General FAQs

What is Certification

Certification is formal recognition by ASQ that an individual has proficiency within, and a comprehension of, a specified body of knowledge (BoK). It is peer recognition, not registration or licensure.

Why Become Certified?

Quality competition is a fact of life, and the need for a work force proficient in the principles and practices of quality control is a central concern of many companies. Certification is a mark of excellence. It demonstrates that the certified individual has the knowledge to assure quality of products and services. Certification is an investment in your career and in the future of your employer.

How is the Body of Knowledge Created?

Job analysis survey

The starting point for the exam development process is a job analysis survey that is conducted every five years to identify the skills and knowledge areas currently being used in the field. In order to create appropriate items for the survey instrument, an advisory board is appointed by the sponsoring ASQ division.

This committee, like all of the subsequent exam development committees, is composed of ASQ members who work in the area to be tested and are already certified. In the case of brand new certification exams, ASQ volunteer member leaders who are subject matter experts in the field to be tested serve on the committee. These volunteers identify typical job responsibilities (what people do on the job) and the knowledge bases required (what people need to know in order to perform their job). The committee also reviews a wide variety of textbooks to ensure that these topics are covered in reference material that is readily available.

In the case of the survey advisory board, its work results in a questionnaire that asks respondents to rate each item in the survey in terms of criticality (how important is this task or knowledge) and frequency (how often is this task performed or knowledge used). The survey is piloted to ensure that the questionnaire itself is as clearly presented and as easy to complete as possible.

Member input

Once the survey instrument has been approved and all necessary revisions made, it is sent to a sample of certified ASQ members who either work in the area to be tested (as identified by job title) or supervise employees who perform the tasks identified in the survey. Except for the deliberate job title selection, the 2,000 plus certified ASQ members who receive the survey are randomly selected across geographic locations and industry types to ensure that no one industry or region skews the results of the survey.

The data from the survey are then analyzed and a set of recommended tasks and knowledge areas is presented in a summary report, which is submitted to the sponsoring division. The rule for recommendation is that a task or knowledge must score at or above the midpoint: in other words, earn a score of at least 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 5, for criticality or frequency. The sponsoring division approves the results, which are then submitted to the Certification Board for final approval.

After the approval process, a BOK committee is formed. This committee of subject matter experts, includes some members of the advisory committee and again has representatives from across a wide demographic spectrum.

The BOK committee's primary task is to translate the job analysis results into meaningful categories that can be tested. Committee members use a variety of quality tools to facilitate this process, and the final result forms an outline of major topic areas, supported by appropriate subtopics.

The committee then determines how many questions will be asked in each area of the BOK, based on the importance of the topic as well as the depth of testable material in that topic. The committee again uses tools such as multivoting and prioritization matrices to help guide the decision-making process.

How Does the Certification Board Oversee the Certification Program?

ASQ Certification Board Value Statement

The ASQ Certification Board provides Leadership and Stewardship, with Integrity and Customer Focus, of the process for certifying Quality Professionals both now and in the future.

Stewardship: We assume the responsibility to organize and manage intellectual property of the Quality movement, including certification exams and related products. Our efforts imply and require a vision of, and dedication to, the Quality profession. The Board is tasked with outreach to internal and external customers, to communicate the value and importance of Certification to both employers and quality professionals.

Integrity: We oversee and uphold professionalism as a primary characteristic of our certification process, product, and application. A firm personal ethic becomes the strong professional ethic of volunteer members which, in turn, becomes personal validation. Broad-based certifications, multilingual, fair and unbiased in content and availability, are our product.

Customer Focus: ASQ, as leader of a diverse, ever-expanding, global quality community, supports quality professionals in academia, industry, and government. We create new certifications defined by the values and requirements of our customers, recognizing them as the future owners of quality knowledge, practice, and dissemination. We network with others across the world to advance innovation and the understanding of the value and importance of quality knowledge, professions, and certifications.

Teamwork, Involvement, Cooperation, and Partnering: We respect the values of others and strive for consensus.Teamwork and partnering encourage opportunities, inside and outside the quality community, for personal and professional development. Employee and corporate application of technology, tools, and processes fosters skill enhancement, employee expertise, and empowerment at all professional levels.

Application of Quality Tools and Techniques: Our dynamic, living strategy focuses on short- and long-term strategic planning and quality management. We create opportunities for the application of knowledge and skills, outreach and sharing of ideas, and on-going improvement in machine and computer technology. We believe that only the best we do today will be carried forward to tomorrow.

What happens when new standards are published?

When new and updated standards are published, ASQ will still test candidates' knowledge of that standard, but the correct answer should be provided according to both the new and old standard until:

  • The new standard becomes fully implemented (such as ISO 9000: The new standard is now fully implemented, so the old standard is NO LONGER tested).
  • The old standard is no longer used by the industry (for example: the Z1.4 and Z1.9 standards have been released, but a deadline for implementation is not required, so both the old and new standard are in use, and answers to test questions should be the same in both years).
How can I use certifications on my business cards?

Individuals with ASQ certification may indicate their certification(s) on their personal business cards. Please refer to your certification in terms which are consistent with the legal requirements found in many states.

Canadian Provincial and Territorial laws prohibit the use of the term "engineer" unless an individual is registered in Canada as a Professional Engineer. However, ASQ-certified individuals would not be in violation of this law if they use the acronyms "ASQ CQE," as appropriate, as a title instead of the word "engineer."

Is there an "order" for acquiring certifications?

Is there an "order" for acquiring certifications?

We receive many questions regarding a "career track" for certification - which certifications lead to another and help with professional growth. This is purely an individual choice, based on your unique career path and goals. To give you some ideas on how to proceed, use our interactive Certification Pathways Tool or view the Certification Career Path diagram showing different tracks of technical, engineering, management, or auditing certifications.

What is ASQ's impartiality policy?

ASQE seeks to attain the highest degree of public confidence and trust in rendering unbiased services. ASQE fully acknowledges the importance of impartiality in carrying out its certification body activities, which are governed by the requirements of the International Standard ISO/IEC 17024.View the full policy here.

How can I register a formal complaint?

A complaint is a formal request of dissatisfaction other than appeal, by any person or organization regarding an ASQ’s certification staff, services, procedures, policies or any other certification-related activity.

Individuals with concerns are encouraged to discuss these with the individuals involved or the ASQ certification staff to try and resolve the matter informally. If a resolution is not possible, individuals may wish to file a formal complaint. View full details of how to submit a formal complaint.

Can I appeal a certification decision?

You may formally appeal a certification decision in specific circumstances. Please view the full Appeal policy and requirements here.

Featured Advertisers