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Quality excellence to enhance your career

and boost your organizations bottom line
Certification from ASQ is considered a mark of quality
excellence in many industries. It helps you advance your
career, and boosts your organizations bottom line through
your mastery of quality skills. Becoming certified as a
Quality Auditor confirms your commitment to quality and
the positive impact it will have on your organization.

Each certification candidate
is required to pass a written
examination that consists of
multiple-choice questions that
measure comprehension of
the body of knowledge.

2 Certified Quality Auditor


Certified Quality Auditor

The Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) is a professional who understands
the standards and principles of auditing and the auditing techniques of
examining, questioning, evaluating, and reporting to determine a quality
systems adequacy and deficiencies. The Certified Quality Auditor analyzes
all elements of a quality system and judges its degree of adherence to the
criteria of industrial management and quality evaluation and control systems.

Computer Delivered The CQA Paper and Pencil The CQA
examination is a one-part, examination is a one-part,
165-multiple-choice-question, 150-multiple-choice-question,
five-and-a-half-hour exam and five-hour exam and is offered
is offered in English only. One in English only.
hundred and fifty questions are
scored and 15 are unscored.

For comprehensive exam information on Quality Auditor certification,

visit asq.org/cert.
Certified Quality Auditor 3
Education and/or Experience If you have completed a degree*
You must have eight years of on-the- from a college, university, or technical
job experience in one or more of the school with accreditation accepted
areas of the Certified Quality Auditor by ASQ, part of the eight-year
Body of Knowledge. A minimum of experience requirement will be
three years of this experience must waived as follows (only one of these
be in a decision-making position. waivers may be claimed):
Decision-making is defined as Diploma from a technical
the authority to define, execute, or or trade schoolone year
control projects/processes and to be will be waived.
responsible for the outcome. This may
Associates degree
or may not include management or
two years waived.
supervisory positions.
Bachelors degree
If you were ever certified by ASQ
four years waived.
as a Quality Engineer, Reliability
Engineer, Software Quality Engineer, Masters or doctorate
Supplier Quality Professional, or five years waived.
Manager of Quality/Organizational
*Degrees or diplomas from
Excellence, experience used to qualify
educational institutions outside
for certification in these fields applies
the United States must be
to certification as a Quality Auditor.
equivalent to degrees from
U.S. educational institutions.

4 Certified Quality Auditor

Minimum Expectations Must be able to verify, document,
and communicate audit results,
Must possess the knowledge develop an audit report, and
and ability to effectively conduct evaluate the effectiveness of
different types of audits, as corrective action and follow up.
appropriate for the method,
relationship, or purpose of the Must possess interpersonal skills to
audit, and must recognize the resolve conflict, conduct interviews,
effect those audit types will have and make presentations while
on the audit scope and outcomes. participating as an audit team
member, and must possess knowledge
Must be able to audit in a of the unique responsibilities of the
professional, ethical, and lead auditor and team facilitator.
objective manner using
and interpreting applicable Must understand the value that
standards or requirements, with quality auditing adds to the
an awareness of potential legal organization and how auditing
and financial ramifications. can reveal interrelationships
between business processes that
Must be able to effectively plan, can influence outcomes and
communicate, and execute an organizational risk.
audit within its defined scope,
including scheduling resources, Must be able to select appropriate
conducting necessary meetings quality and auditing tools and
in performance of the audit, and techniques, and use them effectively
using appropriate techniques in a variety of practical applications.
to gather, identify, and classify
objective evidence.

Certified Quality Auditor 5

Certified Quality Auditor (CQA)
Topics in this body of knowledge (BoK) include additional detail in
the form of subtext explanations and cognitive level. These details
will be used by the Exam Development Committee as guidelines for
writing test questions, and are designed to help candidates prepare
for the exam by identifying specific content within each topic that may
be tested. The subtext is not intended to limit the subject matter or be
all-inclusive of what might be covered in an exam, but is intended
to clarify how the topics relate to a Quality Auditors role. The descriptor
in parentheses at the end of each entry refers to the maximum cognitive
level at which the topic will be tested. A more comprehensive description
of cognitive levels is provided at the end of this document.

