Quality Assurance Specialist Salary: Your 2023 Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Discover what a quality assurance specialist role entails, plus the average quality assurance specialist salary and the various factors that influence salary.

[Featured Image] A quality assurance specialist examines a piece of code.

Having quality assurance (QA) in businesses ensures that products or services meet certain standards. In this article, learn more about how much quality assurance specialists can make, and the factors that impact their salaries.  

What does quality assurance involve?

Quality assurance is typically necessary for manufacturing, service, and technology development sectors. A QA team establishes processes to ensure that products or services fulfill industry standards and stakeholders’ expectations. 

QA is part of the entire product lifecycle, gauging quality in end-to-end stages from production to testing, through to packaging and delivery. Businesses typically use formal quality management systems (QMS) to achieve quality objectives. 

Many manufacturers seek to get International Organization Standardization (ISO) certification to demonstrate their quality standards. This is QA documentation from an independent organization that ensures quality, safety, and other standards have been met.

Still, QA techniques are used outside of manufacturing too. You will see them applied in software development, pharmaceuticals, aviation, oil and gas, and customer care too.

You can pursue various jobs within the quality assurance field, including QA technician, quality assurance manager, and the quality assurance specialist we focus on in this guide.

Quality control vs. quality assurance 

Between quality control (QC) and QA there are some similarities and notable differences between the two. Both QC and QA deal with quality management systems which are formalized systems that track procedures, responsibilities, and processes to meet customer requirements. Yet, QC is more focused on detecting mistakes or missed requirements. QC is reactive while a QA specialist works proactively to uncover issues and address the source of the problems. Both of these are necessary and rely on each other to produce a good product. 

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How much do quality assurance specialists earn?

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a quality assurance specialist in the US is $54,279 per year [1]. This figure includes an average base salary of $51,144 and $3,135 in additional pay. Additional pay may represent profit-sharing, commissions, or bonuses.

Factors that influence salary

QA specialist salary is influenced by several considerations over the course of your career. Learn about the factors you can impact to help increase your earnings.

Education

A career in QA typically requires a bachelor’s degree. To be a QA specialist in software development, you’ll want to obtain a degree in a computer science or programming field. If you’re doing QA for manufacturing, a degree in a lab, science, or engineering discipline is a common requirement. 

For a QA job in any sector, securing experience through internships can also influence your salary. As part of your education, seeking out hands-on experience can help you enter the field with industry experience.

It is possible to get into QA with a high school or secondary school level education. Some companies will provide on-the-job training.

Read more: A Guide to Writing a Quality Assurance Resume

Certifications

Certifications are a great way to show employers that you’re dedicated to your career and is willing to learn more about the industry. Earning one may sometimes transfer to a higher salary. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers several certification pathways to enhance your credentials and resume. These include:

  • Certified Quality Improvement Associate

  • Certified Quality Process Analyst

  • Certified Quality Inspector

  • Certified Quality Technician

  • Certified Quality Engineer

  • Certified Software Quality Engineer

  • Quality Auditor Certification CQA

  • Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence

The ASQ also offers certification in Six Sigma practices. Or you can go directly to the Sigma organization, IASSC, for Lean Six Sigma certification. 

ISO certification for businesses

We mentioned ISO and QMS in connection to the QA specialist’s job. ISO certifications represent a company’s approval from a third party that they’re able to run on international standstards. It may be part of your job to help your company get or maintain ISO 9001 QMS certification or other relevant credentials.

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Years of experience

How long you’ve been in the industry will also influence your pay. According to Glassdoor, here are the total pay ranges for QA specialists grouped by years of experience, as of January 2023. 

  • 0-1 years of experience: $48,728

  • 4-6 years of experience: $54,284

  • 7-9 years of experience: $57,102

  • 10-14 years of experience: $66,936

  • 15+ years of experience: $74,520

Industry

Many industries employ QA roles and depending on which one you work in can impact your salary. For example, while a manufacturing QA specialist in the US might make$72,895 total pay in a year, a software QA specialist could bring in $82,200 each year [2, 3].

Job title 

The title QA specialist can go by many different names. You might also be known as a quality assurance associate, QA technician, QA internal auditor, QA compliance manager, or quality systems coordinator.

While you may have similar roles and responsibilities, certain job titles can make a difference in your salary, both in your current position and future positions. For instance, having "associate" in your title can indicate you have a more subordinate position, whereas "manager" indicates you have more leadership responsibilities. For these reasons, it makes sense to negotiate your job title with your current or future employer to position yourself for a higher salary. Consider the average US salary information for various alternate titles for a quality assurance specialist:

  • Quality assurance associate: $46,291 [4]

  • Quality assurance technician: $40,299[5]

  • Quality assurance specialist: $54,279 [1]

  • QA compliance manager: $90,736 [6]

  • Quality systems coordinator:$67,205 [7]

Location

Where you work can also impact your QA specialist salary. For example, in the US, Virginia has the highest-paid QA specialist jobs at $90,000. You might earn $69,262 in the same role in New Jersey, and $62,259in California[8]. Keep in mind that jobs with higher salaries typically have more expensive cost of living. 

Company type

The type of company you do QA for can play a role in how much you earn. Typically, salaries are lower at small businesses that employ fewer than 20 people. You’ll usually make more at a mid-sized business and enterprise-level company. Public and private sectors also make a difference, with private sector jobs typically offering higher salaries.

First steps

Start your QA specialist salary negotiations knowing that you have the skills employers seek. Build your market value with relevant specializations and Professional Certificates on Coursera. Consider Six Sigma Yellow Belt Specialization or the Google Project Management Professional Certificate to create a QA knowledge foundation.

If you’re already on the QA specialist path, you might branch out with theLeading Healthcare Quality and Safety course from George Washington University.

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specialization

Six Sigma Yellow Belt

Improve Your Career With Six Sigma Knowledge. Learn proven principles and tools to improve quality assurance in your organization

4.7

(6,521 ratings)

82,977 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 5 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, Binomial Distribution, Six Sigma, Process Improvement, Lean Methods, Statistics, Data Analysis, Causality

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professional certificate

Google Project Management:

Start your path to a career in project management. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required.

4.8

(71,593 ratings)

947,819 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Organizational Culture, Career Development, Strategic Thinking, Change Management, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Business Writing, Project Charter, Project Planning, Risk Management, Task Estimation, Procurement, Quality Management, Project Execution, Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum, Effective Communication

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course

Leading Healthcare Quality and Safety

Ensuring patient safety and healthcare quality is critical and should be a key focus of everyone in healthcare practice. This course provides healthcare ...

4.7

(1,106 ratings)

41,641 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Article sources

1

Glassdoor. "Quality Assurance Specialist Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/quality-assurance-specialist-salary-SRCH_KO0,28.htm." Accessed January 8, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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