The Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition” classifies quality control systems managers, which include quality assurance directors, as industrial production managers. However, not all directors of quality assurance work in factories and manufacturing plants. Directors of quality assurance are also employed by technology companies, retailers, medical manufacturers and professional services firms. Regardless of the industry they work in, all directors of quality assurance are responsible for tracking, assessing and implementing quality control programs for products and services. According to the BLS, average salaries for quality assurance directors can reach into the six-figure range.
In laboratories and production facilities, companies must ensure that products adhere to government safety standards and guidelines. However, monitoring performance, effectiveness and efficiency is also important. Directors of quality assurance are responsible for overseeing their company’s product testing and quality control systems to prevent errors, correct defects and strengthen quality assurance programs. Moreover, these professionals are paid to develop and implement inspection and testing standards and procedures, as well as supervise junior staff during testing phases.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that quality control systems managers, which include directors of quality assurance, earned a median salary of $95,660 or $45.99 per hour as of May 2010. However, annual wages ranged from $52,000 to nearly $150,000. For example, earners in the 10th and 25th percentiles reported averaging $52,640 and $67,250, respectively. Top earners reported earning salaries between $114,530 and $148,020 per year.
The overall industrial production management sector averaged salaries that varied according to industry and employer. For example, industrial production managers working in plastics manufacturing companies reported earning an average salary of $88,300 per year. Aerospace product and parts manufacturers paid industrial production managers an average salary of $104,710 annually. In firms specializing in printing and related services, industrial production managers averaged $92,570 per year. Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing firms paid industrial production managers $105,990 annually. Quality control productions working in the oil and gas industry reported the highest average salaries, earning $127,910 per year.
The job outlook for managers in quality control and assurance is projected to decline by three to nine percent between the 2008 to 2018 decade, according to the BLS. Although more than 54,000 positions will be created in this field, factors such as technological advancements in manufacturing plants will indirectly impact industrial production managers. Automation technologies and overseas imports will decrease the need for manual workers, as well as the quality assurance directors who coordinate their activities with machines during the production process. However, companies will need to hire candidates to replace directors who are retiring or transitioning to other sectors. Job opportunities with high salary potential will be best for quality assurance directors who hold bachelor and master degrees, as well as exhibit excellent communication and technical skills.