Pros and Cons of a Career in Quality Control Management
The field of quality control management concerns the efficiency of how products are made and the quality of produced items. Have a look at the following pros and cons to see if this career is for you.
|Pros of Becoming a Quality Control Manager|
|Relatively high median hourly wage in 2014 ($44.46)** when compared to the national median hourly rate of all occupations in the same year ($17.09)***|
|Quality control managers can improve career and salary potential through certification programs*|
|Multiple different career specialties and paths to enter the profession*|
|Cons of Becoming a Quality Control Manager|
|Between the years of 2012 and 2022, quality control manager positions are expected to grow slower than average**|
|Most opportunities exist in the manufacturing industry, so positions may be limited in areas with few production plants|
|Certification for quality control managers through the American Society for Quality (A.S.Q.) requires at least 10 years of career experience in a related field*|
|Meticulous data analysis and working mechanical knowledge required**|
Sources: *American Society for Quality (ASQ), **O*Net Online, ***U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job Description and Duties of a Quality Control Manager
Quality control managers, also known as 'quality assurance managers', 'supervise inspectors', and 'quality assurance workers' work to ensure the uniform quality of products produced. They also compile statistics and percentages of defective products to present to upper-level management, identify product quality expectations for different parts of the production process to ensure that standards have been met, use software programs to track the quality of produced products and recommend changes to increase production efficiency or product quality.
Many positions in the field are within the manufacturing industry. You may increase your potential for securing a particular position if you have additional knowledge of the product that a company produces. For example, a company that produces dietary supplements may prefer a candidate who has knowledge of nutrition or dietary supplement analyses in addition quality control management experience.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS expects quality control manager positions to slightly decrease in growth between 2012 and 2022. However, although automation from advanced technologies can reduce the need for some quality control managers, there are still many job functions that cannot be computerized, such as inspection, performance evaluation or appearance review of the product. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014 quality control systems managers earned a median annual salary of $92,470.
What are the Requirements to Become a Quality Control Manager?
Quality control managers can potentially work their way up from an entry-level inspection or sampling position after gaining experience working at the employer's manufacturing site. However, individuals who seek to enter the field at the managerial level must typically complete a bachelor's degree program. Employers usually prefer candidates with a degree in engineering, manufacturing or science, although there is no universally required field of study. Employers may also accept a degree in a field related to their type of manufacturing, such as chemistry or chemical manufacturing. Some accredited universities also offer quality control management degrees at the bachelor's degree level.
Top Skills for Quality Control Managers
Although there is wide variety in the educational background necessary for working in quality control management, there are specific set of career skills that employers seek in candidates. Additionally, most managerial positions require a few years, ranging from 5-10 years, of experience in the field. These job postings found in April 2012 illustrate the qualities sought in quality control management candidates:
- A packaged goods production plant in Virginia is looking for a candidate with working knowledge of the equipment used to produce packaging products.
- A dietary supplement company in California seeks a quality control manager able to analyze test results and propose solutions for improvement.
- One food service corporation in Texas needs a quality control manager who is able to manage employees and follow safe-food guidelines.
How to Stand Out in the Field
If you are interested in the field of quality control management, you may consider starting your career as an inspector. This way, you may be able to learn more about the field as you work your way up to a management position. These skill preferences were included in several job postings for quality control managers found in April, 2012:
- Great attention to detail
- Ability to use, service and maintain production and testing equipment
- Proficient in computer technology
- Possess excellent communication skills
Becoming certified can help you secure a position because it shows employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the field. It may also provide you with leverage to request a higher salary. The American Society for Quality (A.S.Q.) offers certification for quality control managers. To become certified, you must have at least 10 years of experience. However, completion of an accredited degree program can waive 1-5 years of the required minimum experience.
Alternative Career Paths
If you choose to work in the field of quality control, but do not wish to be in a supervisory position, you might consider becoming a quality control inspector. Job duties of a quality control inspector include measuring products, monitoring production equipment and tracking results. These workers may need a high school degree, but the specific educational requirements vary by position and responsibilities. The wages for this position are considerably less than those for a quality control manager because quality control inspectors are usually considered an entry-level position. The BLS reports that, in 2011, these workers earned a median hourly wage of $16.36. The BLS expects job opportunities in the field to grow at a slower-than-average pace between 2010 and 2020.
You can also work as a construction and building inspector. The BLS states that, in 2011, these workers earned a median hourly rate of of $25.57. Construction and building inspectors are responsible for ensuring that local and federal building codes are met. This career requires a minimum of a high school degree or a two-year associate's degree in building safety or related field. The BLS expects construction and building inspector positions to grow faster than the average between 2010 and 2020.