Examinations will continue to present a number of case studies. Each

case study will include a brief scenario outlining critical details about an
audit situation. In addition, each case study will be supported by related
audit documents. The documents will be contained in a separate booklet
Confidential Audit Documents CQA Case Studies that will be part
of the test materials distributed at the examination. Approximately 15-20
percent (25-30 questions) of the test will be devoted to these case studies.
Although the questions related to these cases will use the same four-choice
answer format as the rest of the test, the use of scenario details and sample
documents will allow the candidates to apply their critical thinking skills in
evaluating realistic situations and accompanying documents, memos, etc.

I. Auditing Fundamentals 2. Auditor-auditee relationship

Define, differentiate, and analyze
(27 Questions) various audit types by auditor-
A. Types of Quality Audits auditee relationship: first-party,
second-party, third-party, internal
1. Method and external. (Analyze)
Define, differentiate, and
analyze various audit types by 3. Purpose
method: product, process, desk, Define, differentiate, and analyze
department, function, element, various audit types by purpose:
system, management. (Analyze) verification of corrective action
(follow-up) audits, risk audits,
accreditation (registration) and
compliance audits, surveillance
and for-cause audits. (Analyze)

6 Certified Quality Auditor

4. Common elements D. Roles and Responsibilities
with other audits of Audit Participants
Identify elements such as  efine and describe the functions
audit purpose, data gathering and responsibilities of various audit
techniques, tracing, etc., that participants, including audit team
quality audits have in common with members, lead auditor, client,
environmental, safety, financial, auditee, etc. (Apply)
and other types of audits. (Apply)
E. Professional Conduct and
B. Purpose and Scope of Audits Consequences for Auditors
1. Elements of purpose and scope 1. Professional conduct
Describe and determine how the and responsibilities
purpose of an audit can affect its Define and apply the ASQ
scope. (Apply) Code of Conduct, concepts
2. Benefits of audits of due diligence and due care
with respect to confidentiality
Analyze how audits can be and conflict of interest, and
used to provide an independent appropriate actions in response
assessment of system effectiveness to the discovery of illegal activities
and efficiency, risks to the bottom or unsafe conditions. (Apply)
line, and other organizational
measures. (Analyze) 2. Legal consequences
Identify potential legal and financial
C. Criteria to Audit Against ramifications of improper auditor
 efine and distinguish between
D actions (carelessness, negligence,
various audit criteria, such as external etc.) in various situations, and
(industry, national, international) anticipate the effect that certain
standards, contracts, specifications, audit results can have on an
quality awards, policies, internal quality auditees liability. (Apply)
management system (QMS), sustainability,
social responsibility, etc. (Analyze) 3. Audit credibility
Identify and apply various factors
that influence audit credibility, such
as auditor independence, objectivity,
and qualifications. (Apply)
II. Audit Process 5. Auditing tools and working papers
Identify the sampling plan or
(42 Questions) method and procedural guidelines
A. Audit Preparation and Planning to be used for the specific audit.
Select and prepare working
1. Elements of the papers (checklists, log sheets, etc.)
audit planning process to document the audit. (Create)
Evaluate and implement the basic
steps in audit preparation and 6. Auditing strategies
planning: verify audit authority; Identify and use various tactical
determine the purpose, scope, methods for conducting an audit,
and type of audit; identify the such as forward and backward
requirements to audit against and tracing, discovery, etc. (Apply)
the resources necessary, including
the size and number of audit B. Audit Performance
teams. (Evaluate)
1. On-site audit management
2. Auditor selection Interpret situations throughout
Identify and examine various the performance of the audit
auditor selection criteria, such as to determine whether time is
education, experience, industry being managed well and when
background, and subject matter changes need to be made, such
or technical expertise. (Analyze) as revising planned audit team
activities, reallocating resources,
3. Audit-related documentation adjusting the audit plan, etc., and
Identify the sources of pre-audit communicate with the auditee
information and examine audit- about any changes or other events
related documentation, such as related to the audit. (Analyze)
audit criteria references and results
from prior audits. (Analyze) 2. Opening meeting
Manage the opening meeting of
4. Logistics an audit by identifying the audits
Identify and organize audit-related purpose and scope, describing any
logistics, including travel, safety scoring or rating criteria that will be
and security considerations, the used during the audit, creating a
need for escorts, translators, record of the attendees, reviewing
confidentiality agreements, clear the audit schedule, and answering
right of access, etc. (Analyze) questions as needed. (Apply)

