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Working As a Product Quality Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Product Quality Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Product Quality Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Product Quality Engineer Career Paths

Product Quality Engineer
Senior Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Systems Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Quality Engineer Quality Manager
Corporate Quality Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager Quality Manager
Project Quality Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Quality Manager Production Manager Manufacturing Manager
Lean Manufacturing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager
Senior Program And Engineering Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Quality Engineer Quality Engineer Supplier Quality Engineer
Supplier Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Quality Engineer Quality Engineer Senior Quality Assurance Engineer
Quality Assurance Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Quality Engineer Quality Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Operations Program Manager Manufacturing Manager
Manufacturing Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Supplier Quality Engineer Senior Quality Assurance Engineer Manager, Quality Engineer
Director Of Quality & Engineering
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Supplier Quality Engineer Senior Quality Assurance Engineer Project Quality Manager
Quality Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Production Supervisor Production Manager Manufacturing Manager
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Production Supervisor Quality Supervisor
Assistant Manager Of Quality
6 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Factory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Project Manager-Manufacturing
9 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Product Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Manufacturing Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Product Engineer Product Engineering Manager
New Product Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Production Supervisor Production Superintendent
Launch Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Product Engineer Engineering Supervisor Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Supervisor Production Manager Continuous Improvement Manager
Manager Of Operations Excellence
10 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Product Engineer 3.5 years
Quality Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Product Quality Engineer
Engineer 4.0%
Internship 3.6%
Top Careers After Product Quality Engineer
Manager 2.7%

Do you work as a Product Quality Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$81,000
Show Salaries
$63,000
Min 10%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Pleasanton, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does a Product Quality Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Product Quality Engineer in the United States is $81,082 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $63,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $104,000.

Real Product Quality Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Product Quality Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 10, 2011 $155,000
Senior Product Quality Engineer Gopro, Inc. San Mateo, CA Aug 24, 2016 $130,000
Product Quality Engr 3 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Mar 07, 2016 $128,232 -
$135,100
Senior Product Quality Engineer Belkin International, Inc. Vista, CA Apr 14, 2016 $121,248
Quality Product Engineer Rocket Software Waltham, MA May 18, 2016 $120,910 -
$122,110
Product Quality Engr Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 18, 2016 $120,000 -
$140,000
Quality Product Engineer Aryston, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 30, 2013 $119,105
Product Quality Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 03, 2015 $115,000 -
$129,900
Quality Engineer-Mobilevideo Products Skype, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Oct 01, 2011 $115,000
Quality Engineer Mobile Video Products Microsoft Corporation Palo Alto, CA Jan 30, 2012 $115,000
Senior Product Quality Engineer Belkin International Inc. Vista, CA Jun 09, 2014 $110,000 -
$120,000
Product Quality Engineer Leader Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials CMP, Inc., A Subsidiary of The Dow Newark, DE Apr 27, 2016 $105,123 -
$152,652
Senior Product Quality Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 30, 2011 $102,500
Senior Product Quality Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Mar 01, 2010 $100,000
Product Quality Engineer Philips Medical Systems (Cleveland), Inc. Highland Heights, OH Jul 31, 2016 $91,795 -
$128,300
Senior Product (Customer) Quality Engineer RF Micro Devices, Inc. Greensboro, NC Sep 03, 2013 $91,602
Quality and Productivity Engineer (Instructor) Bank of America N.A. Charlotte, NC Oct 01, 2009 $91,000 -
$121,000
Product Quality Engineer Nutanix, Inc. San Jose, CA Feb 18, 2014 $91,000
Product Quality Engineer-HPS Schlumberger Technology Corporation Sugar Land, TX Dec 24, 2012 $90,150
Product Quality Engineer Palantir Technologies Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 01, 2014 $90,000
Product Quality Verification Engineer Third Wave Systems Eden Prairie, MN Aug 08, 2016 $89,900
Specialist, Product and Process Quality Engineer Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation San Diego, CA Aug 21, 2011 $88,899 -
$127,100
Product Engineer-Quality TRW Automotive, Inc. Washington, MI Jul 20, 2015 $79,102
Quality Product Engineer Rocket Software, Inc. Waltham, MA Jan 10, 2016 $78,600
Product Quality Engineer Third Wave Systems Eden Prairie, MN Jul 13, 2016 $78,395
Product Quality Engineer Philips Medical Systems (Cleveland), Inc. Highland Heights, OH Oct 01, 2012 $77,700 -
$128,300
Product Quality Engineer Philips Medical Systems (Cleveland), Inc. Highland Heights, OH Jul 31, 2013 $77,700 -
$128,300
Product Quality Engineer Texas Instruments Incorporated Stafford, TX Sep 06, 2010 $76,800
Product Quality Engineer Control Components Inc. Rancho Santa Margarita, CA Jul 09, 2016 $76,579
Product Quality Engineer W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. Elkton, MD Feb 24, 2010 $76,014

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Top Skills for A Product Quality Engineer

  1. Product Quality
  2. Supplier Quality
  3. New Product Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Authored and maintained technical documentation in accordance with ISO 9001 including Product Quality Specifications, Test Methods and Operating Procedures.
  • Interfaced with third party development organizations on supplier quality, component engineering and manufacturing issues through a cross-functional team.
  • Design Quality Engineer * Supported new product development activities including generation of customer, device-level and component-level specifications and requirements.
  • Achieved fast turnaround and comprehensive corrective actions on returned mobile station module devices by aggressively driving debug and data gathering activities.
  • Conducted process audits on procedures and developing remedial action plan.

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Top 10 Best States for Product Quality Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Idaho
  4. Texas
  5. California
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Vermont
  8. Colorado
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Maine
  • (1,001 jobs)
  • (1,362 jobs)
  • (116 jobs)
  • (2,290 jobs)
  • (5,518 jobs)
  • (305 jobs)
  • (82 jobs)
  • (613 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)

Product Quality Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

73.3%

Female

18.6%

Unknown

8.1%
Ethnicity

White

56.9%

Asian

14.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

9.3%

Unknown

5.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

19.5%

German

14.6%

French

14.6%

Chinese

9.8%

Portuguese

7.3%

Dutch

7.3%

Mandarin

7.3%

Cantonese

7.3%

Swedish

4.9%

Amharic

2.4%

Hindi

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%
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Product Quality Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

9.6%

Purdue University

9.6%

University of Phoenix

6.6%

Wayne State University

6.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.4%

Arizona State University

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.8%

Northeastern University

4.8%

University of Texas at Austin

4.8%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

State University of New York Buffalo

4.2%

Michigan State University

4.2%

University of Cincinnati

4.2%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.6%

North Carolina State University

3.6%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.6%

Lehigh University

3.6%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3.0%
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Majors

Business

19.7%

Mechanical Engineering

17.1%

Electrical Engineering

13.2%

Industrial Technology

7.3%

Industrial Engineering

7.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

3.8%

Project Management

3.5%

Biomedical Engineering

3.3%

Chemical Engineering

3.3%

Management

3.0%

Chemistry

2.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Engineering

2.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Computer Engineering

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.7%

Finance

1.6%

Marketing

1.6%

Operations Management

1.2%

Education

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.7%

Masters

34.3%

Other

9.1%

Associate

4.7%

Certificate

2.6%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

0.5%
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Updated May 19, 2020