This month’s question:

I’m new to auditing and would like more information pertaining to its substance. What I mean is: What can be done with an auditing certification? Where can I generally use it and in what industry? How far can I go with it?

Our response:

Speaking from personal experience, there’s a lot that can be done with an auditing certification. An excellent place to start is with ASQ’s quality auditor certification. As a certified quality auditor, you will have fundamental auditing knowledge and be familiar with audit processes, auditor competencies, audit program management, and quality tools and techniques. Conducting quality and process audits will allow you to apply what you have learned, meet people across the organization and learn about many of the organization’s processes. That knowledge will expand if you conduct supplier audits.

In addition to the quality auditor certification, other auditor certifications are available. For example, Exemplar Global and the International Register of Certificated Auditors provide lead auditor certifications, which can be used to become an auditor with an accredited ISO 9001 certification body (for example, British Standards Institute, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, National Quality Assurance and TÜV). Working as an auditor with one of these organizations will provide you with even more opportunities to audit a variety of organizations and to travel. There are also industry-specific auditor certifications for hazard analysis, critical control points (food production), medical devices and biomedical systems, as well as for software (TickITplus) and automotive (Automotive Industry Action Group International Automotive Task Force). Having an industry-specific certification will improve your credibility as an auditor in that industry.

Where you can use it

Quality and process audits are conducted in nearly every manufacturing and service industry around the world. For example, think about all the organizations that have achieved ISO 9001 certification. Those certifications span all industries. Each of those certified organizations is audited by its own internal auditor as well as certification body auditors.

How far you can go

As an auditor, you will develop skills related to planning, team management, leadership, interviewing, time management, data and information analysis, problem solving, root cause analysis, decision making, reporting, presenting and conflict resolution. Many of the skills developed as an auditor can be transferred to other careers, such as quality engineer, Six Sigma Black Belt, process improvement specialist, project manager and quality manager. Many organizations value the skills, experience and broad exposure you will have as an auditor. How far you go is up to you.

This month’s response was written by Ken Cogan, project manager, Maxtena Inc., Rockville, MD. Visit them at www.maxtena.com.

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