Advice for becoming an ISO9001 Lead Auditor

A

arunmit

#1
Hi
I am going through a career transition phase and seriously considering becoming a contract Lead Auditor for QMS and EMS. I have extensive manufacturing background and been an internal auditor for both QMS and EMS and enjoyed it. I am seeking advice on the sequence of steps I need complete to get to this goal -
for eg:
1. Complete a certified RABQSA training (any recommendations on course providers- ASQ, BSI etc- looking for the FL area preferably to avoid further expenses at this point)
2. Take the CQA exam and get a card
3. Apply to Registrars for positions
4. If I recall- before they send you out as Lead auditor, one has to assist and get so many hours - how does one get these hours?

..and so on...

I know it seems pretty obvious for those who have gone through this but I want to make sure I follow the right sequence with a good % of getting employed as Lead auditor soon.also should I consider other like AS9100 which may be more in demand?

Thanks so much. I appreciate all the help this forum members provide
Arun
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

I'll be very honest with you. You are going to have to do more than simply attend a course and apply to a CB. People with this are 10 a penny. You have to serve as a lead auditor - take a look at the RABQSA and IRCA websites for the full requirements. Being an internal auditor and enjoying it, is nothing like the life of a CB auditor. Totally different.

Frankly - and not to burst your bubble - the market is flooded with people who want to be a Lead Auditor. If you have a very niche industry experience, that might be interesting to one CB or another. Beware of some CBs who will hire you without checking much about you - the day rate is so low, you'd be better having a regular day time job - especially in FL where there are already many auditors with far more experience.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

There are many threads here on this topic. My advice is to Search and read through some of the many threads here in which people have asked the exact same question.

Andy is essentially right, too. Actually ISO 9001 lead auditors have been "a dime a dozen" since around 2000. I don't know the current rate, but back in 2000 and later the rate was as low as US$400 a day. Not too bad, but then again it typically isn't a 5 day week.

Note that even registrars are suffering as so many companies are registered to ISO 9001 that it's hard to find and keep new customers. For a while some small registrars did OK but these days most of the registrars are big companies.

Meanwhile the "big" opportunities these days are in regulatory affairs, medical devices, food industry, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace. Problem is they each require experience usually both in actually working in the industry and something like internal auditing in the field.

I'm not saying don't try, but expect extreme competition and a lot of work.
 

Big Jim

Trusted Information Resource
#4
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

If you haven't been discouraged by the two previous responses, my suggestion is to engage a certification body either before you start the journey and early in the journey. They can tell you what they are looking for and provide pointed guidance.

There are a lot of auditors and potential auditors, but there are not enough GOOD ones.
 
Last edited:
A

arunmit

#5
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

Marc and Andy- thanks, this was what I needed. I suspected that but have only heard the good stories.Travel, good pay, you get to pick your weeks...I iwill read through for more advice but I will really do my research before getting into this
 
A

arunmit

#6
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

Yes, I have done that- cold called BSI and asked if I can speak to someone to talk about precisely what I asked. They put me in contact with a couple. I have called and not heard back. I'll keep trying.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#7
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

My experience has been that having a long resume and passing an accredited Lead Auditor course were the minimum to get taken in as a CB auditor. Most registrars have shown themselves to be unwilling to develop their auditors; most appear to expect their applicants to come ready with all the qualifications in place. Ideally this means multiple qualifications. I made the jump based on being able to audit to 9001, 14001, 18001 and after a quick transition, RC14001. Versatility is key in this labor market.
:2cents:
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#8
Re: Advice for becoming ISO9001 Lead Auditor

My experience has been that having a long resume <snip>
That is a very key aspect.

When I typed : ".... big" opportunities these days are in regulatory affairs, medical devices, food industry, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace..." the gateway is experience in the field. Much better pay, relatively few of them (high demand), etc. ISO 9001 auditors are typically "generic" and can audit most any business. That said, I know some registrars want their ISO 9001 auditors to have work experience in the field the company being audited is in. Others, not so much a requirement.

I did not intend to be totally negative which is why I wrote: "... I'm not saying don't try, but expect extreme competition and a lot of work ...". Most people can achieve such a goal with hard work and perseverance. You can build up relationships and it can work for you.

As I said in my earlier post: "There are a lot of threads here where this same question has been asked." This thread got some initial negative posts, but it is a weekend.

Try this: "Lead Auditor". The discussions are not all about how to become an ISO 9001 Lead Auditor, but as a whole they may give you some "food for thought".

If you are young, your "gateway" obstacle will be "Experience in the Field that you want to Audit".
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#9
$400 a day is pretty close, especially for a 9K auditor with no other skills (I get quite a bit more as do a couple other folks here I'm sure)

All I do is audit my friend, nothing else and the advice you've been given is pretty good especially about being able to do other standards and the experience bit. The cheapest commodity in the CB world is a 9K auditor with a small range of SIC codes.
 
A

arunmit

#10
Thanks, Randy.. just so you know, you were instrumental in my getting interested in the auditing world after I attended a 14001 Internal auditor training session conducted by you in Rhode Island a few years ago. As I sit down during this "career transition" phase, I will research the posts on this site and see if this is a path that would work for me.
Thanks again
Arun
 
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