Quality Control and Assurance Technology

Quality control and assurance workers make sure that the products we use everyday, such as cars, clothes and medicines, are flawless and safe. Read on to learn more about educational options and requirements, earnings and the employment for quality control and assurance experts.

Is Quality Control and Assurance Technology for Me?

Career Overview

Quality control and assurance technology workers check materials and manufactured goods for flaws. Your duties might include monitoring production operations or observing a product's performance. You'll also test and measure goods and materials and reject the faulty ones. Quality control and assurance technology workers file inspection reports that are used by managers and executives to make decisions.

Career Options

The job of industrial production manager is another employment option in this field. As an industrial production manager, you'll implement quality control measures at manufacturing facilities and supervise other processes. Manufacturers in various industries employ most quality control inspectors and industrial production managers. You might also find work in government regulatory agencies, the armed forces or in the healthcare and service industries.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment opportunities for quality control inspectors would increase by just 6% nationwide, or slower than average, between 2012 and 2022. Minimal or no change in employment was expected for industrial production managers during the same 10-year period. In May 2013, the BLS also reported that inspectors earned median salaries of $34,940, and industrial production managers earned median annual salaries of $90,790 (www.bls.gov). According to PayScale.com in July 2014, the median annual salary for a quality control analyst was $48,108, while quality control managers earned $62,103 a year.

How Can I Work in Quality Control and Assurance Technology?

Educational Requirements

Quality control and assurance technology workers often receive training on the job according to the employer's needs. A high school diploma or GED will qualify you for many basic quality control jobs, such as inspector. Most industrial production manager jobs require a bachelor's degree in business administration or industrial engineering, as well as some work experience. You might need an advanced degree in industrial management or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to work for a larger manufacturer and hold greater supervisory duties.

Degree Programs

Associate degree programs in quality control management or a similar field may include topics in computer science, lean manufacturing and supply chain management. You'll also study communications, statistics and technical writing. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in quality assurance or quality management typically focus on management theories and statistical concepts. Course topics can include the study of measurement science, systems engineering, productivity and manufacturing systems; you might also receive training in accounting.

You could choose to advance your studies even further by earning a Doctor of Business Administration in Quality Systems Management. Program features include the opportunity to conduct independent research in quality control, after which you'll report and defend your results in a doctoral dissertation.

Required Skills

In general, quality control and assurance specialists need to be manually dexterous and physically strong. The ability to operate tools and testing equipment is key to working in the industry; an understanding of blueprints, mechanics and technical papers is also important in quality control.

Certification

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) awards professional certifications in 17 different categories. Requirements include designated levels of education and experience and a passing score on an exam (asq.org).

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