Quality assurance -- or control -- managers oversee the quality control procedures and measures during the manufacturing process to ensure products meet industry standards. They also develop testing methods, conduct quality tests, study data from these tests and recommend methods for improving product quality. If you want to become a quality assurance manager, you need a bachelor's degree. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging more than $80,000 annually.
The average annual salary for a quality assurance manager was $85,000, as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. The minimum educational requirement for this job is a bachelor's degree in mechanical, chemical or industrial engineering, depending on the industry in which you work. You might need a chemical engineering degree if you work in a food plant, for example. Employers may also prefer hiring someone with five or more years of experience, as quality assurance manager is not typically an entry-level position. Other essential qualifications for this job are physical strength and stamina and analytical, math, statistical, mechanical, supervisory and problem-solving skills.
New York Pays Best
In 2013, average annual salaries for quality assurance managers varied significantly in all U.S. regions, according to Indeed. They earned $73,000 to $103,000 per year in Maine and New York, respectively, which were the lowest and highest earnings in the Northeast. In the West, they made $55,000 to $92,000 in Hawaii and California, respectively. If you worked as a quality assurance manager in the South region, you'd earn an average of $73,000 or $101,000 in Louisiana or Washington, D.C., respectively -- the lowest and highest salaries in that region. In the Midwest, you'd make the most in Illinois or least in South Dakota at $94,000 or $63,000, respectively.
Living Standard Matters
Quality assurance managers earn more in California, New York and Washington, D.C., because it's typically more expensive to live in these states and district. For example, if you earned $85,000 as a quality assurance manager in Portland, Maine, you'd have to make $110,298 in Los Angeles to enjoy the same living standard as in Portland, according to the CNN Money "Cost of Living" calculator. In Washington, D.C., you'd need to earn $110,752 to maintain your living standard, or approximately 30 percent more. You may also earn more working for a large company, which has the revenue and budget to support the higher salary.
Slow Job Growth
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't forecast jobs for quality assurance managers. It estimates an 8 percent increase in employment for quality control inspectors from 2010 to 2020, however, which is slower than average. Jobs for all quality control workers should increase, as quality control is an essential part of the manufacturing process, especially for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Automated quality control equipment will temper job growth for quality control inspectors and quality assurance managers.