Becoming a Certified QMS Auditor is one of the biggest steps you can take to advance your career as an ISO 9001-based quality management system auditor. You will have more opportunities for work, become more attractive to certification bodies and other clients, and you will gain respect of your peers with this certification. You may even be able to raise your rates or get a raise after you attach the certified QMS auditor credentials to your name.
Becoming a Certified QMS Auditor will help you take your audit career to the next level. There are many opportunities for certified QMS auditors. As an employee, you can serve as QMS internal auditor, supplier auditor, or manager of the organization’s QMS audits. As a contractor, you can conduct third-party QMS audits, internal QMS audits for organizations, and serve as a consultant to organizations looking set up or improve a QMS.
Organizations are increasingly concerned about the competence of their auditors. Certification bodies must ensure their auditors act professionally, conduct accurate audits, communicate effectively, and meet the competence requirements set by accreditation bodies. Organizations certified to ISO 9001 rely on their internal auditors to accurately assess the organization’s QMS processes to maintain their certification.
The Certified QMS Auditor designation will help you demonstrate that you have the necessary knowledge, experience, skills, and competence to conduct effective audits. The investment you make in becoming a Certified QMS Auditor tells potential employers that are willing to invest in your career and a true professional.
Certus Professional Certification offers QMS Auditor certification for the following grades:
- Provisional Auditor: This grade is for people who have completed a QMS auditor training course but have not yet met the auditor grade requirements. You may maintain provisional auditor certification for up to two years. After which, you must transition to a higher grade to maintain your certification. This is a good way to begin your auditing career as it gives you formal recognition of your training and knowledge.
- Auditor: For those who audit solo or as a member of a QMS audit team.
- Lead Auditor: For those who lead QMS audits and QMS audit teams.
- Master Auditor: For experienced QMS auditors with at least ten years of lead QMS auditor experience. This grade is for senior QMS audit professionals with an extensive history of conducting audits, but who may no longer lead teams or audit regularly. Master QMS auditors may move into training, consulting, or management roles.
Steps to Become a Certified QMS Auditor
Meet the Work Experience Requirements
QMS Auditor candidates are required to have a minimum level of work experience, depending upon the grade of certification desired.
The following professional experience is required:
- Provisional Auditor: None
- Auditor: At least two years’ work experience, with at least one year of work experience in quality management.*
- Lead Auditor: At least five years’ work experience, with at least two years of work experience in quality management.*
- Master Auditor: At least ten years’ work experience, with at least ten years’ audit experience at a lead auditor grade.
*Work experience in quality management may have been gained through one or a combination of the following: quality management system implementation or maintenance or having worked in a quality assurance/control/management role either as part of the organization or as a consultant.
Complete a QMS Auditor Training Course
QMS Auditor applicants for all grades of certification are required to submit evidence of the successful completion of a QMS auditor or lead QMS auditor training course (e.g., ISO 9001 lead auditor course). The course must be a minimum of 16 hours for QMS auditors and 32 hours for lead QMS auditors.
There are many training providers that offer QMS auditor training courses. Because it would be a conflict of interest, Certus does not provide QMS auditor training.
Demonstrate Relevant Audit Experience
QMS Auditor applicants for all grades (except provisional auditor) are required to demonstrate the following audit experience:
- Provisional Auditor: None
- Auditor: A minimum of three QMS audits, amounting to a minimum of six days in total.
- Lead Auditor: A minimum of three full QMS audits as leader of an audit team, amounting to a minimum of nine days in total.
- Master Auditor: A minimum of ten years as a lead auditor.
QMS Auditor applicants must have completed their audits within ten years of the date of application.
Take and Pass the Certus Certified QMS Auditor Exam
After the Certified QMS Auditor applicant has submitted all required supporting documents and they have been verified and approved, Certus will issue access to the online QMS Auditor exam.
Applicants are required to pass with a minimum score of 70 percent. Applicants may retake the exam three times at no additional cost, if needed.
The Certus QMS Auditor exam is based on ISO 19011 and ISO 9001:2015. Applicants for the provisional auditor and auditor grade will take an exam based on auditing principles and ISO 9001:2015 knowledge. Applicants for the lead auditor grade will take an exam based on auditing principles, ISO 9001:2015 knowledge, and team leadership principles.
Pay QMS Auditor Application and Annual Certification Fee
The fees for the Certified QMS Auditor are below:
- Application Fee—All Grades (nonrefundable): $49
- Provisional Auditor Grade Certification Fee (Per Year): $99
- Auditor Grade Certification Fee (Per Year): $199
- Lead Auditor Grade Certification Fee (Per Year): $249
- Master Auditor Grade Certification Fee (Per Year): $249
QMS Auditor applicants must provide identification documents such as a birth certificate, driver’s license, state ID, or passport. Identification numbers may be blacked out for security purposes.
Adhere to the Certus Professional Certification Code of Conduct
QMS Auditor applicants must agree to adhere to the Certus Code of Conduct. This sets minimum guidelines for the behavior of certified professional auditors. Applicants must agree to adhere to the code of conduct so long as they maintain their Certified QMS Auditor status with Certus.
Fulfill the Continuing Professional Development Requirements
Obtaining the Certified QMS Auditor designation is just the beginning of your career as a world-class QMS auditor. Professional standards for QMS auditing require the continuing professional development and the maintenance of a high level of competence in the conduct of a QMS audit. As such, continuing professional development (CPD) units must be earned prior to renewal of the Certified QMS Auditor certification.
All Certus Certified QMS Auditors are required to earn a minimum of 20 hours of CPD per year to maintain their certification. Acceptable CPD activities include attendance at conferences, webinars, educational events, classes; authoring papers, books, or white papers; teaching a course; and others. All activities must be relevant to your role as a Certified QMS Auditor.
Will You Become a Certified QMS Auditor?
Being a Certified QMS Auditor is a life-long commitment to delivering high-quality QMS audits and related services. Stand out from the crowd and get the recognition you need to prove your competence as a professional Certified QMS Auditor.