ISO auditors survey and assess equipment, production systems and processes for manufacturing companies to ensure they are compliant with ISO regulations. Business professionals interested in becoming ISO auditors can find relevant training programs from technical schools and community colleges through continuing education or professional development departments. While a few programs may award a certificate, most are non-credit programs that offer students the chance to perform audits and gain experience in ISO standards.
Each standard has its own numerical code; the ISO-9001:2008 and ISO-14001:2004 standards are popular focus areas for these programs. No formal education admission requirements exist, but programs may expect students to complete fundamental coursework. The ISO-9001:2008 course concentrates on ISO guideline systems, while ISO-14001:2004 is specific to environmental, management and auditing systems.
ISO 9001:2008 Training Programs
ISO states that this standard covers quality management systems (QMS) that are designed to ensure customer satisfaction with products and to help organizations meet all relevant regulatory guidelines (www.iso.org). Lead auditors are trained to perform internal quality audits, differentiate between specific types of audits, identify and document any nonconformity, prepare audit reports and implement corrective measures. Common program topics include:
- Conducting an audit
- Audit plans
- Correction action processes
- Process audits
- Process models
- System audits
ISO-14001: 2004 Training Programs
This standard requires organizations to monitor and control the overall impact of their operations upon the natural environment, understand auditing and direct team members. Lead auditors for this standard can be trained to assess their companies' methods for controlling environmental hazards, test their respective EMS and examine EMS documentation. Course program topics include:
- Documentation requirements
- EMS and the law
- Environmental impacts and aspects
- Environmental system requirements
- Audit reports
- Auditing regulations
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ISO auditors are a subset of inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers (www.bls.gov). The BLS expects employment in this profession to decline by 18% from 2018 to 2028. In May 2018, the BLS stated that the average salary for all inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers was $42,010.
The American Society of Quality (ASQ) confers certification in a range of different quality auditing and inspection areas. The certification process usually requires that candidates have a particular level of professional experience and pass an exam. For the Quality Auditor certification in particular, the ASQ requires eight years of experience, although it will waive some of these years depending on candidates' degree levels (www.asq.org). The exam in this case has 150 questions and takes five hours to complete.
Non-credit-granting ISO auditor training programs can be found at technical schools and community colleges. Two of the most popular programs include one in quality management systems and another in environmental, lead auditing and management systems.