How Do I Become a Director of Quality?

D. Nelson

People who work in quality assurance are responsible for making sure that all products designed or manufactured by an organization adhere to company standards of quality as well as to regulations dictated by government agencies. Individuals who work as directors of quality often have worked in their industries for a number of years and are quite familiar with the expectations of clients as well as with issues of regulatory compliance. These professionals also are responsible for managing, recruiting, and training all quality assurance professionals. To become a director of quality, it almost always is necessary to have at least an undergraduate degree in a field related to your industry. Most employers require that any person who would like to become a director of quality also has at least five years of experience in a relevant field, experience or training in leadership or management, and sometimes professional certification, such as certification offered by official quality assurance organizations.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

In order to become a director of quality, you should start by earning an undergraduate degree in a discipline that pertains to your field of choice. For instance a person who would like to become a director of quality in the manufacturing industry can benefit from a degree in engineering, while a person who is interested in a career in the software industry might want to pursue a degree in computer science. It might be a good idea to take an entry level position in your industry of choice immediately after graduation. If in the future you find that a graduate degree can help you to become a director of quality, you might want to enter a part time program. Employers sometimes fund continuing education for promising, dedicated employees.

It also is a good idea to get as much leadership training as possible. A person who wants to become a director of quality should be prepared to delegate tasks, participate in recruiting initiatives, and oversee general operations related to quality assurance. Apply for supervisor positions for which you are qualified. Directors of quality tend to have experience in different facets of their industries, so it is a good idea also to take positions that allow you to learn your industry from different perspectives.

A person who wants to become a director of quality must keep up with issues and developments in his or her industry. An individual who acts as a director of quality in the software industry, for example, must attend seminars and trade shows where he or she can learn about new standards of quality. A good way to do this is to join professional organizations specific to your industry. Many of these organizations offer experienced quality professionals the opportunity to test for professional certification, which can make you a much more appealing job candidate.

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