The Best 5 Quality Certifications That Can Affect Your Business

The benefits and advantages that quality certifications can advance your career as well as your business. However, we cannot underestimate the benefits of becoming a quality professional or hiring one for your company. Selecting the correct certification for you or your business is essential.

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1. Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence

The Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE), before regarded 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 regulatory challenges

The Benefit to Person and Business:

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 is not signed for those professionals that are not looking to make their career quality oriented. This is because part of the certification needs ten years of experience, and although some of that experience can be dismissed in light of certain types of education, at least five years of that experience must come from being in a decision-making position.

2. Quality Auditor

The Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) is a role that's partnered to the CMQ/OE. Where the CMQ/OE creates and performs quality systems, the CQA audits them, i.e., thoroughly examines those systems and their results to manage capacity vs. insufficiency. They must ethically evaluate the way in which the quality system has been achieved to ensure that it meets technical 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: edits.

The Benefit to Person and Business:

Like the CMQ/OE, a CQA career is best suited to professionals who want to focus on quality in particular. It demands eight years of on the job experience in a full-time, paid position, three of which must be in a decision-making situation, although trade school or collegiate degrees can be counted toward that time. Companies 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.

3. 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 immediately to other quality personnel or management with detailed data and formal reports regarding process performance, laboratory system, hardware documentation and production and deliverables quality per specified product audit standards. They must be capable of identifying audit flaws, initiating resolution or change and identify, prevent, or respond to out-of-control conditions. A CQI is also expected to have specific baseline knowledge, including PDCA, algebra and statistics, geometry or calculus within an XYZ coordinate system, calibration, measurement scales and translations, sample sizing, random sample selection, traceability, non-conforming body identification, blueprint interpretation, utilization of inspection tools and techniques.

The Benefit to Person and Business:

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 needs two years of on the job exposure 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 position is still one best taken on by professionals who want a career in quality.

4. Quality Process Analyst

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

The Benefit to Person and Business:

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 appropriate postsecondary education, or two years of work experience. There are four separate levels of CQPA certification, each with the different minimum body of knowledge standards and it represents a good opening 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.

5. Quality Improvement Associate

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

The Benefit to Person and Business:

The CQIA certification is appropriately secured by professionals who aren't looking for an overall career in quality, but whose portfolio is optimized by quality-focused skills. Thus, 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 advantages to any project. To this end, only either an Associate's Degree, two years of appropriate postsecondary education or two years of work experience are required.

Whether you are 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 development. Now that you understand how these five quality certifications best apply to your business or industry, you may be interested in how to become a quality professional.

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