What Is the Typical Job Description for a Quality Assurance Manager?

Quality assurance managers are responsible for ensuring every product or service offered by a company abides by strict standards. Keep reading to find out about the job duties, training requirements and potential salary for this profession. Schools offering Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Quality Assurance Manager?

QA managers make sure that products and services are safe for public use, meet standards set by the company and adhere to any required government regulations. Generally, as a QA manager, you'll oversee quality inspectors and testers that provide evaluation for a variety of products, such as food, software or manufactured items. Though inspection employees might focus on a single product produced by a company, as a QA manager, you'll need to be familiar with a company's entire range of products and services to supervise effectively.

What Will My Duties Be?

In a management position, you'll make sure that QA staff implement and follow quality control guidelines and policies. This ensures that the department meets its responsibilities in handling all product specifications safely and accurately. As a manager, you might provide testing services yourself, though you'll primarily act as a liaison between corporate offices and product development departments.

You'll also ensure that products or services meet any federal, state or local government safety or quality standards. Subordinate employees might perform the actual testing and inspecting the products and making necessary adjustments, but you will ultimately be responsible for their work. For example, if you oversee food inspectors,you'll need to be knowledgeable of specific regulations required to avoid food-borne illnesses and transmittable diseases. Because you're generally responsible for the quality and defects of the products made, it might be up to you to handle customer complaints and address any training issues with staff or corporate executives.

What Are the Job Requirements?

Since several industries, including manufacturing, medical, technology and agriculture, employ quality control techniques, your educational background can vary based on your professional interest. The most commonly requested degree level was a bachelor's degree, according to several Monster.com job postings in April 2011. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 69% of quality assurance inspectors and managers work in manufacturing, making an engineering major helpful in understanding fabrication and production processes (www.bls.gov). Although several employers preferred QA experience for management-level positions, some business administration courses could also provide an advantage for advancement.

Additionally, as a QA manager, you should have understanding of Total Quality Management (TQM) practices and techniques. TQM defines a set of guidelines aimed at advancing management policies so that business can be more productive and efficient. The guidelines form the basis of the quality management job philosophy. Several schools offer certificate and degree programs in business administration with courses in TQM.

What Kind of Salary Could I Make?

O*Net, the U.S. Department of Labor's career database, reported that quality control systems managers made an annual median salary over $85,000 as of May 2009 (www.onetonline.org). However, the organization's predictions for the future of the profession showed a decline of 3%-9% between 2008-2018. The BLS stated that quality inspectors primarily found work through employment services agencies, but a significant number also worked in the aerospace, plastics, electronics and automobile industries.

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