degree. Engineering colleges are available from New York to California and are typically offered at the bachelor's level. Aspiring quality engineers can pursue a degree in industrial engineering. Some industrial engineering programs may offer a minor in quality engineering.
Although it may not be required, master's degree programs in quality engineering are more common. These programs are usually offered as Master of Science (MS) degrees and may be available in online formats. Some of these programs may also include topics in management and might include courses in areas like:
- Quality assurance
- Project management
- Lean manufacturing
- Product and process design
- Experimental design
Quality Engineer Certification
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) also provides Quality Engineer Certification (CQE). To qualify, students need to have at least 8 years of work experience. Some work experience may be replaced with education. For example, those with a bachelor's degree can waive 4 years of work experience, while those with a master's degree can waive 5 years of experience. This professional certification may allow quality engineers to advance their careers and/or demonstrate competency in decision-making and quality evaluation and control.