Quality Engineering Certification and Education Requirements

Sep 17, 2019

A certified quality engineer is available to experienced engineers who are looking to advance in their career. Other than experience, the person seeking certification must also have a superb understanding of quality systems, mathematics, and the motivation to learn the finer details of quality engineering.

Essential Information

A certified quality engineer, or CQE, is responsible for quality control, usually in an industrial setting. Certified quality engineers receive certification from the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Certification is given according to years of experience, but specific degree programs can count towards those years.

Required Education and Experience Eight years of experience required; A bachelor's degree counts for four years while a master's degree counts for five
Required Skills Knowledge of quality systems, standards and regulations
Exam Requirements The American Society for Quality issues the five-hour multiple-choice exam
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% (Industrial engineers)*
Median Salary (2019) $67,921 (Quality engineers)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and **Payscale.com

Certification for Quality Engineers

Certification as a quality engineer is earned according to number of years the engineer has been on the job and amount of formal education. The certification process is based on the Certified Quality Engineer Body of Knowledge, which outlines specific areas of expertise. These include leadership and management, training in quality management systems (QMS), customer relations, communication skills and management of suppliers. The quality engineer must understand the quality system, quality standards and regulations.

A quality engineer must meet the certification requirements of eight years experience in order to sit for the certification exam. Successful completion of a degree program can be used to waive up to five years experience. The examination, offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), is given twice each year. The examination is based on the Certified Quality Engineer Body of Knowledge. It consists of 160 multiple choice questions in a 5-hour examination. The examination is in English only and is an open-book exam.

Educational Requirements

Necessary Skills

He or she must be skilled in documentation of quality systems. Quality engineers must have a good understanding of quality audits and know how to do one. A quality engineer must be experienced in continuous improvement. Good mathematical skills are imperative, as a quality engineer must analyze and understand data produced by statistical process control (SPC). Quality engineers plan and control experiments and must understand sample size, measurements and terminology.

Program Curriculum

Degree programs generally cover subjects that help a student move towards certification. An associate's degree program teaches basic skills and introduces a student to metrology, quality assurance techniques and statistical engineering. Successful completion prepares the graduate for entry into a bachelor's degree program. Earning an associate's degree counts as two of the eight years of experience required by the certification program.

A bachelor's degree program builds on skills learned in an associate's degree program. Students learn about production processes, the strengths of materials used in production and quality control statistics. The auditing process is discussed, and students are taught how to do quality auditing. An internship gives a student practical hands-on experience in quality assurance. Electives are required. Students study analytical geometry and calculus. Earning a bachelor's degree counts as four years of experience towards certification requirements.

A master's degree program teaches advanced skills and allows a quality engineer to waive five years experience on the certification exam. A typical master's degree program focuses on quality theories and concepts, various quality techniques and methods for improving quality in a manufacturing setting. Students are introduced to kaizen (continuous improvement), a component of lean manufacturing. Diagrams, histograms, prioritization matrices and charts are explored.

A typical curriculum for quality engineering certification will teach you about statistical engineering, metrology, quality theory and a host of other topics. Knowing the extensive education requirements for a quality engineering certificate in mind should help you decide if this is the best career choice for you.

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