This article talks about master’s degree programs in quality assurance (QA) and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.
Master’s Programs in Quality Assurance (QA)
Coursework in the majority of master’s degree programs in quality assurance covers instruction in the regulatory and quality concerns that affect the healthcare, food and chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Schools commonly offer Master of Science in Quality Assurance (M.S.Q.A.) degree programs in both on-campus and online formats.
Courses include both the administrative and technical aspects of the field. Program graduates can expect to gain expertise in the creation and execution of a quality assurance program. They will perform safety and reliability audits and work to ensure the fulfillment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. A master’s thesis or capstone project is a requirement before the culmination of the program.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an accredited bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. In many MSQA degree programs, preference is also given to candidates who have prior professional experience in a technical work setting. Qualified candidates seeking to boost their professional prospects can enroll into doctoral degree programs. Passage of a competency exam can qualify applicants for certification opportunities offered by the American Society for Quality.
Program coursework is devised to allow students to avail a comprehensive education in the international and domestic regulations along with quality practices and principles employed in an array of fields, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, government and engineering. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Global regulatory reports
•Quality audit systems and procedures
•Introduction to food and drug law
•Drug development procedures
•Managing quality guidelines
•Principles of regulatory affairs
Job and Wage Outlook
Program graduates can seek upper-level management or leadership positions in various industries that seek quality assurance regulation. In 2014, quality assurance managers brought in an average annual wage ranging from $41,992 – $110,596; the wage level varied by industry and work experience. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, industrial production managers are not expected to see any significant change in job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the same period, industrial production management jobs will see little to no change (BLS). The transportation equipment and fabricated metal product manufacturing industries are expected to register the most job growth (BLS).
Continuing Education Choices
Program graduates may seek continuing education by enrolling in certification or doctorate courses in related fields, such as engineering, management, and health care. Program graduates may also seek professional certification offered through organizations such as the American Society for Quality.