8 Certified Quality Auditor

3. Audit data collection and analysis executive summary, prioritized
Use various data collection methods results (observations, findings,
to capture information: conducting opportunities for improvement,
interviews, observing work activities, etc.). Use graphical tools or other
taking physical measurements, means of emphasizing conclusions,
examining documents, etc. and develop a timeline for auditee
Evaluate the results to determine response and/or corrections. (Create)
their importance for providing
audit evidence. (Evaluate) 3. Final audit report steps
Obtain necessary approvals for
4. Establishment of objective evidence the audit report and distribute
Identify and differentiate it according to established
characteristics of objective procedures. Identify the contents
evidence, such as observed, of the audit file and retain the file
measured, confirmed or in accordance with established
corroborated, and documented. policies and procedures. (Apply)
D. Audit Follow-Up and Closure
5. Organization of objective evidence
1. Elements of the
Classify evidence in terms of corrective action process
significance, severity, frequency, and
level of risk. Evaluate the evidence Identify and evaluate various
for its potential impact on product, elements: assignment of responsibility
process, system, cost of quality, etc., for problem identification; the
and determine whether additional performance of root cause analysis
investigation is required to meet the and recurrence prevention. (Evaluate)
scope of the audit. (Evaluate)
2. Review of corrective action plan
6. Exit and closing meetings Evaluate the acceptability of
Formally manage these meetings: proposed corrective actions
reiterate the audits purpose, scope, and schedule for completion.
and scoring or rating criteria, and Identify and apply strategies
create a record of the attendees. for negotiating changes to
Present the audit results and obtain unacceptable plans. (Evaluate)
concurrence on evidence that could
3. Verification of corrective action
lead to an adverse conclusion.
Discuss the next steps in the Determine the adequacy of
process (follow-up audit, additional corrective actions taken by
evidence-gathering, etc.), and verifying and evaluating new or
clarify who is responsible for updated procedures, observing
performing those steps. (Apply) revised processes, conducting
follow-up audits, etc. (Evaluate)
C. Audit Reporting 4. Follow-up on
1. Report development and content ineffective corrective action
Group observations into actionable Develop strategies to use
findings of significance, and identify when corrective actions are
the severity and risk to the client and not implemented or are not
the auditee. Use appropriate steps to effective, such as communicating
generate the audit report: organize to the next level of management,
and summarize details, review and reissuing the corrective action
finalize results, emphasize critical request, and re-auditing. (Create)
issues, establish unique identifiers or
codes for critical issues to facilitate 5. Audit closure
tracking and monitoring, etc. (Create) Identify and apply various elements
of, and criteria for, audit closure
2. Effective reports (Apply)
Develop and evaluate com-
ponents of effective audit reports,
including background information,
Certified Quality Auditor 9
III. Auditor Competencies 4. Determine when and how
to prompt a response: when
(25 Questions) supervisors are present, when
A. Auditor Characteristics interviewing a group of workers,
Identify characteristics that make when using a translator, etc.
auditors effective: interpersonal skills,
problem-solving skills, attention to detail, F. Team Dynamics
cultural awareness and sensitivity, ability Define, describe, and apply various
to work independently as well as in a aspects of team dynamics. (Apply)
group or on a team, etc. (Apply)
1. Team-building: clarifying roles
and responsibilities for participants
B. On-Site Audit
and leaders to ensure equitable
Resource Management treatment for all team members,
Identify and apply techniques for
providing clear direction for
managing audit teams, scheduling
audit meetings and activities, making deliverables, identifying necessary
logistical adjustments, etc. (Apply) resources and ensuring their
availability, etc.
C. Conflict Resolution 2. Team facilitation: providing
Identify typical conflict situations (mild coaching and guidance, defusing
to vehement disagreements, auditee clashes between members, eliciting
delaying tactics, interruptions, etc.) input from all, cultivating objectivity,
and determine appropriate techniques overseeing progress, encouraging
for resolving them: clarifying the
diverse views and consensus, etc.
question or request, reiterating ground
rules, intervention by another authority, 3. Stages of team development:
cool-down periods, etc. (Analyze) forming, storming, norming,
and performing
D. Communication and
Presentation Techniques IV. Audit Program Management
 elect and use written, oral, and
electronic communication techniques and Business Applications
for presentations made during audits (30 Questions)
for opening, closing, ad-hoc meetings,
etc. Use technical and managerial A. Audit Program Management
reporting techniques, including graphs, 1. Senior management support
charts, diagrams, multimedia aids, etc.,
in various situations: domestic, global, Identify and explain managements
in-person, virtual (e-audits), multiple sites role in creating and supporting the
simultaneously, etc. (Evaluate) audit function. (Understand)

