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The Secret to Advancing Your Career – Elevate Your Skills With Quality Management

Are you frustrated by your lack of career growth opportunities? Well I have a secret strategy that has been the key to my own professional success. And no! I am not going to give you five steps to a great resume!

But first, let me ask you a question – What comes to mind when you think of a career in quality management? Do you picture someone in a white collared shirt and clipboard standing on an assembly line, robotically inspecting toasters, as they make their way through some nondescript manufacturing facility?

Maybe you think of that pesky auditor that comes around once a year lecturing about industry code, regulation and procedure – with seemingly, no regard for the work that needs to be completed on a timely schedule.

Sounds fascinating doesn’t it? Where do I sign up you ask?

While some types of quality management roles might adhere to the above scenarios, there’s much more to this field for your career than meets the eye. Here are a few reasons you might consider a career in this field and how you can use your transferable skills and professional experiences to get your foot in the door.

Despite its stigma, quality auditing can be a very beneficial and productive activity, if performed with an open mind and an approach based on learning and improvement. The first-hand experience you might gain while performing a procedural audit — or assessment if you prefer the term — would rival any classroom curriculum on the general mechanics of business management.

When I first began my career in quality as an auditor in the technical operations department of a major airline in Canada , I had very little knowledge or experience. I had plenty of technical knowledge in my field, and could perform inspections procedures as part of my role as an avionics technician, but as far as quality management or performing procedural audits was concerned, I was pretty much in the dark.

Luckily, I had some great teachers in my new team that encouraged me and helped in developing my skills. I quickly began to realize that my new found career path could open up doors that would have otherwise been inaccessible. Before long, a whole new world of possibilities started to emerge. The insights and knowledge I picked up while performing quality audit activities were invaluable to my career advancement.

Is there a demand for quality management expertise?

Long-term demand for quality management professionals is growing across all industry sectors. Aviation and oil and gas, for example, have some of the most stringent regulatory mandates. This demand is not limited only to the transportation and energy sectors, but also industries such as food, health and retail.

These quality systems are not isolated to product sampling or technical inspection. Quality management processes are now intertwined within the whole corporate organizational structure. Demonstrated quality processes and procedures are recommended for executive and project management, finance and human resources, just to name a few.

In fact ISO 9001:2008, one of the most widely used quality management standards in the world today, is implemented by over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries.

This translates into growing career opportunities for professionals like you. There has never been a more opportune to take advantage of this trend and transition into a quality management role or to add these valuable skills to your existing expertise.

How you can building on your current experience and skill set.

As an experienced professional, you likely have most of the transferable skills required for a successful career in quality management. It’s just a matter of building on that foundation. And because the necessity for quality representation spans all industries, your skill set is not only relevant and transferable, but also essential to your success.

If you are currently a technician, technologist or engineer, for example, you have the knowledge and experience base to identify flaws in a process or ways in which the process could be improved or refined.

How many times have you followed a procedure at work, mentally noting how redundant or impractical the process was? Or perhaps you have disregarded the procedure altogether because you developed a more efficient way to complete the task?

Your knowledge and experience provide you the ability to recognize and identify these costly inefficiencies and help you improve or refine processes instead of brushing them aside. This would make for a valuable member of any management team.

How to make the transition

If you want to transition into a quality management role, here are a few tips that could get you started on the road to success:

  • Enroll in quality related coursework or training. Take it on personal time or make a case to your employer of the benefits this training will bring and have it reimbursed. Again, the ISO 9000 Standard would be a great starting point.
  • Network with other people in the quality field both local and online. The American Society for Quality – ASQ has a local branch in most major cities in North America. LinkedIn is a great source for connecting with people internationally and can be a powerful career tool.
  • Take targeted management courses through your local university or college. Online or continuing education programs are a great option
  • Volunteer to observe on audits both with your employer or with people you meet through your local networks. This is a strategy most people don’t do but should.

These few strategies, when combined with your existing knowledge and expertise, could open up doors that might have otherwise been inaccessible. Quality management may not have been on your career radar in the past, but it’s a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.

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This Post Has 46 Comments
  1. Hi Greg,

    Your article couldn’t have come at a better time. I am an airline captain who’s gonna be given a QA manager’s role soon in a new startup and some guidance would be helpful.


    1. Hey John, congrats on the new position! Thank you for reading my article and I will be happy to help any way I can. Take a moment and sign up to my email list to keep up to date on my new material.

  2. Hi Greg

    Thank you for your article it was very insightful. I am currently a licensed AME and work on line stations across Africa and like you said in your article we already do a lot of safety/quality audits and management within our domain. I have recently completed a Lead auditors course which has given me more insight into the quality and safety management aspect. My ultimate goal is to move into quality and safety management within the aviation industry. Please publish some more articles.

    Kind Regards
    David Scott

    1. Thanks for your comments Dave! I am very happy that you found my article insightful and I will absolutely continue to post new and relevant content. Please sign up to my email list to be sure to get the latest material.

