I shy away from A2LA, I have seen some real shoddy stuff and have not had the opportunity to see any improvements (their fault or my choice of sample? don't know) so I have zero confidence in their very very expensive service.
May I ask why you need this course? Is it for internal audits or is it for performing external audits? (It should be noted that ISO 17025 external audits are called 'accreditations', because the assessor must meet very stringent technical expertise qualifications, and most I've met are consultants that seem to be on the writing committees for technical standards.)
You probably won't find an RAB or IRCA accredited course for the simple reason that ISO 17025 is not a 'management system' as much as it is a 'technical competence system'. I snipped the following from a different listserv, (full credit will be given to the author) which is a great explanation on this subject.
The following excerpt was taken from the ISO 25 listserv:
To whom it may concern: You do not have to be RAB certified to audit to ISO
17025. The accrediting bodies (such as NVLAP, A2LA and SCC) have their own auditor courses and criteria to become an assessor for ACCREDITATION.
RAB Lead auditor status is required to perform ISO, QS, AS, TE 9000 and ISO 14000 type audits for Quality Management System (QMS) and Environmental Management System (EMS) REGISTRATION.
An RAB approved course for ISO 17025 lead auditors is based on the same auditor training requirements (ISO 10011 Guidelines for conducting Quality Audits) but the case studies are based on Laboratory scenarios.
It is my understanding that RAB accepts ISO 17025 assessments as equivalent in content to ISO 9001 & 9002 QMS Registration Audits for auditor qualification and maintenance requirements. I send in my audit logs annually to RAB that contain both Registration and Accreditation work.
I hold both qualifications as an RAB Lead Auditor and A2LA Lead Assessor. These are different sets of qualification requirements so don't assume that taking an RAB Approved Lead Auditor Course to ISO 17025 will give you both. Your certificate of completion will probably state that you have met the lead auditor requirements set forth in ISO 10011.
Regards, Nancy A. Foncannon
RAB Lead Auditor, Q 01867
A2LA Lead Assessor since 1992
Member to TC 176, TG 18 and TG 19011
ASQ Fellow, CQE, CRE, CQM, CQA
I hope this helps.
[This message has been edited by Ryan Wilde (edited 22 August 2001).]
Well Ryan, there are several reasons I want it that way.
#1 I was an IRCA lead assessor and let it lapse (deceided i didn't want to go that route any more????) go figgure, as a matter of fact I used to co-tutor the QSLA for a company out of the Uk....so i fully understand what you were saying...and i agree. Thought i would kill 2 birds with one stone....and re-apply
#2 I do 2nd party ISO 17025 audits now and wanted to get a warm fuzzy and "calibrate my mind" with the rest of the auditing world.
#3 I am a consultant with laboratory clients, and i wanted to go through the rigors to sharpen my experience/application. (I go way back to mil-std 45662..et al.) I want to see the interpretations, and how I measure up.(self evaluation)
#4 I believe things will be changing, and registrations (if you will) to ISO 17025 (or maybe 17025 as the scope)is around the bend, and ready to bury A2LA and the others (My very humble opinion, only)So I want to be on the cutting edge of that IF it happens.
#5 I work contract for a registrar now doing ISO/QS audits, and tagged along on the 3rd party 17025...they also do accreditations to ISO 17025 ...and suggested I attend a registered course. I think its cause they are planning to run ISO/QS auditor training and all their trainers need QSLA RAB/IRCA status and they know mine lapsed, or maybe they will be requireing it to audit 17025 stuff...who knows?
So all that said.....i have talked to Excel, they have a course in Minnesota in November (Burrrrrrrr) but was looking for alternatives. Have a call into the ones above also.
[This message has been edited by barb butrym (edited 22 August 2001).]
If you have the technical background in testing or calibration, I would strongly suggest becoming an assessor for 17025, which as Nancy said, actually is accepted by RAB as the equivalent of registration audits (and I think assessors get paid more - just my guess).
I do disagree, however, that 'registration' to ISO 17025 is around the corner:
#1 The mere reason of the nature of the document. Look at the title - "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories". You can't show competence without having very in-depth knowledge.
#2 The international implications are astounding. An accredited lab in the U.S. can provide calibration and testing for customers in many countries, and those countries accept the calibration through mutual recognition arrangements. You will never get UKAS (was NAMAS I believe) or JQA to agree to accept a system based on documentation alone.
#3 ISO 16949 also specifies that calibration services must be accredited as opposed to registered. Several other quality system documents seem to be leaning that way as well.
#3 There are other sources for accreditation if you dislike A2LA already, and there are more working on it. Namely, there is NVLAP (which is part of NIST), L-A-B (which is a for-profit company that has nearly completed the rigors of what it takes to be an accrediting body, which deserves congratulations, as it takes several years to prove competence), and recently, Perry Johnson started up (under a separate company, as it is against the rules [ILAC maybe?] to have a registration and accrediting body together), but they have a long road ahead of them.
If you want better information than I have (and trust me, the world ceases to exist when I have the best information), I would contact NACLA (National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation), as they are coordinating the effort in the U.S. these days. They are also part of NIST, hence the website location.
Perhaps I misunderstand what you meant by registrations, and you meant it more as private companies that actually compete for a profit finding the rest of the dwindling numbers of people with enough knowledge of the physics, science, and statistics involved (I have 16 years in calibration labs, 120 credit hours of calibration specific education, and the assessors I meet are so astoundingly advanced in metrology it scares me). If so, I believe it is still a ways off due to the fantastic cost involved. After talking to a few accrediting bodies, it seems to boil down to:
- The body begins performing assessments, but the assessments have a big asterisk
- Two years worth of assessments are audited by other accrediting agencies or ILAC or something like that(I forget, but I've been up for 18 hours) IAW Guide 58.
- Each audit of the accrediting body costs somewhere around $20-30k.
- Without international acceptance through mutual recognition, the registration becomes a very expensive ISO 9002 audit. While some labs may look for the shortcut and less stringent rigors of a registration audit, all they've proven is that they can write a manual, not perform measurements of known uncertainty (which is the point of ISO 17025 in the first place, is it not?).
Again, I hope I was of a bit of help.
[This message has been edited by Ryan Wilde (edited 23 August 2001).]