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5 Quality Certifications That Can Impact Your Business: Which Is Right for You?

Posted by CLIMB Professional Development and Training on April 15, 2016

Quality CertificationsIn previous posts, we've discussed the benefits and advantages that quality certifications can offer your career or your business. However, we cannot understate the benefits of becoming a quality professional or hiring one for your company. Selecting the correct certification for you or your business is important. In today's post, we're going to discuss five of the most useful certifications and how they can impact your career and business.

Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence

The Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE, previously referred to as a Quality Manager) performs the following:

  • Facilitates client/vendor relations
  • Manages and evaluates improvement teams
  • Operates and monitors process improvement initiatives
  • Evaluates risks (organizational, financial, or project-level)
  • Develops and deploys measurement systems and knowledge management tools
  • Trains staff in techniques for resolving other organizational challenges

People and Businesses That Benefit

The certification for CMQ/OE (PDF) can be useful to any type of industry or business, large or small, at any level, from local to regional or international. However, it isn't necessarily for those professionals that aren't looking to make their career quality oriented. This is because part of the certification requires 10 years of experience, and although some of that experience can be waived in light of certain types of education, at least five years of that experience must come from being in a decision-making position.

Quality Auditor

The Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) is a role that's partnered to the CMQ/OE. Where the CMQ/OE creates and enacts quality systems, the CQA audits them, i.e., thoroughly examines those systems and their results to determine adequacy vs. deficiency. They must ethically evaluate the way in which the quality system has been implemented to ensure that it meets industrial and regulatory criteria, report flaws to appropriate regulatory bodies, and be able to make recommendations on adjustments in light of legal or financial ramifications. As telecommuting and other networking options become more available and continue to advance, a new aspect of the CQA has developed: eAudits.

People and Businesses That Benefit

Like the CMQ/OE, a CQA career is best suited to professionals who want to focus on quality in particular. It requires eight years of on the job experience in a full-time, paid position, three of which must be in a decision-making position, although trade school or collegiate degrees can be counted toward that time. Businesses that are reliant on quality systems or are required to adhere to industry or federal regulations (e.g., ISO-9000) would do well to have a CQA on board.

Quality Inspector

The Certified Quality Inspector (CQI) must be more technically and mechanically adept than the first two quality certifications we mentioned. As an inspector they report directly to other quality personnel or management with recorded data and formal reports regarding process performance, laboratory procedure, hardware documentation and production and deliverables quality per specified product audit standards. They must be capable of identifying audit flaws, initiating resolution or correction and identify, prevent, or respond to out-of-control conditions. A CQI is also required to have certain baseline knowledge, including: PDCA, algebra and statistics, geometry or calculus within an XYZ coordinate system, calibration, measurement scales and conversions, sample sizing, random sample selection, traceability, non-conforming material identification, blueprint interpretation, utilization of inspection tools and techniques.

People and Businesses That Benefit

As a more technical position, the CQI is most useful for businesses (especially manufacturers) that actively develop products or utilize hardware, mechanical equipment, or laboratories. The certification requires two years of on the job experience in a full-time, paid position, as well as either a high school diploma (or equivalent) or another three years of job experience. The CQI role is still one best taken on by professionals who want a career in quality.

Quality Process Analyst

Certified Quality Process Analyst (CQPA) is a basic quality paraprofessional, usually a recent graduate or someone looking to build their quality work experience timeline. CQPAs work in support of other Quality Engineers or a CMQ/OE as staff on various quality projects or by analyzing and solving quality problems.

>> Learn more about becoming a CQPA Quality Process Analyst

People and Businesses That Benefit

The CQPA position is the most entry-level on our list of recommended quality certifications, requiring only either an Associate's Degree, two years of applicable postsecondary education, or two years of work experience. There are four separate levels of CQPA certification, each with different minimum body of knowledge standards and it represents a good starting point for professionals interested in a potential career in quality. Businesses of all kinds, especially small businesses that are developing quality teams or departments should look to hiring CQPAs to fill staffing positions.

Quality Improvement Associate

This is a quality certification intended for non-quality professionals. Not unlike the CQPA, the Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA) is involved in quality projects, but they only have a basic knowledge of tools and processes.

People and Businesses That Benefit

The CQIA certification is best utilized by professionals who aren't looking for an overall career in quality, but whose portfolio is optimized by quality-focused skills. Similarly, any business of any size, in any industry, should look to encourage employees to attain CQIA certification because it offers a myriad of insights and benefits to any project. To this end, only either an Associate's Degree, two years of applicable postsecondary education, or two years of work experience are required.

Whether you're interested in taking your business to the next level or taking your career in a new direction, quality certifications put you on the path to continuous improvement. Now that you understand how these five quality certifications best apply to your business or industry, you may be curious about how to become a quality professional. CLIMB Professional Development and Training is dedicated to helping business owners and working professionals improve themselves with training and certification courses, and we can help you on your path to becoming a quality professional through our courses on CMQ/OE, eAudits, CQI, CQPA, and CQIA. Contact us today to find out about upcoming professional development and training enrollment opportunities, and how to register!

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