Is becoming a quality control manager right for me?
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How to become a Quality Control Manager
Becoming a quality control manager involves education, experience, and professional certifications. Here is a snapshot of the pathway to the career:
The best degree for a quality control manager can vary, depending on the industry and specific job requirements. However, many quality control managers have a bachelor’s degree in a field closely related to quality control, such as:
Other relevant degrees for quality control managers may include:
- Business Administration – A degree in business administration provides a solid foundation in management, leadership, and organizational behavior, which can be useful for quality control managers who need to lead teams, manage projects, and implement quality control systems.
- Statistics – A degree in statistics can be beneficial for quality control managers who work in industries where statistical analysis is important, such as manufacturing or healthcare. This degree provides a strong foundation in statistical methods and tools for quality control, such as Six Sigma and Statistical Process Control (SPC), the use of statistical techniques to monitor and control a process or production method.
- Chemistry – A degree in chemistry can be useful for quality control managers who work in industries that involve chemical analysis, such as the pharmaceutical or food industries. This degree provides a strong foundation in chemical principles, analytical techniques, and laboratory procedures.
- Health Science – A degree in health science can be relevant for quality control managers who work in healthcare organizations. This degree provides a foundation in healthcare policy, quality management, and regulatory compliance.
- Environmental Science – A degree in environmental science can be relevant for quality control managers who work in industries that involve environmental monitoring or compliance, such as the energy or chemical industries. This degree provides a foundation in environmental regulations, risk assessment, and pollution prevention.
- Information Technology – A degree in information technology can be relevant for quality control managers who are responsible for ensuring the quality of a company’s IT infrastructure and assets.
- Construction Management – A degree in construction management can be useful for quality control managers who are responsible for controlling and evaluating construction work.
Quality control managers typically have several years of experience in quality control or related fields, such as manufacturing, production, or engineering. Completing internships or apprenticeships and/or working in a relevant entry-level position can help aspiring quality control managers gain knowledge of the industry and develop the analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills vital in the role.
There are several professional certifications that demonstrate knowledge and expertise in quality control and may be preferred by some employers. These certifications are among the most commonly pursued by quality control managers:
- Certified Quality Manager (CQM) – offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and designed to demonstrate a candidate's knowledge of quality management principles and practices
- Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) – offered by the ASQ and designed to demonstrate a candidate's knowledge of quality engineering principles and practices
- Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) – offered by the ASQ and designed to demonstrate a candidate's knowledge of auditing principles and practices related to quality management systems
- Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) – offered by the ASQ and designed to demonstrate a candidate's knowledge of the Six Sigma methodology for process improvement
- ISO 9001 Lead Auditor – offered by various organizations and designed to demonstrate knowledge of the ISO 9001 standard and auditing techniques
These certifications can be obtained by meeting specific education and experience requirements, passing a certification exam, and maintaining ongoing education or recertification requirements.
Some employers may require a master’s degree, an equivalent level of experience, and/or specific professional certifications relevant to their business needs.
Membership in Professional Organizations
There are several organizations for quality control managers, which can provide access to professional development opportunities, continuing education, and industry research and resources, as well as a network of like-minded professionals working in the field:
- American Society for Quality (ASQ) – a global community of quality control and related professionals that offers education, training, certifications, and conferences
- Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology – a professional society that provides resources and standards for individuals working in the fields of contamination control, environmental testing, and product reliability
- International Society of Automation (ISA) – a training and certification organization for professionals working in the fields of automation and control systems
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) – an organization that provides resources and support for professionals working in the manufacturing industry, including quality control managers
- Association for Operations Management (APICS) – a professional organization that provides resources and education for individuals working in the fields of supply chain and operations management, including quality control