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Process Engineer vs. Quality Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Both process and quality engineers are responsible for ensuring that products meet certain standards. However, their day-to-day responsibilities and focus areas differ. If you’re interested in a career in engineering, learning about the similarities and differences between these two positions can help you decide which one is right for you. In this article, we compare and contrast process and quality engineering, highlighting the key similarities and differences between the two.

What is a Process Engineer?

Process Engineers are responsible for designing, developing, testing and supervising the manufacturing process of various products. They work in a variety of industries, such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics and more. Process Engineers work to create more efficient ways to produce high-quality products while minimizing waste. They develop plans and flow charts to map out the steps of a manufacturing process. They also work with other engineers and technicians to implement their plans. Process Engineers constantly monitor the manufacturing process to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments.

What is a Quality Engineer?

Quality Engineers are responsible for ensuring that manufactured products meet or exceed customer expectations. They develop and oversee quality control systems to ensure that products are designed and created according to specific standards. Quality Engineers work with other members of the engineering team to design products that are safe, efficient and cost-effective. They may also be responsible for conducting quality audits to ensure that products meet all regulatory requirements. Quality Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field.

Process Engineer vs. Quality Engineer

Here are the main differences between a process engineer and a quality engineer.

Job Duties

Process engineers’ duties focus more on the technical aspects of manufacturing processes. They develop and test new processes for production, then implement and monitor these processes to ensure they’re working correctly. Quality engineers evaluate products after they’ve been produced to determine whether they meet standards. They may perform tests or conduct surveys to evaluate customer satisfaction.

Process engineers typically work with teams throughout an entire project, from conception through implementation. They often collaborate with design and engineering teams. Quality engineers may work within a smaller team that focuses on product evaluation. Typically, they work with a quality assurance team.

Job Requirements

Process engineers and quality engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, although some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Process engineers often specialize in a specific type of engineering, such as chemical or mechanical engineering. Quality engineers might also specialize in a particular field, such as electrical engineering or manufacturing. In addition to their education, process engineers and quality engineers must have experience working in an engineering role. Some employers also require professionals in these positions to be licensed by the state in which they work.

Work Environment

Process engineers and quality engineers work in different environments. Process engineers typically work in manufacturing facilities, where they oversee the production of goods. They may also travel to other locations to ensure that their processes are running smoothly. Quality engineers usually work in offices or laboratories, where they analyze products for defects.


Both process engineers and quality engineers use problem-solving skills in their jobs. For process engineers, they typically identify problems with a company’s manufacturing processes and develop solutions to improve efficiency and productivity. For quality engineers, they may identify issues with products that have already been manufactured and work to find ways to prevent those same issues from occurring in the future.

Both of these professionals need to have technical skills to perform their job duties. Process engineers often use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create models of their proposed solutions, so they need to be proficient in using this type of software. Quality engineers may also use CAD software to create models, but they also use statistical analysis software to evaluate data and look for trends.

While process engineers use communication skills when they are creating reports of their research or presenting their proposals to colleagues, they are not necessarily going to be interacting with customers directly. Quality engineers are more likely to interact with customers because they may need to collect feedback about products or discuss warranty claims. Therefore, interpersonal skills like active listening and customer service are important for quality engineers.


Process engineers earn an average salary of $85,585 per year, while quality engineers earn an average salary of $74,282 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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