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

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

A career in engineering can be both rewarding and challenging. If you’re interested in working in this field, you may be wondering what the difference is between a reliability engineer and a quality engineer. Both positions are important in ensuring that products meet certain standards, but they have different focuses. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between reliability engineering and quality engineering.

What is a Reliability Engineer?

Reliability Engineers are responsible for ensuring that products or systems meet safety standards and are able to function properly under a variety of conditions. They develop testing methods to assess product reliability and identify potential problems. Reliability Engineers work with other engineers to design products that are safe and meet customer expectations. They also develop maintenance plans to prevent or reduce downtime. Reliability Engineers typically work in manufacturing or industrial environments.

What is a Quality Engineer?

Quality Engineers are responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of products and services in a company. They develop and implement quality control and assurance procedures. They also conduct audits to ensure that these procedures are being followed correctly. Quality Engineers work closely with other members of the engineering team to identify and solve quality issues. They may also train other employees in quality control procedures. Quality Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field.

Reliability Engineer vs. Quality Engineer

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

Job Duties

Reliability engineers focus on the performance of a product over time. They evaluate how products function when they’re new and after repeated use, then make suggestions for improvement. Quality engineers also evaluate products, but their primary concern is whether products meet customer expectations. If a product fails during testing or once it reaches the market, a quality engineer works to identify the problem and develop a solution.

The duties of reliability engineers tend to be more technical, as they involve laboratory testing and analysis. They often design tests to measure a product’s wear and tear and devise methods to improve a manufacturing process. The duties of quality engineers are more managerial, as they oversee production processes and work with teams in other departments. They may communicate with marketing or sales to determine customer needs and concerns, then create standards or guidelines for product improvement.

Job Requirements

Reliability engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, although some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Quality engineers also usually need at least a bachelor’s degree, but their educational background might be in quality management or another business-related field. In addition to their education, both reliability engineers and quality engineers often pursue certifications through professional organizations, such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ). These certifications can demonstrate a commitment to the profession and provide access to additional training opportunities.

Work Environment

Quality engineers typically work in manufacturing environments, where they can observe the production process and ensure that it meets quality standards. They may also work in offices to collaborate with other employees on projects. Reliability engineers often work in engineering or research positions, but some may work for companies that manufacture products. These professionals may travel to different locations to test products and evaluate their performance.


Both reliability engineers and quality engineers use analytical skills to identify problems and develop solutions. They also need to have strong attention to detail to ensure that they catch errors and potential issues. Both roles may require some travel to different locations to conduct audits or oversee production.

Reliability engineers focus on ensuring that products meet or exceed customer expectations for reliability. This may involve developing testing protocols, conducting failure analysis or working with suppliers to improve product quality. Quality engineers focus on preventing defects in products and ensuring that they meet all requirements. This may involve developing quality control plans, inspecting products or investigating customer complaints.


Reliability engineers earn an average salary of $100,951 per year, while quality engineers earn an average salary of $74,282 per year. Both of these average 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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