Definitions of Job Titles

If you are unsure about your job title, here are suggested definitions for the job titles used in the survey. Some of the definitions were compiled by an HR expert and have been refined throughout the years; others are based on input from respondents to the Salary Survey. All definitions are intended only as a guide. Based on respondent feedback, they will continue to be analyzed and refined each year.

Analyst: Initiates and coordinates quality related data from production, service, or process improvement activities and reports these data using statistical techniques.

Associate: Involved in quality improvement projects but not necessarily full-time; does not necessarily have primary responsibility for traditional quality management, assurance, or control activities.

Auditor: Primarily performs and reports on internal or external quality system audits.

Black Belt: Six Sigma or quality expert, often full-time team leader, responsible for implementing process improvement projects within the business to drive up customer satisfaction levels and business productivity.

Calibration Technician: Tests, calibrates, maintains, and repairs electrical, mechanical, electromechanical, analytical, and electronic measuring, recording, and indicating instruments and equipment for conformance to established standards.

Champion: Business leader or senior manager who ensures resources are available for quality training and projects and is involved in project tollgate reviews; often an executive who supports and addresses Six Sigma organizational issues.

Consultant: Provides advice, facilitation, and training on the development, administration, and technical aspects of an organization’s quality improvement efforts at any or all levels. Has an expertise or specialty in some or all aspects of the quality field; and is at the forefront of keeping abreast of changes in his/her field. This person can be from outside the organization or can be an employee of the organization.

Coordinator: Collects, organizes, monitors, and distributes information related to quality and process improvement functions, possibly including but not limited to compliance to and/or documentation of quality management standards, such as ISO 9001. Typically generates reports using computer skills and distributes those reports to various users in the organization, customers, or suppliers.

Director: Oversees all aspects of the organization’s quality or business improvement efforts, such as developing and administrating the program, training and coaching employees, and facilitating change throughout the organization. Responsible for establishing strategic plans, policies, and procedures at all levels so quality improvement efforts will meet or exceed internal and external customers’ needs and expectations.

Educator/instructor: Primary responsibility is instructing or training others on quality related topics, tools, and techniques. This person may be an employee of an organization or teach in a university or college setting.

Green Belt: Operates in support of or under the supervision of a Six Sigma Black Belt, analyzes quality problems, and is involved in quality improvement projects. A Green Belt has at least three years of work experience and wants to demonstrate his or her knowledge of Six Sigma tools and processes.

Inspector: Inspects, audits, and reports on materials, processes, and products using variable or attribute measuring instruments and techniques to ensure conformance with the company’s quality standards.

Manager: Ensures the administration of the company’s quality, process, or business improvement efforts within a defined segment of the organization; might be responsible for dealing with customers and suppliers on quality or performance issues. This person typically has people reporting directly to him or her.

Master Black Belt: Six Sigma or quality expert responsible for strategic implementations within the business; qualified to teach other Six Sigma facilitators the methodologies, tools, and applications in all functions and levels of the organization; and is a resource for using statistical methods to improve processes.

Process/manufacturing/project engineer: Performs engineering work to evaluate manufacturing processes or performance improvement projects for optimization. Duties also may include the development of processes to ensure that quality, cost, and efficiency requirements are met.

Quality engineer: Designs, installs, and evaluates quality assurance process sampling systems, procedures, and statistical techniques; designs or specifies inspection and testing mechanisms and equipment; analyzes production and service limitations and standards; recommends revision of specifications when indicated; formulates or helps formulate quality assurance policies and procedures. May conduct training on quality assurance concepts and tools. Interfaces with all other engineering components within the organization and with customers and suppliers on quality related issues.

Reliability/safety engineer: Uses principles of performance evaluation and prediction to improve the safety, reliability, and maintainability of products and systems. Plans reliability tests and conducts analyses of field failures. Develops and administers reliability information systems for failure analysis and performance improvement.

Software quality engineer: Applies quality principles to the development and use of software and software based systems. Designs and implements software development and maintenance processes. Designs or specifies test methods for software inspection, verification, and validation.

Specialist: As the primary assignment, performs a specific quality related function within the company’s quality program. Examples include management representative, statistician, and testing expert. Has received direct training or has been performing the activity for a number of years. Shows a high degree of skill performing that specific activity.

Supervisor: Administers the company’s quality improvement efforts within a defined department of the organization. Has direct reports that implement some aspect of the policies and procedures of the quality functions.

Supplier quality engineer/professional: Responsible for all quality improvement issues related to vendors and suppliers of materials, products, or services used in development or manufacture; assesses potential new suppliers; and works with suppliers to develop and improve the entire supply chain. May be involved in purchasing.

Technician: Performs basic quality techniques, possibly including calibration, to track, analyze, and report on materials, processes, and products to ensure they meet the company’s quality standards.

Vice president/executive: Establishes the direction for the development and administration of the organization’s quality improvement efforts. Consults with peers on the attitudes and practices of quality throughout the organization to develop an environment of continual improvement in every aspect of the organization’s products and services. Acts as a champion for quality.

Featured advertisers


ASQ is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better. ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality.
Careers in Quality