ASQ is expanding its Certified Quality Auditor program to enhance the capabilities and broaden opportunities for those seeking this designation. In the last few years, the role of an internal auditor has extended beyond compliance to ISO 9001 standards to cover both internal processes and external expectations. As an evolving professional support organization, ASQ has recognized the importance of these external expectations and the need to train and qualify professionals to audit to these particular requirements.
One area of expansion is intended to accommodate auditors of companies involved in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). As a pilot program, ASQ will allow members with a CQA designation and two years’ experience with HACCP standards to write an exam that specifically addresses a customized body of knowledge. The HACCP material includes a HACCP overview, prerequisite programs, HACCP plan development, and implementation and maintenance of HACCP systems. HACCP is relevant to quality and auditing professionals in the food, drug, or medical device industries, as well as to those professionals involved in an integrated quality, environmental, and health and safety management system.
Another area of expansion is intended to accommodate auditors of quality management systems in the medical industries. According to the Biomedical Division of ASQ, preliminary preparations are being made for a Certified Biomedical Quality Auditor (CBQA). The Biomedical Division is in the process of defining the job description of a Biomedical Quality Auditor and the required body of knowledge for such a designation.
These are just two examples of the possibilities that are available to those members who hold ASQ certifications. It is reasonable to expect that other certifications, designations, or educational programs will be derived from the core certifications. The CQA designation is becoming a necessary first step on a continuing path toward education and profesasional development. I encourage all members to seriously consider acquiring a CQA designation and obtaining peer recognition as a quality auditor.
What does this mean for members in the Energy and Environmental Division? This precedent of expanding the CQA into specialized areas presents a tremendous education and certification opportunity for professionals involved in controlling integrated management systems affecting quality assurance, environmental management, and occupational health and safety. The unique and expanded requirements for conducting internal and external audits of these integrated systems can be defined, documented, and objectively presented to auditing professionals.
There is a growing need for international and independent recognition of the skills, capabilities, and competencies required for an auditor of integrated management systems. The present CQA body of knowledge does not address all these issues. One alternative would be to offer an additional certification to those members who have both a quality auditor certification and sufficient experience in integrated management systems. These members would be required to demonstrate their knowledge of particular elements by passing an additional certification exam.
I invite members of EED to define the body of knowledge and professional requirements necessary to ensure that auditors of integrated management systems are sufficiently trained and competent. This is a cross-functional project that would be strategically consistent with EED’s goals and objectives and would contribute greatly to increased involvement and participation among EED members. This is an idea that EED should adopt and implement.
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