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Quality Control Manager Job Description, Career as a Quality Control Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Bachelor's or master's degree

Salary Median—$71,683 per year

Employment Outlook Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Quality control managers are responsible for maintaining the quality and reliability of products and services. They are employed in fields ranging from aerospace and electronics to chemicals and pharmaceuticals, among many other industries. Some quality control managers are primarily concerned with determining whether finished products are of a specified quality. These specialists, often called quality assurance specialists, attempt to determine the causes of product defects that may be found. They then develop methods for reducing their occurrence.

Quality control managers inspect and test products at various stages in the production process. They establish testing procedures to determine a product's dimensions and its mechanical, electrical, or chemical characteristics. They also may set up and perform testing on materials, parts, or finished products to measure product performance under a variety of conditions. Quality control managers are responsible for the documentation of test results. A manager or statistician will usually prepare the data in the form of a graph or chart.

After products have been fully tested, quality control managers evaluate the data. They prepare summaries to show how the product might differ from existing standards of quality and reliability. They may suggest changes in how products are made to achieve the best quality possible. They may also recommend methods to minimize the amount of scrap, or leftover material, which is thrown away after a product has been manufactured. Areas in which quality control managers may specialize include product design, purchasing, inventory control, or research and development. In some companies, quality control managers may be involved in all of these areas.

Education and Training Requirements

Most quality control managers begin their careers as engineers or statisticians working in research and development. Then they move into quality control. You generally need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or a specific scientific field to become a quality control manager. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in quality or reliability technology. It usually takes four years to earn a bachelor's degree (four or five years in engineering) and another one or two years to earn a master's degree. You need to study for an additional two or three years to earn a doctoral degree. Some background in statistics is essential.

Getting the Job

College placement offices and faculty members may be able to provide you with job information. You can apply directly to private companies that hire quality control personnel, such as pharmaceutical or electronics manufacturing companies. In addition, you may find job openings in a wide variety of trade and professional journals, as well as in newspaper classifieds. State and private employment agencies may also be able to help you find a job.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Experienced quality control managers, especially those with advanced degrees, can be promoted to top positions in quality control management. They also can become independent consultants in the industry in which they have expertise.

The growth in positions for quality control managers is expected to be slower than average. However, specialists in this field will be needed in many areas of private industry to improve the quality and reliability of products and services, as well as to help reduce production costs.

Working Conditions

Working conditions for quality control managers vary depending on the industry in which they work. Many managers spend their time in offices and laboratories, where they may work with quality control inspectors, statisticians, and computer programmers. Quality control managers in some manufacturing fields may spend part of their time at noisy production sites. In some areas, they may have to wear protective clothing or goggles. The basic workweek for quality control managers is generally thirty-five to forty hours long.

Quality control managers should be skilled in using statistics and have technical expertise in their industry of employment. They must have the patience to carry out lengthy testing procedures and be good at detail-oriented work. Quality control managers must have excellent communication skills. They must be able to deal effectively with company personnel on levels ranging from assembly line workers to top management.

Where to Go for More Information

American Society for Quality
P.O. Box 3005
600 North Plankinton Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3005
(800) 248-1946

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries depend on education, experience, location, and the type of work performed. In February 2006 the median salary for quality control managers was $71,683. Benefits usually include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production