  3. hi greg
    ur article is really a mind opening tool for me.
    i m in naval aviation for past 20 years and want to continue as quality manager for my future job prospects. planning to take up a lead auditor course as well as NEBOSH. Guide me if it will be good option for me as i m already performing duties as quality auditor for flight safety and related issues.

    1. Hi Amit, I am glad you found my article useful. I would highly recommend the lead auditor training. You will cover a lot of material that you already know as an active auditor but it will be a great refresher which I feel is important. Also the audit logistics management and personnel/client management aspect of the lead auditor training will be very beneficial to you as well. Not to mention it looks great on a resume! I also recommend adding the HSE scope (NEBOSH) to your qualifications. There is a growing trend of combining quality and HSE these days. The Aviation Industry is a prime example with IATA and SMS integration. The adoption of IMS (Integrated Management Systems) in other industries such as Oil and Gas are becoming increasingly common.

  4. Great article, thanks! I have exactly the same view. Quality is fascinating, and it really boosts your knowledge because it enables you to learn new things continuously.

  5. Thanks for this very informative article, Mr. Peckford!

    Early next year, I will be embarking on a role as overseer of an existing IMS in a mining corporation. Prior to this assignment, I have been a QMS Manager for one and a half years in an EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) consultancy in the Middle East.

    Kindly include me in your e-mail list and hoping to read something very soon about the transition from QMS to IMS, integrating ISO 14001 and ISO 18001.

    1. Hi Abner,

      Thank you for your comment. Congrats on your new assignment and best of luck! Managing and IMS would be a great topic and one I have experience with both in the development and management stage. I will certainly cover this in the near future. I hope I can lend you some assistance.


  6. Hello Greg, I am currently in the process of trying to get ready and apply for a Quality Assurance Engineering position within my organization. I have been asked to do an assembly process audit I one of our lines. Having said that, I do have a vast experience in production enhancements but do you happen to have suggestions or, really what I need is a formal ‘quality process audit sheet’ that I could be able to attain. Do you happen to know a source where I could get the resource I need to make this audit effective? Please advice.
    Best Regards,
    Ben Salto

  7. Hello Greg, I read your article a couple of days ago and sent you s message but my message might not have gotten to you. Do you happen to have a ‘Process Audit’ form that you can recommend or that I could attain from another source…preferably as it pertains to manufacturing/assembly? I would like to keep it personal for the meantime……..please advise.

    Best regards,
    Ben Salto

  8. Great read and some good insight, look forward to continued post from yourself. You’ve provided some direction on how to initiate desires results.

  9. Hello Greg,

    I’ve been an airline captain and in Aviation for the last 16 years. It’s been my life! Unfortunately my former company laid off some pilots, me included. It’s very hard to find a new place at my age and with my specific (turboprop)experience. Therefore I’m very eager to boost my career in a new direction!
    Question:where to start? Considering Cranfield UK cours.
    Do you have any ideas?

    Hope to hear from you!
    Best regards

    1. Hi Roland,

      Sorry to hear about your company layoff. It’s an unfortunate reality of the aviation industry. I was not familiar with the Cranfield University programs, so I checked out the website and programs offered. It seams they have some very interesting programs that could be beneficial to someone in your situation and with your experience. I will refrain from recommending a specific program as that will depend on your situation and interests but I would choose a program that could help you market yourself as providing added value to an airline or organization beyond your obvious credentials as a pilot/capitan. There are many pilots that wear multiple hats in an organization such as safety officer (Flight operations in your case), flight procedure development ( something your 16 years of experience would be valuable), risk management (SMS), or quality control/assurance. Adding any of these skills would make you more valuable and marketable to prospective employers.

      I hope this helps and feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

      Happy New Year!

  10. Hello Greg,
    Thank you so much for enlightening us about quality management.i am an aviation personnel having worked in air traffic control,flight operations officer and flight dispatch for 15 years now.i have been lucky to train in IATA Integrated management systems,IATA quality control and SGS international internal audit courses.This has helped me in participating in IOSA audits and internal audits within my current airline employer.My intention is to switch from flight operations/flight dispatch to full time quality control management.What could be your advise and suggestion on possible employers.Am based in kenya,africa.

    1. Hello Isaac, and thank you for commenting. It sounds like you have a sound background in quality management. I have done some work for an airline, contracted for the World Food Program, a few years ago based out of Kenya! It was a wonderful experience. Although I have spent a short time in this area, I am unable to recommend specific employers. If you have questions regarding steps to take to become more marketable to such employers feel free to contact me.

  11. Hello Greg,
    This article is very nice and very helpful for me to look for opportunities and develop a career that has been no progress . already from 20 -year career in the garment industry , but there is no significant progress . But I have no words in the dictionary frustrating my life , perhaps only chance I get no . And now at the age I am now, I am still optimistic about getting a good career opportunities . Thank you Mr. Greg on this article.

  12. Hello Greg, I agree with all your comments that Quality Management is more than Quality Control. However the ability to progress has more to do with communication and educating personnel on the benefits of a quality system. Rather than trying to be a “policeman” try to be a mentor to people in what quality principles will do for them.
    Auditors are there to assist companies in improving their systems by identifying areas of improvement. They are just checking to see if you are doing what you say you are doing or not. Nothing more.
    Therefore to progress your career in Quality you need to understand this concept.
    It is difficult to explain to people that near enough is not good enough , because the specifications or standards you say should be there will not be there if short cuts are taken.

