Quality Control Engineers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

To prepare for a career in quality control engineering, take high school classes in mathematics (including algebra, geometry, and statistics), physical sciences, physics, and chemistry. You should also take shop, mechanical drawing, and computer courses. In addition, take English courses that develop your reading skills, your ability to write well-organized reports with a logical development of ideas, and your ability to speak comfortably and effectively in front of a group.

Postsecondary Training

Quality control engineers generally have a bachelor's degree in engineering. Many quality control engineers receive degrees in industrial or manufacturing engineering. Some receive degrees in metallurgical, mechanical, electrical, chemical engineering, or in business administration, depending on where they plan to work. A master’s or doctoral degree is required for most jobs in research and higher education, and for supervisory and administrative positions.

ABET sets minimum education standards for educational programs in engineering. Graduation from an ABET-accredited school is a requirement for becoming licensed in many states, so it is important to select an accredited school. Visit the ABET Web site, https://www.abet.org, for a list of accredited schools.

College engineering programs vary based on the type of engineering program. Most programs take four to five years to complete and include courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Other useful courses include statistics, logistics, business management, and technical writing.


Several associations offer continuing education opportunities. The American Society for Quality provides a variety of seminars, workshops, and courses on the basics of quality control and management, how to develop and prosper in a consulting business, and leadership and problem-solving skills. ASTM International offers seminars and other training programs for those involved in testing materials and quality assurance. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Although there are no licensing or certification requirements designed specifically for quality control engineers or technicians, some need to meet special requirements that apply only within the industry employing them. Many quality control engineers pursue voluntary certification from professional organizations to indicate that they have achieved a certain level of expertise. The American Society for Quality (ASQ), for example, offers certification at a number of levels including quality engineer certification. Requirements include having a certain amount of work experience, having proof of professionalism (such as being a licensed professional engineer), and passing a written examination. Many employers value this certification and take it into consideration when making new hires or giving promotions.

Engineers whose work may affect the life, health, or safety of the public must be registered according to regulations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. In general, however, they involve graduating from an accredited school, having four years of work experience, and passing the eight-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the eight-hour Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Depending on your state, you can take the Fundamentals exam shortly before your graduation from college or after you have received your bachelor’s degree. At that point you will be an engineer-in-training. Once you have fulfilled all the licensure requirements, you receive the designation professional engineer. Visit the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Web site, https://ncees.org, for more information on licensure.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Take as many math and science classes as possible and participate in internships and other experiential opportunities to gain experience in the field.

Quality control engineers need scientific and mathematical aptitudes, strong interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities. Good judgment is also needed, as quality control engineers must weigh all the factors influencing quality and determine procedures that incorporate price, performance, and cost factors. Other important traits include organizational skills and a willingness to continue to learn throughout one’s career.