Study Quality Control: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a quality control degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Quality Control Bachelor's, Associate & Online Degrees at a Glance

Also known as 'quality assurance,' quality control ensures that raw resources used in the manufacturing of items used or consumed by humans or animals are safe and meet government standards and regulations. An associate or bachelor's degree in quality control can lead to careers as quality control analysts and engineers, environmental health and safety specialists, quality assurance auditors, and validation engineers and technicians in the manufacturing, food production, aviation, energy production, pharmaceuticals and construction industries. Despite the variety of industries served by those with an associate or bachelor's degree in quality control, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs requiring such degrees, including quality control inspectors and occupational health and safety specialists, will experience slower than average growth between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov).

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in a career in ensuring the safety of manufactured products Individuals who want to incorporate technology, management principles, statistical tools and quality control to ensure better-produced products and workplace safety.
Common Career Paths (with mean annual wages) - Quality Control Inspector ($36,690)*
- Regulatory Affairs Specialist ($60,740)*
Time to Completion 4 to 5 semesters full time 8 semesters or 4 years full time
Common Graduation Requirements - 63 to 68 credit hours
- Some programs may require a practicum
- 120 credit hours
-Some programs may require an internship or capstone project\
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED certificate High school diploma or GED certificate
Online Availability None found at this time Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 figures)

Associate Degree in Quality Control

Students enrolled in an associate's degree quality control program can specialize in a variety of heavily regulated industries, including manufacturing, food production, aviation, energy production, healthcare and construction. Some programs also require that students complete a practicum.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Quality control jobs are available in a wide-range of industries
  • Quality control jobs are ideal for those who are detail-oriented and like analyzing and problem solving
  • In a practicum, you receive hands-on work experience

Cons

  • The BLS predicts that jobs requiring an associate degree will grow slower than average between 2010 and 2020
  • Jobs in quality control often require working in stressful and strenuous conditions involving heavy equipment and loud noises
  • Jobs require extensive amounts of analysis and problem solving, which may be stressful

Courses and Requirements

Students seeking an associate degree in quality control take courses in statistics, testing and measurement, blueprint reading, auditing, codes and regulations. However, other courses vary depending on the program's focus industry, and may include classes like:

  • Applications for microcomputers
  • Aircraft inspection
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Corrective actions for the nuclear industry
  • Coaching and teaching

Online Degree Options

Online associate degree programs in quality control from an accredited university currently are not offered at this time. Attending an on-campus program allows you to interact with professors while honing your inspection and analysis skills.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

To stand out with your degree, consider joining the student section of the American Society for Quality. Membership in this association provides you with networking opportunities that could make finding employment after graduation easier.

Additionally, consider completing courses about the uses of computers in quality control. Classes concerning computer statistical methods or computer statistical applications will provide you with knowledge of how to use computer programs to complete quality control tasks. This knowledge may make you more attractive to employers.

Bachelor's in Quality Control

Bachelor's degree quality control programs allow you to specialize in a number of heavily regulated industries such as manufacturing, food production, aviation, energy production, healthcare and construction. In addition to general education courses, most programs require basic statistics courses as well as courses in a specialized area of study of your choice. You may also need to complete an internship and capstone project.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • With a bachelor's degree and 15 years of experience, you can become a quality control executive making a median salary of $157,154 without needing a master's degree*
  • Those with a bachelor's in quality control can specialize in a number of different industries and have a number of different jobs to choose from
  • Jobs in quality control are ideal for someone who is detail oriented

Cons

  • The BLS predicts that jobs requiring a bachelor's degree will experience only average growth between 2010 and 2020
  • You may need to work in your particular industry for several year in a non-quality control position before qualifying for a job directly related to quality control
  • The industries requiring those with a bachelor's in quality control are highly regulated and the regulations are constantly changing, potentially causing a stressful work environment

Source: *Salary.com (2012 figures)

Courses and Requirements

Students in quality control bachelor's degree programs take courses specific to their chosen industry focus. Many programs also include a capstone project and internship. Courses in these programs may include:

  • Food safety
  • Quality management
  • Managerial finance
  • Leadership
  • Manufacturing processes

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree programs in quality control are available. However, these industry focus of these programs is often limited, resulting in the possibility of your area of industry not being offered online.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

In addition to joining networking groups, to stand out with your degree, consider completing courses in business finance and accounting. Being knowledgeable about the factors that affect business finances could make you more attractive to employers.

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