    Therefore act as a facilitator / trainer / communicator of how to meet the specifications or standards rather than concentrating on pointing out the failings . Your skills as a communicator will propel you forward.

    I have been a QA specialist for 15years and a member of ASQ for just as long.

    This is an interesting line of discussion .

  13. Please add me in your mail.I am presently Quality Manager of an airline;had experience of maintenance engineer of about twenty year;I have also teaching/Auditing experience .
    I am interested in your comment. Thanks.

  14. Hello Greg,

    I have read your article that i found very interesting.
    I am working in quality management for 22 years, as Senior Consultant, Auditor (by certification bodies), trainer, and quality manager for national and international companies.
    In your opinion, what do you think is needed to make a transition to CQO (Chief Quality Officer) of a group of companies or a large company?

    I appreciate comments and suggestions.

    Best regards,

  15. Hello Greg,

    Thanks for your article. I am a Food Scientist by profession. Presently, I work as a Quality Assurance Officer with a health insurance organization. I would like to learn more on quality implementation, as well as strategies and tactics in the healthcare and food industries and also ways to boost my career. My name is Teresa and my email is

  16. Wow, thanx
    That’s exactly what I did 2 years ago. It’s like I read you article and followed it step by step. I was an instrumentation technician at a Nuclear Power Plant but I was not entirely satisfied. So I followed the points you’ve just shared above. Two years later, I have a degree in Quality and I’m a quality manager in the oil & gas industry. To all those wondering, can this work, I’m a leaving proof, it does 🙂

    1. Hi Sthembile! Thank you so much for leaving your comment, and I am very happy to hear of your success! Its great to hear validation from others, and it helps those that are looking to advance, or make changes in their own careers. I would like to hear more of your story.

  17. You nailed it! I am a Quality Engineer and would like to know where to get a degree in QUALITY. I am studying for CQM with ASQ and have been in QUALITY most of my adullt life and want the opportunity to manage a QMS. I have seen so many positive and negative quality cultures but without a degree I am missing out on some great opportunities. I would like to study online as I work many hours……any advice is much appreciated.

  18. Hi Greg,
    I started out just like you did. I worked for a Bearing Manufacturing Company for 14 years. The 1st 3 I worked on the assembly floor. Assembling bearing for Ford. The next 5 years I worked in Production Control which was in the front office as a clerk. We took care of the flow of inventory and planning when components would produce in our plant and the ones we had to order so all could be assembled and the shipped to our customers. Plus we were the ones that took the inventories.
    We were sold to another company during that time. Our department was dismantled and we were separated. When I came back from having my baby. I went into Quality. Mainly because I had never been in that area. It was something new. I was starting over. I worked my last 6 years in QA. I earned my Certification as Q.A. Technician in 1990. Just 2 years after starting. I was lucky in some respects. I had a lot of help from the Engineering department when it come to answering questions if I didn’t understand something. My job dealt mainly with S.P.C. and 6 sigma anything. I had just got a change in jobs. I was going to be S.P.C. Engineering Technician. But I had a seizure that put a halt to that. That was 20 years ago. But like you I started out with the experience and slowly learned the technical book part as I went along. For me it made it easier that way. But I have had a lot that would beg to differ.

    1. Delete my comment. Has no meaning or bearing on this subject. Thank you for letting men know I made the mistake.
      Enjoyed the article.

  19. Hi Greg,

    Read your article and thank you for it.I have worked as a software engineer on a maintenance and enhancement project for 3 years but i was fascinated towards quality from starting itself. I want to make a career in the same but don’t know how to start and from where to start.It would be really helpful of you if you could suggest something, hoe to make it work. waiting for your reply..


  20. Hi Greg

    Great article, especially for a woman like me who will be doing a B-tech in Quality management this year. I graduated as a chemical engineering student in 2013 and currently work in a petroleum industry as a process operator where safety and quality are crucial. I’m still finding my steps on the whole change of career path and your article make me look forward to the studying journey of quality. I would love to read more articles on Quality. Could you please add me to list

    1. Thank you for your comment! I am happy to hear that you found it useful. I have added you to the email list as you requested. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you in your career journey.

      Greg Peckford

  21. Hi sir I’m Vinay Badiger ..
    How is the career path in quality ctrl. Because I get posted to qc …???

  22. Hello i have gotten promoted the last 4 months to QA manager for a wireless company that i have worked for now almost 6 years. However training has been very limited and i need all the help i can get. Especially with the analysis area. I really hope you can help…

  23. Hii Greg,
    Thanks for your article it was very informative.
    Myself -Siva MBA graduate, working as a project assistant in group Quality management for a German Firm at Germany. I am passionate on Quality management and processes. Currently i am implementing ISO 9001 processes at one of our subsidiary at Poland .
    I just have an one year of experience and i would like to develop further my career in quality management and auditing field
    It would be great if you could add me in your list and i would love to read a lot about your articles.
    Thanks again

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