2. Staffing and resource management

E. Interviewing Techniques Develop staffing budgets that
 elect and use appropriate interviewing
S provide adequate time for auditors
techniques and methodologies. (Apply) to plan, conduct, and respond to
scheduled audits, including time
1. Use open-ended
and resources that internal auditees
or closed question types need to participate. Identify any
2. Use active listening, special equipment resources
paraphrasing, empathy, etc. needed and ensure their adequacy
and availability. Consider the use
3. Recognize and respond to of and requirements for special
non-verbal cues: body language, audits (outsourced or contracted
the significance of pauses and audits, virtual or e-audits, shared
their length, etc. audits, etc.) as driven by costs,
geography, etc. Evaluate results
and adjust resources as needed
on a regular basis. (Evaluate)

10 Certified Quality Auditor

3. Auditor training and development supplier qualification surveys,
Identify minimum audit knowledge surveillance audits, supplier
and skill requirements for auditors. improvement, etc. (Create)
Provide training on various aspects
of the audit process such as relevant 7. Best practices
standards, regulatory influences, Analyze audit results to standardize
facilitation techniques, etc. Provide best practices and lessons learned
training on diversity and cultural across the organization. (Analyze)
influences (ethnicity, gender, age,
organized labor, etc.) and how such 8. Organizational risk management
factors can affect communications Analyze how the audit program
and other interactions among audit affects an organizations risk level
participants. (Create) and how the risk level can influence
the number and frequency of audits
4. Audit program evaluation performed. (Analyze) [Note: Tools
Select the correct metric to evaluate and techniques for managing risk
the audit program, including tracking are covered in BoK area V.H.]
its effect on the bottom line and the
risk to the organization. (Evaluate) 9. Management review input
Examine and summarize audit
5. Internal audit program results, trends, and
program management changes in risk to provide input to
Develop procedures, policies, management reviews. (Evaluate)
and schedules to support the
organizations objectives. Review B. Business and Financial Impact
internal audit results to identify 1. Auditing as a management tool
systemic trends. (Create) Use audit results to monitor
6. External audit continuous improvement, supplier
management, customer satisfaction,
program management
etc., and to provide management
Develop procedures, policies, and with an independent view of the
schedules in support of the supplier strategic plans effectiveness and
management program, including how well it is deployed. (Analyze)

