Transition to New RABQSA Auditor Grades

The new RABQSA organization (replaced the RAB on January 1, 2005) offers two types of certification schemes for quality management system auditors:

1. Accredited: competency-based referencing ISO 17024:2003, and
2. Non-Accredited: based on the prior RAB scheme (phasing out YE2006).

Certification Grades
The old RAB scheme had three QMS auditor certification grades: Provisional Auditor, Auditor, and Lead Auditor. The new RABQSA accredited scheme has five grades:

  • Provisional QMS Auditor
  • QMS Auditor
  • Principal QMS Auditor
  • Lead QMS Auditor
  • Business Improvement QMS Auditor

The Provisional QMS Auditor grade recognizes that an applicant has demonstrated the knowledge competencies required for QMS Auditors. The QMS Auditor grade recognizes that an applicant has demonstrated the competencies to conduct a QMS audit as part of an audit team.

The new Principal QMS Auditor grade recognizes that an applicant has demonstrated the competencies to conduct a QMS audit either solo, or as a member of a team. In the old RAB scheme, a QMS Auditor could perform both these duties. Now, the QMS Auditor can only audit as part of a team.
The Lead QMS Auditor grade recognizes that an applicant has demonstrated the competencies required to conduct a QMS audit and lead an audit team. The new Business Improvement QMS Auditor grade recognizes that an applicant has demonstrated the competencies of a Lead QMS Auditor, plus can advise an organization using business improvement tools.

Applicants must demonstrate RABQSA-defined competencies covering:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Qualifications
  • Personal attributes

Knowledge Competencies
Knowledge competencies are demonstrated through the successful completion of an examination by a RABQSA Approved Training Provider. Applicants must submit a certificate from a RABQSA Approved Training Provider that the required competencies have been demonstrated. RABQSA maintains a Register of RABQSA Accredited Training Providers at (http://www.rabqsa.com).

Skill Examination
The new RABQSA accredited scheme requires all QMS auditor grades (except Provisional) to undertake a Skill Examination. In other words, RABQSA will assign a Skill Examiner to witness one of the applicant’s audits and return the Skill Examination results.

This Skill Examination will be conducted for the initial Certification and every four years for the Re-Certification. In addition, every two years from the initial Certification and the Re-Certification, a free RABQSA e-based examination on current knowledge competencies must be successfully completed.

Attribute Examination
PAAS Master is a simple e-based online examination consisting of 85 psychometric questions, which examine 12 personal attributes. These attributes identify the more effective and efficient auditors. A software matrix-analysis of each answer determines whether the applicant has the potential to demonstrate the required attributes.

It is not a ‘go/no-go’ evaluation. Simply, it will indicate to RABQSA where an applicant may experience difficulty in terms of demonstrating specific attributes and will be considered in relation to the other competencies of skill, knowledge, and qualification.

Where the RABQSA may have a concern, the applicant will be required to attend an interview with a RABQSA scheme examiner. The examiner will validate the results and recommend the appropriate professional development. In the most extreme case, RABQSA may decline certification.

The PAAS Master online examination is taken as part of the Application (except for Provisional QMS Auditors) and again every four years for the Re-Certification.

Education Level
The old RAB scheme required a minimum of a secondary education. The new RABQSA accredited scheme requires a “tertiary” education level, defined as post-secondary education, e.g., trade school, associate, bachelor, and/or higher college degree. However, applicants may be considered for certification if they can demonstrate that through their work experience, and/or other means, they have achieved an educational standard that enables the effective conduct and management of QMS audits.

Work Experience
The old RAB scheme required a minimum of 8 years of work experience with a secondary education, 6 years of work experience with an associate’s degree, and 4 years of work experience with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The new RABQSA accredited scheme requires only 2 years of work experience in a technical or managerial position with direct quality management responsibilities.

Certification Fees
The old RAB scheme required a certification and annual fee for Provisional QMS Auditor = $160, QMS Auditor = $210, and QMS Lead Auditor = $220. The new RABQSA accredited scheme has similar certification and annual fees for the new grades: Provisional QMS Auditor = $160, QMS Auditor = $220, Lead QMS Auditor = $240, Principal QMS Auditor = $240, and Business Improvement QMS Auditor = $240.

However, the new RABQSA accredited scheme has an increased application fee of $525 (Administration Fee = $100, Skill Examination Fee = $400, and PAAS Master = $25). After the application has been approved, the certification fee is paid (the annual amount shown in the prior paragraph).

The applicable Annual Fee is payable each year on the anniversary of the certification. And, a Re-certification Fee is payable every 4th anniversary of the initial certification and re-certification. This Re-certification Fee is $425 (Skill Examination = $400 and PAAS Master = $25), plus the applicable Annual Fee (Provisional QMS Auditor = $160; QMS Auditor = $220; and Lead QMS Auditor, Principal QMS Auditor, and Business Improvement QMS Auditor = $240).

Note: The Skill Examiner expense, e.g., travel, accommodations, and incidentals, is NOT included in the $400 Skill Examination Fee. The applicant (for certification) or auditor (for re-certification) will be invoiced for these expenses, which may add hundreds of dollars, depending on the travel location of the Skill Examiner. 

Audit Logs and CPD Points
The audit logs that were maintained for RAB certification and recertification will not be required by the RABQSA accredited scheme. Likewise, evidence of continuing professional development will no longer be needed for the RABQSA accredited scheme.

Transition
Auditors currently certified by RABQSA seeking to transition to an accredited scheme can do so by completing the Application Form (Accredited Scheme) available on the RABQSA web site. Certified auditors will not be required to re-submit their qualifications (work experience, tertiary education or training) and will be awarded their currently certified scopes in the accredited scheme if deemed competent in the knowledge, skill and personal attribute requirements. If expanding certification scopes upon transition, you will be required to complete the Expansion Application Form and provide the necessary qualifications for the additional scopes.

Applications for the unaccredited scheme will be accepted until December 31, 2006. To apply for certification or recertification after this date, you will be required to transition to an accredited scheme. RABQSA is recommending that certified persons transition to the accredited scheme at their next annual fee payment date.

RABQSA Web Site
For more information on QMS auditor certification, go to this RABQSA page: <http://www.rabqsa.com/per_quality.shtml>.