Those working toward careers in quality assurance should meet the various QA qualifications set by the industry. This includes meeting minimum educational requirements and having the skills necessary to succeed in the field. Other types of QA qualifications can include seeking certification and taking advantage of ongoing learning opportunities.
Quality assurance involves upholding manufacturing and production standards to ensure product safety and consistency. Positions related to keeping tabs on quality are typically found in the manufacturing sector of the economy. This includes positions with food, and in automobile and electronics manufacturing. Other industries may hire quality assurance employees, including the clothing and pharmaceutical fields.
Obtaining minimum educational requirements is just one part of meeting QA qualifications common in the industry. The educational standards will vary depending on the position in question. Those looking for entry-level inspector work will usually only need a high school diploma or equivalent. Professionals hoping to qualify for advanced positions will need additional education, such as that obtained through a trade program, or sufficient on-the-job experience to compensate for the lack of formal education.
The skills required to meet most QA qualifications include a mechanical aptitude, solid hand-eye coordination, and excellent math skills. Mechanical aptitude is necessary to work in a manufacturing environment, while hand-eye coordination allows workers to operate machinery, such as scales and weights, and record information at the same time. Mathematical skills are necessary to understand the impact of incremental changes in data and inputs.
Some QA qualifications center on mental aptitude. For instance, testers and inspectors need to be able to quickly analyze and interpret information. They also need to adapt quickly to changing conditions, such as that which occurs with the introduction of new software, and respond efficiently to requests for information concerning the conclusions reached.
Employers may choose to have employees seek certification to fulfill certain QA qualifications. Certification is often used as a way to advance within the field, and not as a prerequisite for employment. Candidates are often required to have a certain degree of knowledge and experience in the position before seeking a certificate.
Taking advantage of ongoing learning opportunities prepares those in the field for advancement. This can occur by tackling new challenges and volunteering for additional responsibilities at work, or through participation in additional educational programs. For instance, those hoping to rise to the rank of supervisor or manager may benefit from training and coursework focused on managerial skills development or labor and employee relations.