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Quality Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, statistics, biological sciences, manufacturing, decision science or related discipline
Average Salary: $72,000 per year
Job Outlook: Fair

Quality managers perform and oversee testing procedures on virtually all manufactured goods produced. Quality manager positions can be found throughout every sector of the economy from government, aerospace, retail, manufacturing, education, healthcare, and auto. Quality managers test products to see if they meet industry standards and have the required longevity of use. Rigorous testing procedures are used that require the use of specific tools and software.

Quality managers are involved in nearly all phases of the manufacturing process making sure products are compliant and reliable. They also perform in-depth analysis of the data they collect while testing to look for ways to improve the product and testing process.

Quality managers also oversee teams of quality assurance engineers, testers, and samplers. Some quality managers perform tests on very few different products while others test a wide range of products.

Education and Training Requirements

People interested in a career as a quality manager need to have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering, statistics, biological sciences, manufacturing, or a related major. Industry training requirements are ongoing as advances in manufacturing and technology occur on a regular basis requires the manager to constantly learn new skills. It is helpful to have a background in computer-aided drafting, blueprint and schematic reading, and laboratory procedures.

Getting the Job

For people who have the requisite education and/or experience it is fairly easy to break into the industry. Jobs are routinely posted on internet job sites, classified ads, quality control journals and publications, and state agency employment websites. It is recommended students participate in internships or externships to gain experience and make contacts within the industry. Quality managers must possess analytical skills, pay attention to details, and have the ability to manage subordinate employees. They must be very knowledgeable about industry standards and testing procedures.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The career outlook for quality managers is fair. Job growth is expected to occur as fast as the average job which is anywhere from 7-9% over the next decade. Factors that affect job growth include outsourcing of testing overseas, consumer spending, government spending, private sector spending, and research and development.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working conditions for quality managers vary depending on the industry. Their time is typically spent in the field performing tests and in an office environment performing administrative duties such as filing reports, analyzing data and dealing with personnel. Work conditions may be somewhat dangerous for those who perform tests in manufacturing plants and laboratories where accidents may occur. Many quality managers wear personal protective equipment while testing. The typical work week is forty hours, Monday-Friday.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a quality manager is $72,000 per year but varies greatly by geographic location, type of organization, and level of experience. Quality managers who work for federal agencies, aerospace companies, and large private organizations typically make the most lucrative salaries. It is not uncommon for quality managers to earn annual salaries above $100,000. Benefits typically include medical, dental, and retirement.

Where to Go for More Information

American Society for Quality (ASQ)
P.O. Box 3005
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3005

Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Grants and Debarment
Mail Code: 3901
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
(202) 564-5325

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
1, ch. de la Voie-Creuse,
Case postale 56
CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
+41 22 749 01 11

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness