Becoming a Quality Engineer – Roles, Qualifications, Salary and Career Paths
What is a Quality Engineer?
The term ‘quality engineer’ has been used in different ways by various industries, but some common definitions include:
1) A person who inspects or tests materials, components, equipment, or parts, including checking for defects, measuring dimensions and tolerances, and performing tests on samples.
2) An individual employed by an organization whose primary responsibility includes ensuring that the product meets customer requirements.
3) A specialist responsible for monitoring the development process. The focus is typically on meeting or exceeding specifications while minimizing cost.
4) A professional engineer specializing in quality engineering. Quality engineers use knowledge of science and mathematics to design structures, machines, devices, and systems so they will be safe, reliable, efficient, economical, and effective.
5) Someone who ensures that all parties involved are satisfied with the finished product. This usually requires working closely with suppliers, customers, clients and employees.
Most quality engineers have a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Science, Business Administration, or related field. However, there are also career opportunities available at other levels such as Senior Technical Specialist, Project Manager, and Senior Project Manager.
Becoming a Quality Engineer?
It can take years before you become a fully-fledged quality engineer. So if you think you might like to study and start a career in Quality Engineering, here are some key things to consider:
1) You need good people skills – being able to communicate effectively with others from different backgrounds is essential.
2) You will need a good understanding of statistics and mathematics.
3) You need to understand how manufacturing and production work.
4) You need to be adaptable and flexible.
5) You must demonstrate initiative and drive.
6) You need to have a clear understanding of what it takes to create high-quality products and deliver them on time.
7) You need to be willing to learn new methods and techniques.
8) You should enjoy problem-solving, taking risks and having fun while achieving company goals.
9) You should appreciate the importance of teamwork.
11) You need to be creative and innovative.
12) You need to be confident in managing time and deadlines.
13) You need to be familiar with testing tools and approaches.
Do you have what it takes to become a Quality Engineer?
Job Opportunities & Career Paths
There are plenty of job opportunities and career paths for quality engineers. Some of these include:
• Research – Quality engineers often specialize in research and analysis. While this may sound boring, it gives them a unique perspective when it comes to identifying problems and finding solutions.
• Development – Quality engineers play an essential role in determining which designs and materials should be implemented throughout the product lifecycle.
• Consulting – Quality engineers are often called upon to provide advice on improving processes and solving issues.
• Manufacturing – Quality engineers are involved in everything from developing specifications to inspecting finished goods. The more senior the position, the broader the scope of responsibilities.
• Testing and Inspection – Quality engineers conduct inspections and testing at every production stage to make sure the final product meets the agreed specification.
• Process improvement – This involves identifying problems with existing processes or equipment, determining if they can be improved, and then improving them as needed.
• Certification – Once a product reaches its final form, it must undergo certification. It may be tested, inspected, and certified by several agencies to get approval and release onto the market.
• Sales and Marketing – Quality engineers help to promote a brand’s image and ensure customers receive top-notch service. This includes helping to make sure products are delivered on time and meeting customer demands.
• Regulatory Compliance – Regulations vary between countries, aiming to protect consumers and workers. To achieve compliance, companies need to design their products so that they do not pose any risk to consumers or employees. Quality engineers play an essential part in ensuring this happens.
There are many possibilities when it comes to becoming a quality engineer.
To become a quality engineer, you need to have an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field and several years of experience working in a similar position. A thorough understanding of mathematics and problem solving is essential because these will be used frequently throughout your career. You also must have excellent communication skills and good organizational abilities, which will be important throughout your career.
Typical Salary of a Quality Engineer
According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for a quality engineer in the United States is $81,000 per year. However, compensation varies depending on company size, location and other factors.
Indeed.com puts this value at $77,000 per year.
Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) certification
ASQ offers a variety of certifications, including the Certified Quality Engineer credential. Although there are many different types of credentials available, most employers prefer candidates who hold one or more of them. The CQE exam requires applicants to answer 160 quality engineering principles and practices questions. Candidates who pass the test receive a certificate validating their knowledge and skills.