MILWAUKEE, WI — For a third year in a row, average salaries for quality professionals in the United States have increased — this year up 1.5 percent to $93,036, according the 31st annual American Society for Quality Quality Progress salary survey.

The growth is modest when compared to average salary increases since 2005. Except for the two years that average salaries decreased in 2012 and 2014, the 2017 increase is the second lowest, just slightly more than the 2016 increase of 0.86 percent.

In Canada, where quality professionals last year reported a 2.6 percent decrease, the turnaround this year also was slight: a 0.7 percent rise to $87,569. (All Canadian figures are noted in Canadian dollars.)

According to the survey, the highest-paid quality professionals by title in the United States include vice president or executive, who make an average $170,131, Master Black Belts, who average $148,198, and directors, who make $132,780.

In Canada, those who hold the same titles earn the highest salaries: vice presidents or executives average $168,484, Master Black Belts earn $148,000, and directors make $119,826.

“With the economy seemingly recovered from the Great Recession, it’s nice to see a trend of increasing average salaries for quality professionals,” said ASQ Chair Eric Hayler. “And as quality professionals continue to impact their organization’s bottom lines, companies will continue to recognize and reward them accordingly.”

Results of the most comprehensive study of salaries among quality professionals are featured in the December issue of Quality Progress magazine, the flagship publication of ASQ — the leading global authority on quality.

The Quality Progress Salary Survey was completed by more than 5,800 quality professionals from a broad range of industries and market sectors. Regular, full-time employees made up 95.7 percent of the respondents. Self-employed consultants, part-time employees and unemployed, retired or laid-off workers also were surveyed.

Tenure, Certification Result in Higher Pay

It’s not surprising that the number of ASQ certifications a quality professional holds results in higher pay, yet nearly half of the U.S. respondents to the QP Salary Survey have no certifications. Approximately 30 percent have attained just one certification.

Those without ASQ certifications earn an average of $87,748, while those with one certification earn $93,576. Those with two certifications earn $5,707 more than those with one. Quality professionals who earn six or more certifications — only 0.7 percent of the U.S. respondents — earn an average of $116,747.

The biggest discrepancy is among quality engineers, where earning a manager of quality/organizational excellence certification can increase pay $16,351 over those without that credential. Managers who earn the same certification, earn 12 percent more than managers without it, from $96,905, to $108,526.

And like certifications, the more years’ experience gained, the higher the salary. The average salary for quality professionals in the United States with less than one year of experience is $63,752, while the average salary for those with more than 20 years’ experience is $109,264. Among Canadian respondents, those with less than one year average $52,633 and those with more than 20 years’ experience earn on average $106,370.

For those new to quality and for those who haven’t pursued certifications, Six Sigma training seems to be another way to increase salary. In fact, those in the United States who have completed at least one level of Six Sigma training makes an average of nearly $18,000 more than those who haven’t had any additional Six Sigma training. In Canada, those without Six Sigma training average $85,114, while those who have completed at least one level of training earn an average of $90,975.

When examining specific levels of Six Sigma training, the differences are more pronounced.

In the United States, Master Black Belts earn an average $142,080, compared to $84,675 for those without any Six Sigma training — a difference of more than $57,000. In Canada, Master Black Belts earn $129,750, whereas those without Six Sigma training earn an average $85,114.

Survey Background

For 31 years, Quality Progress has released its annual Salary Survey, outlining the health of the quality profession. The survey breaks down salary information, submitted by ASQ members, in 26 sections and sorts results by several variables, including job title, education, years of experience and geographic location.

In addition to the survey, Quality Progress magazine has updated its online salary calculator reflecting 2017 data. The calculator, which is available to ASQ members, allows users to pinpoint salaries based on several variables.

ASQ members can view the entire QP Salary Survey results by visiting