12 Certified Quality Auditor

2. Interrelationships of 2. Measures of dispersion
business processes Identify, interpret, and use standard
Identify how business units deviation and frequency distribution.
(receiving, product and process (Apply)
design, production, engineering,
sales, marketing, field support, etc.) 3. Qualitative and
and multiple sites are interrelated, quantitative analysis
and recognize how their unique Describe qualitative data in terms
metrics and goals can be in conflict of the nature, type, or attribute
with one another. (Understand) of an observation or condition.
Describe how quantitative data
3. Cost of quality (COQ) principles is used to detect patterns or trends
Identify, describe, and analyze and how such analysis can indicate
the audit programs effect on the whether a problem is systemic or
four COQ categories: prevention, isolated. (Understand)
appraisal, internal failure, external
failure. (Analyze) D. Process Variation
4. Emerging roles of the auditor 1. Common and special cause
Recognize new roles and Identify and distinguish between
responsibilities for auditors, common and special cause
such as being process consultants variation. (Apply)
and facilitators who can help
2. Process performance metrics
resolve internal issues, improve
processes, and add value to Describe elements of Cp and
the organization. (Understand) Cpk process capability studies
(process centering and stability,
specification limits, underlying
V. Quality Tools and Techniques distribution, etc.), and how these
(26 Questions) studies and other performance
metrics are used in relation to
A. Basic Quality and established goals. (Understand)
Problem-solving Tools
3. Outliers
Identify, interpret, and analyze:
1) Pareto charts, 2) cause and effect Describe their significance
diagrams, 3) flowcharts, 4) statistical and impact. (Understand)
process control (SPC) charts,
5) check sheets, 6) scatter diagrams, E. Sampling Methods
7) histograms, 8) root cause analysis, 1. Acceptance sampling plans
9) plan-do-check-act (PDCA). (Analyze)
Identify and interpret these plans
for attributes and variables data.
B. Process Improvement Techniques (Understand)
1. Six Sigma
Identify, interpret, and apply the 2. Types of sampling
Six Sigma DMAIC phases: define, Describe and distinguish between
measure, analyze, improve, control. random, stratified, and cluster
(Apply) sampling, and identify the uses
and potential problems of non-
2. Lean statistical sampling. (Understand)
Identify, interpret, and apply lean
tools: 5S, standard operations, 3. Sampling terms
kanban (pull), error-proofing, value- Define related terms including
stream mapping, etc. (Apply) consumer and producer risk,
confidence level, etc. (Understand)
C. Basic Statistics
1. Measures of central tendency
Identify, interpret, and use mean,
median, and mode. (Apply)

Certified Quality Auditor 13

F. Change Control and H. Risk Management Tools
Configuration Management Identify methods for managing risk,
Identify the principles of change including risk avoidance, mitigation,
control and configuration management tradeoffs, etc., and describe tools
systems as used in various applications: and methods for estimating and
hardware, software (including security controlling risk: failure mode and
considerations), product, process, and effects analysis (FMEA), hazard
service. (Understand) analysis and critical control points
(HACCP), critical to quality (CTQ)
analysis, health hazard analysis
G. Verification and Validation
(HHA), etc. (Understand) [Note:
 efine, distinguish between, and
Organizational risk management
use various methods of verifying and
is covered in BoK area IV.A.8.]
validating processes. (Analyze)

14 Certified Quality Auditor

Based on Blooms TaxonomyRevised (2001)

In addition to content specifics, the subtext for each topic in this BoK also
indicates the intended complexity level of the test questions for that topic.
These levels are based on Levels of Cognition (from Blooms Taxonomy
Revised, 2001) and are presented below in rank order, from least complex
to most complex.

REMEMBER | Recall or recognize terms, EVALUATE | Make judgments about the

definitions, facts, ideas, materials, patterns, value of proposed ideas, solutions, etc.,
sequences, methods, principles, etc. by comparing the proposal to specific
criteria or standards.
UNDERSTAND | Read and understand
descriptions, communications, reports, CREATE | Put parts or elements together
tables, diagrams, directions, regulations, etc. in such a way as to reveal a pattern or
structure not clearly there before; identify
APPLY | Know when and how to use which data or information from a complex
ideas, procedures, methods, formulas, set is appropriate to examine further or
principles, theories, etc. from which supported conclusions can
be drawn.
ANALYZE | Break down information into
its constituent parts and recognize their
relationship to one another and how they
are organized; identify sublevel factors or
salient data from a complex scenario.

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