There are a variety of auditor certificate programs available, including certificates in internal auditing, residential energy auditing and information technology auditing. Prerequisites vary for different certificates but most require at least a GED or high school diploma. Many require professional experience, especially in the IT field. The IT audit certificate usually requires a bachelor's degree in a related field.
There are two types of internal auditing certificates. One type of certificate prepares students to take the CIA (certified internal auditor) exam. The other certificate is a certificate of completion offered generally through a college's continuing education department and allows a student to gain professional knowledge and skills in internal auditing.
Certificate in Internal Auditing
Applicants enrolling in a professional certificate program must have some experience in auditing or enough academic credits to have the background necessary to complete the coursework. They may be required to submit transcripts along with filling out an application.
Preparatory CIA certificates generally consist of four courses related to the four sections of the exam. Courses cover the development of skills in business management, information technology, business analysis, conducting an internal audit and control, risk and governance.
Students in professional certificate programs build systematic organizational skills for auditing operations. The courses are designed to allow students to make independent consulting decisions to improve an organization's effectiveness. The following are typical classes that can be found in internal auditing professional certificate programs:
- Risk assessment and control
- Auditing for internal fraud
- Financial analysis
- Information systems auditing
- Accounting and management
Certificate of Completion - Residential Energy Auditor
A residential energy auditor certificate program prepares students for certification as a residential energy auditor. Students in the certification program receive training to analyze performance issues in homes, diagnose energy problems and improve a home's energy performance to conserve and use energy efficiently. By utilizing class instruction and labs, students learn the basics of energy science, cost control, energy policies, climate impacts and renewable energy. Certificate programs also make use of computer software to analyze and understand utility bills.
A residential energy auditor certificate program requires the completion of core energy classes, as well as specialty courses in energy auditing. The following courses are some examples of classes students may find in the residential energy auditor certificate.
- Energy management
- Energy efficiency
- Energy analysis and assessment
- Technical mathematics
Certificate of Completion - Information Technology (IT) Audit
IT audit certificate programs are designed to enhance the internal or external IT professional's knowledge of auditing and IT issues. Within the certificate program, IT auditors build technical skills in financial systems audits, statistical applications and computer auditing applications. Students also gain a working knowledge base in how to secure and manage a company's financial and operational data, such as utilizing security architecture and controlling data supply.
Classes in IT auditing certificate programs cover the business process and data management, as well as techniques for information security and information management. Typical courses in IT auditing certificate programs include the following:
- Principles of IT auditing
- Assurance services
- Evaluating controls
- Information security auditing
- Technology implements
Other Auditing Certifications
Certifications for auditors exist in several other fields and include certified biomedical, HACCP and quality auditors. The certifications are offers through the American Society for Quality (ASQ). To apply for these certification exams, applicants must possess five years of job experience in the area of the certification. However, having an associate, bachelor's or master's degree waives some of the experience requirements. Certified biomedical, HACCP and quality auditors must also complete 18 recertification units in a 3-year period to maintain certification.
Certified IT auditors may find a wide range of entry- to mid-level positions within various companies or organizations. With a residential energy auditor certificate, graduates may find entry-level positions in construction, technology, manufacturing and engineering fields. The following positions are career choices graduates of the certificate program may take.
- Energy auditor
- Energy conservation representative
- Field energy consultant
- Process assurance analyst
- Information systems audit manager
- Senior auditor
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Certified auditors may obtain entry-level positions within large corporations in the internal auditing department and may eventually become Chief Audit Executives. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the demand for accountants and auditors will increase by about 11% from 2014-2024 due to the increase demand for business and organizations to provide accountability in spending to meet financial regulations. Accountants and auditors earned a median yearly salary of $67,190 in 2015, as per data released by the BLS.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
Students seeking to become CIAs (certified internal auditors) must pass the 4-part exam administered by the Institute of Internal Auditors. They must hold a bachelor's or master's degree and have completed a minimum of two years of internal auditing experience. Each segment of the exam must be completed within two years of each other. Those that have become certified in internal auditing must maintain their certification by completing Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours every two years.
To receive a certification as a residential energy auditor, students must take and pass national certification exams required by the Residential Energy Services Network and the Building Performance Institute Inc. Students may also further their education by enrolling in an associate degree program in energy performance and resource management.
Certification for IT auditing is offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) for a certified information systems auditor (CISA) certification. To qualify for the certification, graduates must hold five years of experience in IT auditing and complete the CISA exam. CISA's must also complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPE annually to maintain certification.
The demand for auditors is expected to grow by 11% over the next decade, and prospective students have many different certificate programs to choose from including internal auditing, residential energy, and IT.