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

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

A quality engineer and quality manager are both responsible for ensuring that products and services meet customer expectations. Though their roles are similar, there are several key differences between these two positions. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between quality engineers and quality managers, and we provide tips for pursuing a career in quality assurance.

What is a Quality Engineer?

Quality Engineers develop, implement and maintain quality assurance and control systems for manufacturing companies. They collect data to identify areas that need improvement and develop plans to address these issues. Quality Engineers work with other departments to ensure that products meet or exceed customer expectations. They may develop quality standards, create testing procedures or oversee the implementation of new quality control systems. Quality Engineers may also train other employees on quality control procedures.

What is a Quality Manager?

Quality Managers are responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining quality standards within an organization. They often work with other managers to ensure that products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Quality Managers typically develop quality control plans that detail how to monitor and improve the quality of products or services. They also train staff on quality standards and monitor compliance. In some cases, Quality Managers may also be responsible for investigating customer complaints and taking corrective action.

Quality Engineer vs. Quality Manager

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

Job Duties

Quality engineers perform technical analysis to determine the causes of quality issues and develop solutions. They use their expertise in engineering, technology and mathematics to evaluate processes, analyze data and develop methods for improvement. Their job duties may include conducting test runs, collecting and analyzing data, identifying areas for improvement and developing solutions through research and development.

Quality managers oversee the implementation of quality systems and ensure that products meet customer requirements. They monitor progress and provide feedback to help teams continue toward goals. Quality managers also communicate with stakeholders, including customers, suppliers and executives, to keep them informed about product status. They may conduct training for staff on quality standards and customer service expectations.

Job Requirements

Quality engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, although some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Quality managers often need at least a bachelor’s degree as well, but they might also benefit from having a master’s degree or certification in quality management. Additionally, both quality engineers and quality managers should have experience working in the field before pursuing these positions.

Work Environment

Quality engineers typically work in manufacturing environments, where they can observe the entire production process and identify areas for improvement. They may also work in research and development to test new products before they’re released to consumers.

Quality managers usually work in offices or other non-manufacturing settings. They often oversee quality assurance teams that perform audits on a company’s processes and procedures. Quality managers may travel between different locations to ensure all employees are following proper protocol.


Both quality engineers and quality managers use problem-solving skills to identify issues with products or processes and develop solutions. They also both need to have strong analytical skills to be able to evaluate data and make recommendations based on their findings.

Quality engineers typically use more technical skills than quality managers. For example, they may use statistical analysis to determine whether a product meets quality standards. They may also use software programs to create models that simulate how a product will perform under different conditions. Quality managers do not necessarily need to have as many technical skills, but they should be familiar with the basics of quality control so they can oversee the work of quality engineers.

Quality managers also benefit from having interpersonal skills because they often interact with other managers, employees and clients. They need to be able to communicate effectively to provide updates on projects, give instructions and resolve conflicts. Quality engineers may also need to use interpersonal skills when they are working on teams, but they typically do not have as much contact with other people as quality managers do.


Quality engineers earn an average salary of $74,282 per year, while quality managers earn an average salary of $92,041 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to taking the job.


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