The Certified Quality Auditor is a professional who understands the standards and principles of auditing and the auditing techniques of examining, questioning, evaluating and reporting to determine a quality system's adequacy and deficiencies. The Certified Quality Auditor analyzes all elements of a quality system and judges its degree of adherence to the criteria of industrial management and quality evaluation and control systems.
Here are the requirements, experience and exam specifics for a Certified Quality Auditor.
Candidates must have worked in a full-time, paid role. Paid intern, co-op or any other course work cannot be applied toward the work experience requirement.
Candidates must have eight years of on-the-job experience in one or more of the areas of the Certified Quality Auditor Body of Knowledge. A minimum of three years of this experience must be in a decision-making position. "Decision-making" is defined as the authority to define, execute, or control projects/processes and to be responsible for the outcome. This may or may not include management or supervisory positions.
For candidates who were certified by ASQ as a quality engineer, reliability engineer, supplier quality professional, software quality engineer or quality manager, the experience used to qualify for certification in these fields applies to certification as a quality auditor.
Candidates who have completed a degree from a college, university or technical school with accreditation accepted by ASQ, part of the eight-year experience requirement will be waived, as follows (only one of these waivers may be claimed):
Diploma from a technical or trade school — one year will be waived
Associate degree — two years waived
Bachelor’s degree — four years waived
Master’s or doctorate — five years waived
Degrees/diplomas from educational institutions outside the United States must be equivalent to degrees from U.S. educational institutions.
These are the minimum expectations of a Certified Quality Auditor.
Must possess the knowledge and ability to effectively conduct different types of audits as appropriate for the method, relationship, or purpose of the audit, and must recognize the effect those audit types will have on the audit scope and outcomes.
Must be able to audit in a professional, ethical, and objective manner using and interpreting applicable standards or requirements, with an awareness of potential legal and financial ramifications.
Must be able to effectively plan, communicate, and execute an audit within its defined scope, including scheduling resources, conducting necessary meetings in performance of the audit, and using appropriate techniques to gather, identify, and classify objective evidence.
Must be able to verify, document, and communicate audit results, develop an audit report, and evaluate the effectiveness of corrective action and follow up.
Must possess interpersonal skills to resolve conflict, conduct interviews, and make presentations while participating as an audit team member, and must possess knowledge of the unique responsibilities of the lead auditor and team facilitator.
Must be able to select appropriate quality and auditing tools and techniques and use them effectively in a variety of in practical applications.
Body of Knowledge
The topics in this Body of Knowledge include subtext explanations and the cognitive level at which the questions will be written. This information will provide useful guidance for both the Exam Development Committee and the candidate preparing to take the exam.
The subtext is not intended to limit the subject matter or be all-inclusive of that material that will be covered in the exam. It is meant to clarify the type of content that will be included on the exam. The descriptor in parentheses at the end of each entry refers to the maximum cognitive level at which the topic will be tested. A complete description of cognitive levels is provided at the end of this document.
Please Note: The new Certified Quality Auditor Body of Knowledge will be tested starting with the June 2019 testing window. Examination results for the June pilot examination will be sent out four to six weeks after sitting for the exam. Click here to compare the 2012 and 2019 CQA BoKs (PDF, 392 KB).
Download the Certified Quality Auditor Body of Knowledge
Each certification candidate is required to pass an examination that consists of multiple-choice questions that measure comprehension of the Body of Knowledge.
Computer Delivered - The CQA examination is a one-part, 165- multiple choice question, five-and-a-half-hour exam and is offered in English only. 150 multiple choice questions are scored and 15 are unscored.
Paper and Pencil - The CQA examination is a one-part, 150- multiple choice question, five-hour exam and is offered in English and Spanish in certain locations. View available translated exams, dates and locations here.
All examinations are open book, with the exception of the constructed response (essay) portion of the CMQ/OE exam. Each participant must bring his or her own reference materials. Use of reference materials and calculators is explained in the FAQs.
The CQA examinations will continue to present a number of case studies. Each case study will include a brief scenario outlining critical details about an audit situation. In addition, each case study will be supported by related audit documents.
Approximately 15 percent to 20 percent (25-30 questions) of the test will be devoted to these case studies.
Although the questions related to these cases will use the same four-choice answer format as the rest of the test, the use of scenario details and sample documents will allow the candidates to apply their critical thinking skills in evaluating realistic situations and accompanying documents, memos, etc.
To maintain the integrity of your Quality Auditor certification, ASQ requires that you recertify every three years. Find out the steps you need to take for recertification.
ASQ certification examinations are delivered by ASQ's testing partner, Prometric. The examination scheduling instructions in your eligibility letter will direct you to a section of Prometric's website, where you can select and schedule your examination date and location.
April 5 - 21, 2019
June 7 - 23, 2019
May 10, 2019
The new 2019 CQA BoK will be tested in this window
August 2 - 18, 2019
July 5, 2019
October 4 - 20, 2019
September 6, 2019
Special Administration Exam Dates
**For a list of dates and locations of ASQ offered Permanent Special Administration sites (paper based exams) please click here.**