What Is the Typical Job Description for a Quality Assurance Manager?

Research what it takes to become a quality assurance manager. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

QA managers make sure that products and services are safe for public use, meet standards set by the company and adhere to any required government regulations. Generally, as a QA manager, you'll oversee quality inspectors and testers that provide evaluation for a variety of products, such as food, software or manufactured items. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career as a quality assurance manager is right for you.

Degree Required High school diploma, bachelor's degree required by some employers
Training Required On-the-job training common
Key Skills Dexterity, math, mechanical, physical stamina, and technical skills
Certification Required Not required, but the American Society for Quality offers various certifications including Certified Quality Inspector
Job Growth (2012-2022) 6% for all quality control inspectors*
Median Salary (2014) $92,470 for all quality control systems managers**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online.

What Will My Duties Be?

In a management position, you'll make sure that QA staff implement and follow quality control guidelines and policies. This ensures that the department meets its responsibilities in handling all product specifications safely and accurately. As a manager, you might provide testing services yourself, though you'll primarily act as a liaison between corporate offices and product development departments.

You'll also ensure that products or services meet any federal, state or local government safety or quality standards. Subordinate employees might perform the actual testing and inspecting the products and making necessary adjustments, but you will ultimately be responsible for their work. For example, if you oversee food inspectors,you'll need to be knowledgeable of specific regulations required to avoid food-borne illnesses and transmittable diseases. Because you're generally responsible for the quality and defects of the products made, it might be up to you to handle customer complaints and address any training issues with staff or corporate executives.

What Are the Job Requirements?

Since several industries, including manufacturing, medical, technology and agriculture, employ quality control techniques, your educational background can vary based on your professional interest. The most commonly requested degree level was a bachelor's degree, according to several Monster.com job postings in April 2011. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 69% of quality assurance inspectors and managers work in manufacturing, making an engineering major helpful in understanding fabrication and production processes (www.bls.gov). Although several employers preferred QA experience for management-level positions, some business administration courses could also provide an advantage for advancement.

Additionally, as a QA manager, you should have understanding of Total Quality Management (TQM) practices and techniques. TQM defines a set of guidelines aimed at advancing management policies so that business can be more productive and efficient. The guidelines form the basis of the quality management job philosophy. Several schools offer certificate and degree programs in business administration with courses in TQM.

What Kind of Salary Could I Make?

O*Net, the U.S. Department of Labor's career database, reported that quality control systems managers made an annual median salary over $92,000 as of May 2014 (www.onetonline.org). The BLS predicted that jobs would grow at a 6% rate between 2012-2022 for all quality control inspectors. The BLS stated that quality inspectors primarily found work through employment services agencies, but a significant number also worked in the aerospace, plastics, electronics and automobile industries.

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