Continuing Education - Quality Engineering


Good morning,

I am unsure if this is the appropriate section to ask my question, so I apologize if it belongs someplace else.

Some background first:

I have been in my QAE position for one year and some change. Our company is a medium to high volume automotive manufacturer with multiple quality systems in place and strong ties to our mother plant in Japan and multiple sister plants that all operate pretty much the same. I was chosen not based on a quality background, but more on my work ethic, experience in leadership through the military, attitude, drive, etc. Factors that the QM admired and felt would work well in the environment and work well for his team moving forward.

I work fast and efficiently and as such, I believe I have a firm grasp on most quality systems and how to perform job. I maintain PCRs through multiple OEMs, PPAPs for annual reevaluation / new launch, leading new program launch projects, as well as, maintaining internal non conformance issues with parts and systems - I also respond and evaluate customer complaints / concerns while issuing 8Ds and completing 8Ds, Ishikawa diagrams, evaluating SPC data, etc. A lot of irons in the fire, if you will. It's a lot and I've gathered a ton of experience as the " go to" for most issues in our quality department and by working side-by-side with our manager and other manager teams. I work diligently with our Japan teams and the Japan representatives station here for work. If it matters, I just turned 35 and have been with the company since September 2020. I started as a production line operator, moved to utility where I handled pH levels, fluids, ordering of fluids, and provided maintenance for dry and wet sump tanks. After that, I was picked up by the then acting QM around September-ish of 2021. My background is in Paramedic / Emergency medicine, Army Combat Medic / acting NCOIC of triage teams / aid station battlefield leapfrogging, aid station duties / everything under the sun, and leadership courses provided by the military.

My question is this - what types of continued education are available and what should I primarily be focusing on? Should I first start with the Lean Six Sigma certifications?

My goal is to learn as much as possible to be more effective in the quality field. I also want to have a goal / plan to strive for to increase my future potential as a hiring candidate. For example, I think it would be really awesome to work for Tesla one day or the other OEMs. I'm just curious as to the type of education I should be pursuing. Would it be beneficial to use my time to get a BS degree in something?

I would appreciate any feedback / advice on effective and useful education systems.

Thank you in advance.


Trusted Information Resource
Your narrative makes me believe that you should consider joining ASQ with a goal of seeking CQE certification. This path is much less expensive than trying to find an accredited university-level program. Much of your learning will have to be self-directed (for ASQ certification), but that is a feature and not a flaw.

I recommend this because of your emphasis on Quality. Certain jobs and employers might devalue a "quality education", but the Body-of-Knowledge for the CQE will serve as a solid foundation that (among other things) will help you better understand the field you have already been working in. As an example that is tangential to automotive: It is not uncommon for "project managers" in automotive to be focused on calendar dates to the exclusion of all else. The CQE BoK includes project management fundamentals such that a CQE will better understand the potential impact (and valuable mitigations) for choices that are made in project plans.

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
I agree with Tidge in the idea of pursuing an ASQ CQE Certification for one thing on the "to do" list. I would definitely go that route over any six sigma courses or "belts", be they "lean" or otherwise. IMO they are bloated, overly expensive, and in most cases unhelpful from a practical sense.

Many companies want people to have a bachelor's degree before they will promote them beyond a certain point, regardless of your job performance. Maybe your company is different, not sure about Tesla. If you go that route, try to get some credit for what you have already done.

Look at the various quality reading lists that are in recent threads. I would advise reading books and the many free articles available that are written by Dr. Donald Wheeler and Davis Balestracci for starters. There is a lot of gold there for free.


Forum Moderator
Some additional areas that have been useful in my career (after mastering the basics) is to learn about product safety, product liability and how to prevent/handle a recall, as well as product reliability. If your processes are more complex than assembly, I have found DOE to be extremely useful in understanding the process.


Haste Makes Waste
If you plan to continue in the automotive field, I recommend the AIAG Quality training. - Automotive Industry Action Group

If your company is an AIAG "member", you can get an account and then get a reduced price on most things and some things are free. If your company is not a member, you can still get an account but have to pay more for things.

Good luck.


Thank you all for the very helpful information, whether it be articles, training routes, or otherwise.
It is greatly appreciated.

Pawel Zelazowski

Starting to get Involved
Hi, as experience person in OEM and supplier side (Tier2/Tier3) i made one summary conclusion which is:

-> learning: only when You are working for Tier2, reason: SIE from OEM and each reasonable and sometimes compleatly unreasonable requests make your expirance more, and more sufficiend for position of GOOD quality engineer each day

-> using knowledge: only when You are working in OEM, reason: OEM usualy has no "best practice" in regulation, norm usadge - they create rules, not following them, meanings why you should learn your employees best practice from automotive indrasty?

-> if You don't need to develop and just want to flow day-by-day in automorive: Tier3 ! this is it! You can have each requests from Tier2 in .. sky... OEM is not touch your process - OEM does not like to make dirty they hands. And You flow from day to day.

Becouse I worked on 3 continents (US, Korea, Europe) already I recomend You to move to Germany, or Poland and start work for Tier2 company (is planty of them in Europe) - You will get, first: education, second: experance. This second, from my view is more usefull.
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