Quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) engineers are responsible for ensuring the quality of products and services produced by their company. They oversee the manufacturing of products and they are involved in every stage of making a product--from development and manufacturing to packaging.
QA/QC engineers must make sure that their product complies with industry standards set by state and federal law as well as the standards of the company for whom they work. Another responsibility they have is to make sure that the processes and machinery or materials used to make their products are also safe for the employees. When there is any kind of quality issue, they must take the steps to fix the problem, even if this means halting production. They try to work out any issues that may arise while in development, but they must still be able to handle any issues that happen during production. QA/QC engineers observe production and they usually report to an operating supervisor or a production manager. They generally work in the factories or plants where the products are made but they also may have offices as well. Their work hours often vary based on when their company is running production: Some companies only do this during "regular" business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Others may run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Requirements for this job also vary from company to company. Some companies desire a bachelor's or even master's degree specializing in the types of products they produce. An example would be an aeronautical engineering degree for someone who would work in the production of military jets for Lockheed Martin. Other companies do not require a college education and ask instead for a high school diploma and several years in the manufacturing industry.
The position of QA/QC engineers is important to everyone in ensuring that people receive satisfactory and safe products for use and consumption. If the position was skipped over, many more products in the market today would lead to customer dissatisfaction, injury or even death.
Quality Assurance (QA) / Quality Control (QC) Engineer Tasks
- Review and approve quality requirements for manufacturing planning, supplier purchase orders, and engineering specifications to ensure contract compliance.
- Develop, document, and audit practices, program quality, and metrics reporting system.
- Perform and coordinate inspections and determine quality assurance testing models of raw materials and finished products.
- Prepare, document, and execute detailed test plans, test cases, and defect reports.