The function of a Quality Auditor is to carry out a thorough independent evaluation of the quality or inspection department of any manufacturing or service company. Throughout the evaluation procedure the quality auditor will independently carry out an assessment of the quality control process and systems, and confirm that all the quality control procedures are being carried out correctly, in order to meet the customer's requirements at a minimal quality cost.
In large engineering companies it is not unusual for the customer to have his own team of quality auditors working alongside the auditors employed by engineering company in a process referred to as a product validation, especially when large financial contracts have been placed. In such situations the team will consist of certified quality audit professionals who hold the CQA, (Certified Quality Auditor).
The most common topics and functions associated with any CQA include the following duties.
It is highly recommended that any person involved in quality audit become certified by passing the CQA exam. Listed below are a few tips as to how to get CQA certification.
Nearly all certifications relating to the quality function are carried out under the auspices of the American Society of Quality (ASQ) so the first thing to do is to browse around their relevant website.
To apply for the CQA exam you will have to meet certain basic requirements.
Prior to any application you will need to be in full time paid employment and are required to have a minimum of eight years on the job experience relating to the content of the CQA body of knowledge, (Available on the ASQ/CQA website).
Further, three years of your experience should have involved decision making roles, by which is meant that, you have had the authority to not only define and control projects and processes but be responsible for the result of such quality programs.
However if you have gained certification from the ASQ in related quality disciplines (Quality Engineering for example) this will be favorably taken into account when you apply for your CQA. If you hold academic qualifications then time waivers against the 8 year on the job experience are accreditable. A Technical Diploma will earn a 1 year waiver, an Associate degree, a 2 year waiver, Bachelors, a 4 year waiver, and a Masters a 5 year waiver.
You will also be required to meet certain minimum requirements to gain your CQA, a couple of which are defined below, to give you an idea, though the list is not complete by any means.
The next step in the CQA certification process is to sit the written exam which is held twice yearly in June and December, consisting of multiple choice questions spread over a five hour period, all based on the content of the CQA body of knowledge.
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