ISO 9001 internal auditor training: Is it for me?

Since the internal audit is one of the most important tools for driving improvement in an ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS), it is vital that you have internal auditors who have the skills needed to properly review your processes and records and identify the strengths, weaknesses, and problems that are occurring in your organization. In order to ensure this competence, it is important that you make sure your internal auditors are properly trained and experienced to do the job well. If you have been chosen as an internal auditor and are not sure if you need training, here are some things to consider.

Is internal auditor training for me?

Like any other process, you want your internal auditor training to provide you with the right competence to do the job well. If you are taking the position of performing internal audits, it is important that you gain the necessary competence to be able to perform good internal audits, and in doing so, discover the important audit findings and corrective actions necessary to improve your QMS. If you do not have this necessary competence, and you are called upon to perform internal audits, then taking the appropriate training to improve your competence is necessary for the successful implementation of your internal audit program. But, how does internal auditor training benefit you in your new job?

What does internal auditor training involve?

While it is not a requirement that you seek certified training from an outside training organization, this training is available. Most of the companies that offer ISO 9001 training include training for ISO 9001 internal auditors, and many companies will send their internal auditors to either this course or the lead auditor training course. There is a cost to this training, but if the skills you need to gather cannot be learned within your company, it might be the best place to start, and there is no pre-requisite for either course. These courses will typically include information on:

  • understanding the ISO 9001 quality management system standard, including the ISO 9001 Requirements and Structure
  • using the ISO 9001 standard for auditing management systems to assess company processes against requirements
  • role play of different auditing situations to enhance auditing skills

For more information on this training and certifying individuals as auditors, see these articles on ISO 9001 Training and ISO 9001 Certification.

Even if you do go to an outside course for training, there are other company-specific topics that are useful and important to learn, either by yourself or through discussions with other people in your organization. These include:

  • Company QMS specifics – As an auditor, you will need to understand your company processes, procedures, policies, and process interactions in order to be able to audit the QMS well. Training on how this is organized and where to find information will make your internal audits run much more smoothly.
  • Audit checklists – If you have a specific style or method of audit checklists, then you will need to understand how to use these tools. For more information, see this article on the ISO 9001 Audit Checklist.

It is important to remember that the reason for your internal audit program is to be able to assess  your quality management system to verify that it meets the planned arrangements of your processes and procedures, meets the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard, and is effectively implemented and maintained. In order to do this, you as an internal auditor will need to understand both the ISO 9001 standard and your internal QMS processes and procedures. Make sure that this is covered in the training you receive.

Plan your internal audit training for success

Like many things in life, planning is the surest way to guarantee success. As an internal auditor, you want your internal audit program to successfully garner you the benefits and improvements that it is designed to give. To do this, you want to ensure you are properly trained and guarantee that your competence as an internal auditor is verifiable, as this is a key element in your success. Plan ahead to be a competent internal auditor and you can build on the success that comes from good audit findings.

If becoming an internal auditor is one of your goals, why not check out this online ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Course?

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.