Every company needs to control the quality of its product or service. Quality assurance (QA) managers help businesses remain productive and profitable by implementing and monitoring programs that ensure continuous quality. Whether working in manufacturing, software development, healthcare delivery or retail, quality assurance managers are valued members of the business management team. Pursuing an MBA with a specialization in Project Management is a great way to begin a career as a quality assurance manager.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of quality assurance managers will see steady growth in coming years. Job prospects should be better in expanding areas, such as the environmental and biomedical sectors, as well as computer and software testing. Job seekers with strong business management skills could have an advantage.
Quality assurance managers lead a company’s efforts to maintain continuous product or service quality by implementing process controls, data analysis and measurement devices. In many firms, these professionals are also in charge of ISO 9001 certification, and must ensure that the designation is maintained by conducting inspections and performing audits. Typically, QA managers also oversee compliance to legal regulations.
Some additional duties a QA manager could fulfill include: developing and performing tests; implementing statistics and process control tools; directing and supervising vendor-supplied raw materials or partially-finished goods; and maintaining effective compliance and corrective action procedures.
In larger firms, the quality assurance manager might supervise a department, section or an entire plant. In this capacity, they are often responsible for recruiting, hiring and training staff. They may direct employees in matters of quality and inspection, and assist in disciplining personnel when standards are not met. Writing reports, surveys and quality audits for management or external clients is another important function of the quality assurance manager.
Depending on the industry, the QA manager maintains procedures and programs to ensure their company meets organizational and regulatory standards for proper function, safety, quality, and consumer acceptance. They may be required to oversee product recalls when products fail.
Quality assurance managers usually work in an office environment; depending on the employer, field or plant work may be required. A 40-hour week is standard. Travel to vendor locations or production faculties could be required.
According to national salary data on PayScale.com, as of January 2011, quality assurance managers earned a median total annual income of about $71,350, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $52,345 and $90,354 in total pay.
PayScale.com data also indicated that earning a master’s degree can significantly impact salaries. In fact, based on 75th percentile salary figures, earning an MBA boosted QA managers’ salaries to $94,615 per year, while those with a BS degree earned $87,429 per year.
Top salaries generally go to those with advanced education, certifications and experience.
Most employers prefer to hire quality assurance manager candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. Advanced degrees and professional education, particularly an MBA or Six Sigma certification, may give applicants an advantage.
The advanced business skills and knowledge required by top employers can be obtained by enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Project Management. Coursework typically includes strategic project management, organizational behavior, cases in applied project management and mastering project management.
Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Project Management are able to:
It takes highly-developed organizational, leadership and analytic skills to become a successful quality assurance manager. In addition, top employers seek strong data gathering and project management abilities. Pursuing an MBA with a specialization in Project Management can position you for success by giving you the knowledge and skills employers want, along with the confidence you need to land the best quality assurance manager job.