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Become A Quality/Reliability Engineer

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Working As A Quality/Reliability 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

  • $81,188

    Average Salary

What Does A Quality/Reliability 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 Quality/Reliability 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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Quality/Reliability Engineer Career Paths

Quality/Reliability Engineer
Senior Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager Quality Manager
Corporate Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Senior Project Manager Engineering Director
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Supplier Quality Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Quality Engineer Lean SIX Sigma Black Belt
Manager Of Operations Excellence
12 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Manufacturing Manager Product Engineering Manager
New Product Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Manager Supplier Development Engineer Senior Quality Engineer
Plant/Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Supplier Quality Engineer Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager, Quality Engineer Engineering Program Manager Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Reliability Engineer Electrical Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Technical Director Audio Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Manager CMM Programmer Quality Engineer
Project Quality Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Contractor/Consultant Quality Engineer
Quality Program Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Systems Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Software Development Engineer Software Design Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Quality Engineer Quality Manager
Senior Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Manager, Quality Engineer Quality Manager
Supplier Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Reliability Engineer Maintenance Manager Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Manager Director Of Quality
Vice-President Of Quality
15 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Quality/Reliability Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Quality Engineer 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Quality/Reliability Engineer
Engineer 3.0%
Top Careers After Quality/Reliability Engineer
Consultant 3.9%
Manager 3.3%
Engineer 3.0%
Director 2.6%

Do you work as a Quality/Reliability Engineer?

Quality/Reliability Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

79.4%

Female

15.2%

Unknown

5.4%
Ethnicity

White

51.6%

Asian

18.2%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

8.0%

Unknown

6.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

30.8%

Spanish

23.1%

Mandarin

15.4%

Vietnamese

7.7%

German

7.7%

Japanese

7.7%

Italian

7.7%
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Quality/Reliability Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.7%

Arizona State University

6.7%

Wayne State University

6.7%

San Jose State University

6.7%

Eastern Michigan University

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

Northeastern University

5.3%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

Thunderbird School of Global Management

4.0%

Michigan Technological University

4.0%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.0%

Oregon State University

4.0%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.0%

University of California - Davis

4.0%

Santa Clara University

4.0%

Golden Gate University-San Francisco

4.0%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.0%

Lehigh University

4.0%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

4.0%

Western Michigan University

4.0%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

25.1%

Business

17.9%

Mechanical Engineering

10.0%

Engineering

4.8%

Industrial Engineering

4.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

4.4%

Physics

4.0%

Project Management

3.6%

Materials Science And Engineering

3.6%

Management

2.8%

Mathematics

2.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Industrial Technology

2.4%

Computer Engineering

2.4%

Systems Engineering

1.6%

Statistics

1.6%

Metallurgical Engineering

1.6%

Philosophy

1.6%

Chemical Engineering

1.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.2%
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Degrees

Masters

41.4%

Bachelors

38.7%

Other

7.1%

Doctorate

6.1%

Associate

4.6%

Certificate

1.5%

Diploma

0.6%
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Job type you want
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Quality/Reliability Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 23, 2016 $132,454 -
$175,200
Product Quality and Reliability Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 16, 2016 $127,192
NPI Quality Reliability Engineer Avago Technologies San Jose, CA Aug 13, 2015 $117,382
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Mobile Communications, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 17, 2016 $114,650 -
$175,200
Quality and Reliability Engineer Intel Mobile Communications North America Santa Clara, CA Jun 15, 2015 $109,616 -
$152,800
Product Quality and Reliability Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 09, 2016 $107,579
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA May 13, 2016 $105,470 -
$129,500
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jul 29, 2016 $105,247 -
$129,500
Product Quality and Reliability Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 04, 2016 $105,131 -
$106,636
Product Quality and Reliability Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 11, 2015 $101,590 -
$139,900
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Chandler, AZ Jan 13, 2016 $101,171 -
$175,400
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Chandler, AZ Jan 14, 2016 $101,171 -
$145,300
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 27, 2016 $99,778 -
$112,000
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Dec 09, 2016 $97,261 -
$175,200
SR. Quality and Reliability Engineer Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, LLC Troy, MI Jun 14, 2016 $91,811
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Boise, ID May 25, 2016 $91,437 -
$129,500
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Boise, ID Jul 09, 2016 $91,437 -
$175,200
Quality and Reliability Engineer Necsel Ip Milpitas, CA Jun 30, 2015 $91,374
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Aloha, OR May 01, 2016 $90,631 -
$145,300
Quality/Reliability Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Allen Park, MI Oct 21, 2016 $86,611
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Folsom, CA Jun 11, 2015 $86,341 -
$175,400
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Folsom, CA Jul 12, 2015 $86,341 -
$129,500
Quality & Reliability Engineer Microchip Technology, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 15, 2016 $79,061 -
$89,061
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Chandler, AZ Oct 07, 2016 $78,832 -
$112,000
Quality/Reliability Engineer Powertrain Millennium Software, Inc. Livonia, MI Jun 09, 2016 $78,805
Quality/Reliability Engineer Powertrain Millennium Software, Inc. Livonia, MI Sep 13, 2016 $78,805
SR. Quality and Reliability Engineer Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, LLC Troy, MI Jun 30, 2015 $78,666
Quality Reliability Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Aug 21, 2016 $77,409 -
$96,400
Quality/Reliability Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Allen Park, MI Aug 05, 2015 $77,219
Quality-Reliability Engineer MSX Americas Inc. Allen Park, MI Aug 19, 2015 $76,509 -
$92,788

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Top Skills for A Quality/Reliability Engineer

  1. Reliability
  2. Product Quality
  3. Corrective Action
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed failure analysis and created reports to Management, for quality and reliability failures of materials.
  • Assisted management team in implementing and executing safety and product quality standards, achieving productivity standards and Key Operating indicators.
  • Performed root cause analysis and proactively drove corrective action of reliability and customer field failures through a cross-functional Failure Review Board.
  • Consolidated test capacity and failure analysis planning processes at Intel's environmental labs in Oregon and Washington.
  • Report root cause investigation including 8D, Countermeasure Action Requests (CAR), 5Why's, and FMEA design analysis.

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Top 10 Best States for Quality/Reliability Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Texas
  4. Arizona
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Colorado
  7. Idaho
  8. Wyoming
  9. New Hampshire
  10. California
  • (870 jobs)
  • (1,109 jobs)
  • (1,907 jobs)
  • (478 jobs)
  • (73 jobs)
  • (536 jobs)
  • (102 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (241 jobs)
  • (4,577 jobs)

Top Quality/Reliability Engineer Employers

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