Do I need Internal Auditor or Lead Auditor Training?

by Eoin Philip Kelly | February 17, 2020 | Blog , CQI and IRCA , Internal Audits , ISO 13485:2016 , ISO 19011:2018 , ISO 9001:2015 , Quality , |

This is another one of the most misunderstood topics that I encounter, but one I am discussing daily with those looking to attend auditor training. The key to answering this question is simply to know what type of audit (s) you will be required to conduct after your training is completed & what type of audit each training course is designed to train a person for.

For example, one of the common misunderstandings is that if someone is looking to conduct internal audits, there is an assumption that all they need is internal auditor training (due to the name of the course!) but in fact, internal auditor training may not be what they need!

Naturally, there are time & cost considerations that come into play here too & may make one course more appealing over the other (shorter course, lower cost) – but I believe it is commonly misunderstood what the purpose of each course is & who should attend each course! Once that is understood, a more informed decision can be made.

To start, lets break down who each course is designed for:

Internal Auditor Course

CQI & IRCA define an Internal Auditor as someone who conducts internal partial-system audits of a management system/s, or a supplier’s management system. It is likely that an Internal Auditor will not be a full-time auditor and may only audit a few times each year.

Hence the CQI & IRCA accredited training specification for an Internal Auditor course, that providers like Comply Guru must meet in gaining course approval, aligns to this and an Internal Auditor course will provide training on how to conduct “partial” system audits. An Internal Auditor course is typically 16hrs in duration, but it does not cover full systems auditing and this is what can get confusing. It is essentially a basic auditing course.

If you are looking for training on how to audit “full systems” even if you are auditing internally, an internal auditor course will not be sufficient, and as a result, the lead auditor course is actually the more appropriate course to complete.

Auditor/Lead Auditor (more commonly just called Lead Auditor) Course

To start, this course is designed for Auditors & Lead Auditors.

CQI & IRCA define an Auditor as someone who conducts full system audits as a member of an audit team and/or as a sole auditor. Audits may be internal full system audits, second-party full system audits, or third-party audits for certification purposes. Lead Auditors are defined as experienced professionals who lead audits and audit teams – and are generally conducting second- or third-party audits.

Hence, the CQI & IRCA Accredited training specification for an Auditor/Lead Auditor course aligns to this – so if you are looking to complete full system audits (1st, 2nd or 3rd party), then the lead auditor course is the correct training course that you should complete – and not the Internal Auditor course. A Lead Auditor course is typically 40hrs in duration – its a comprehensive course covering the full auditing cycle.

The decision on what course is the most appropriate should be made based on the type of audits a person is expected to be conduct (in the future) in order to ensure they have received the correct knowledge & skills from the selected training course.

I will conclude by tying in with a point I made on my last blog on How to Become a Certified Quality Auditor and that is that training is just a starting point, and only one of the criteria a person must fulfill in becoming an Auditor. Once training is completed, a person needs audit experience and should ideally be mentored/coached by a more experienced Auditor during that process. Training alone does not prepare an Auditor but provides the solid footing in both knowledge and skills that every Auditor needs – and for that reason, attending the correct course is an important decision.

In my next blog, I will discuss what I consider the “Pros” and “Cons” of accredited versus non-accredited training – as this links to both this blog and my previous blog.

I, or my colleagues, would be happy to discuss this further or answer any questions that you might have – so feel free to get in touch via phone, email or using the contact form on our website! We would love to hear from you!

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