Quality Management Degrees and Certificates

Programs in quality management are offered at the undergraduate certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, graduate certificate and master's degree levels. Here you will find detailed information about each program and possible job prospects.

Essential Information

Quality management, sometimes referred to as quality control or quality assurance, is a management style designed to assure quality in all organizational processes. Certificate and degree programs teach students the basics of the field and can prepare them for positions that involve improving the quality of products or services through modifications in response to customer feedback.

Prerequisites include undergraduate coursework in statistics, physics, math, science, engineering, or business, documented proficiency in statistical methods as well as GRE/GMAT scores. A capstone project, thesis, or internship may also be required.

Undergraduate Certificate

Community colleges, technical schools and continuing education departments of 4-year institutions offer undergraduate certificates in quality management. These programs develop students' management abilities in quality-oriented settings through several focused courses. Classes emphasize positive change and improved efficiency within an organization. Problem solving is a recurring theme in many quality management certificate programs, and students can expect to explore the following additional topics:

  • Corrective actions
  • Problem identification
  • Quality systems
  • Improvement plans

Associate Degree Programs in Quality Management

Degree options at this level include the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Quality Assurance, AAS in Industrial Quality Management, AAS in Water Quality Management and more. Students will be introduced to the basic principles and terminology of statistical quality management and total quality management. Students also study math, statistics and other general courses. Graduates with quality management training at the associate degree level can find positions developing and managing policies and procedures that guarantee quality for a company's brand image and products or services. The curriculum of quality management and assurance programs at this level include applications, principles, basic elements and other areas. The following are examples of common course topics:

  • Value engineering
  • Computer applications
  • Manufacturing
  • Industry transformation

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Quality Management

The Bachelor of Science (BS) with a quality management concentration and Bachelor of Manufacturing Management (BMM) in Quality Management are two examples of undergraduate programs that provide a 4-year quality management degree. The quality management curriculum in a bachelor's degree program assists students in developing the technical knowledge used in the field. Students take courses in both statistical quality management and total quality management. Manufacturing processes and the authenticity, normalization and certification of quality products or services are also covered. The following are examples of the core and elective course material:

  • Statistics
  • Compliance methods
  • Marketing
  • Strategic management
  • Advanced quality control

Graduate Certificate in Quality Management

Those who have a bachelor's degree in a number of areas might be interested in a graduate-level quality management certificate. Many people who enroll in such programs are already working as quality management professionals in the engineering, science and manufacturing fields, among others. These programs teach students the quality management methods used in governmental and industrial settings. Students will explore the fundamental concepts of quality management and will also take some elective courses. Possible elective topics may include these:

  • Engineering statistics
  • Project planning
  • Project policy
  • Applied quality management

Master's Degree Programs in Quality Management

Master's programs in quality management, such as the Master of Science (MS) in Quality Management and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Quality Management, focus more on the theoretical aspects and issues of quality control. Graduates with quality management master's degrees can find careers within a variety of different organizations where they will design, implement and monitor quality control programs throughout the production process or customer experience. The graduate-level quality management training is achieved through courses in areas such as process improvement, statistical and quality techniques, organization, as well as classes covering:

  • Project engineering
  • Human factors in quality control
  • Quality auditing
  • Supply chain management
  • Quality planning

Career Options

Though an undergraduate certificate alone won't qualify individuals for high-level management positions, it may serve as a credential for obtaining entry-level supervisory positions in retail or manufacturing. Possible jobs are as follows:

  • Shift supervisor
  • Team leader
  • Quality technician

Associate degree training in quality management prepares graduates for entry-level quality control and assurance positions. Students will develop the experience needed for quality management careers through such positions as the following:

  • Product weight assistant
  • Manufacturing inspector
  • Production test technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree in quality management can find careers as quality control managers. These professionals' responsibilities include the adherence to quality programs based on the policies and procedures they develop and maintain. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of jobs for quality control inspectors will have little or no change from 2014 to 2024. For industrial production managers, job growth is expected to decrease by 4% during this time. These professionals earned a median salary of $93,940 in 2015, reported the BLS.

Depending whether an individual is seeking an entry-level supervisory position or higher level management positions, undergraduate and graduate certificate programs as well as undergraduate and graduate degree programs in quality management are available.

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