Is a Quality Assurance Degree Right for You?
Quality assurance incorporates scientific technology, management, quality concepts, and statistics. Knowledge of these subjects prepares students for careers in fields such as manufacturing, research, or product development, to name a few options. Strong analytical and communication skills are also important to success in this industry. Potential job opportunities may be available in both the public and private sectors.
Advice for Earning Your Quality Assurance Degree Online
Most online bachelor’s degree programs will allows students to log in at any time and from any location that works for them. They can then participate in discussions, catch up on readings, and turn in assignments without the limitations of scheduled class times. This is ideal for those hoping to switch career paths or advance with their current employer without leaving their full-time jobs.
If you’re interested in earning a quality assurance bachelors degree online, it’s important to look for a comprehensive and well-rounded program. One of the best indicators of quality is accreditation. You can research a school’s accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education’s database. This will ensure you are working towards a degree from a reputable school, that will be more likely to advance your career in this field.
Specific courses required in most online quality assurance degree programs include manufacturing processes, inspection methods and techniques, statistical process control, quality auditing, safety and reliability, and quality improvement, to name a few. In addition, students enrolled in this type of program should expect to complete lower-level general education courses in basic areas such as English, mathematics, natural science, and social science. Foundational courses in physics and calculus are also common in these types of programs. During the final phases of their course work, some programs provide students with the opportunity to complete internships.
Common Career Paths
Graduates may go on to work in a number of fields including manufacturing, development, or research. These job openings can be found in the public or private sectors. Below are a few examples of potential positions:
Quality Control Inspectors
Quality control inspectors analyze products and materials and look for defects or deviations from the desired standard. This may include monitoring operations, testing specific materials or products, reviewing blueprints and specifications, and filing inspection reports, among other duties. While a bachelor’s degree is not specifically required for this type of position, it certainly makes it easier to move into a management position. Quality control inspectors may opt to earn certification from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) to improve their potential for advancement as well.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the demand for quality control inspectors is only predicted to grow by 8% from 2010 to 2020. This is slower than the average growth rate of 14% anticipated for jobs overall. However, as workers retire or leave the field for other reasons, there will be openings in the manufacturing industry.
Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers monitor the daily operations of manufacturing facilities and other related plants. This can range from cars to computer equipment. Daily duties may include analyzing production data, supervising workers, writing production reports, monitoring adherence to performance and safety requirements, and ensuring production is run efficiently. In most cases, a bachelor’s degree is enough to enter this type of position, but some larger manufacturing facilities may look for candidates with master’s degrees. Professionals in this field can opt to earn certification from the Association for Operations Management or the American Society for Quality, though this is not mandatory.
The demand for industrial production managers is expected to increase by 9% from 2010 to 2020, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Most job openings in the field will be found with fabricated metal product and transportation equipment manufacturing. In 2011, the mean annual wage for individuals working in this occupation was $96,370. Please note, actual job availability and starting wages will vary based on level of experience, education, location, and the specific employer.
Construction and Building Inspectors
Construction and building inspectors work to ensure that newly built, renovated, or repaired building meet all local and national codes, ordinances, zoning laws, and contract specifications. They may review and approve plans, inspect buildings both during and after construction, monitor installations, and keep logs of project progress. While a bachelor’s degree is not always needed for this type of position, it can certainly improve your changes of moving to a management-level position more quickly. Most states do, however, require inspectors to earn licensure or certification. Specific requirements will vary by location.
Job prospects are strong for those interested in this occupation, with the demand for construction and building inspectors expected to increase by 18% from 2010 to 2020 according to the BLS. The mean annual wage for these workers was $54,970 as of 2011. Please note, though, that actual openings and salaries can and will differ based on a number of factors including educational background, experience, location, and the type of employer.