ISO 9001 Myth #4 – Lead Auditor Training

In my ongoing effort to counteract misinformation and misconceptions associated with ISO 9001 certification, I now turn to the misunderstood subject of Lead Auditor Training.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I must first admit that my firm owns an internationally accredited ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training course.  In fact, Pinnacle holds the distinction of being the first consulting and training company to provide an IRCA/IATCA certified ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training program to the healthcare industry.  But today we no longer offer this course.  The reason we don’t is at the heart of the misinformation and misunderstanding regarding the need for Lead Auditor Training and the subject of this article.

Maintaining ISO 9001 certification (or ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification, for that matter) requires thorough, regular internal audits.  Clause 8.2.2 of ISO 9001 and clause 4.5.5 of ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 stipulate this.  Furthermore, clause 6.2 Human resources of ISO 9001 and its ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 counterpart, clause 4.4.2 Competence, training and awareness, require that your staff be appropriately qualified, trained, and competent.  Unfortunately, many extrapolate and exploit these requirements to mean that formal Lead Auditor Training is required to implement and maintain a formal internal auditing program.  They then rush out and pay $1300 to $1800 per person for this training, which also takes them out of their jobs for a week, in the hope of honing their internal auditing expertise.  A careful reading of these clauses however, reveals that at no point do they state or even imply this requirement.

This myth lies somewhere between a problem with semantics and well-intentioned management teams trying to do the right thing for their companies.  Plenty of encouragement to move in the direction of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Training can be found online and in print.  The problem:  all of the propaganda telling you that your people need these training courses is created by those who profit from selling you the training.  So well-meaning organizations send off their finest to prepare to lead and conduct internal audits.

Still not convinced that your people and your company do not need Lead Auditor Training?  Consider the following facts:

  1. Lead Auditor Training was developed for and is only required of those individuals who intend to pursue a career as a third party auditor working for a registrar.  In other words, if your company is not a registrar, then you would be paying to train your people for a new career with another company.
  2. Completing a Lead Auditor Training course does NOT provide a Lead Auditor credential.  Yes, you read this correctly.  A Lead Auditor Training certificate is just a prerequisite for applying to RABQSA for evaluation.  Before becoming a Lead Auditor, there are still professional requirements that must be met, including conducting a number of “verifiable audits,” educational requirements, work experience, and sponsorship by an actual accredited registrar.

I’ll put it another way:  if registrars and accreditation agencies know that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Training courses do not provide an individual with tactical or tangible external auditing skills, why should your company invest in them for internal auditing?

Still not convinced?  Then consider that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Training are generic.  Because of RABQSA course accreditation guidelines one course provider cannot waiver much from another.  In all cases the courses are designed to fit any participant, regardless of his or her industry and experience.  Consequently, when members of a metal fabrication company, for example, attend a week-long course they may find themselves in a class with representatives from a chemical R&D company, a distributor, an IT services company, and a hospital.  All of the course material, examples, and exercises are therefore generic.  Then it’s up to your people to translate the “ISO knowledge” to your industry, your specific company, and your specific business system.

What your company and your people really need is internal auditor training designed to teach them how to audit your specific company and its quality or environmental management system.  Here again there is a plethora of providers eager to relieve you of your training budget.  But you should be wary of public, generic courses for the reasons I described above.  Canned internal auditor training simply is not very effective.  A truly custom designed ISO 9001 internal auditor training and ISO 14001 internal auditor training programs works best, but they are fewer and harder to find.

A true custom-tailored ISO 9001 internal auditor training provider will first need to learn about your company and your quality management system (QMS).  The course material, examples, and exercises would then be developed from your actual QMS.  Custom designed internal auditor training programs are typically 2-3 days long.  A good ISO 9001 internal auditor training program will have a workshop format that devotes at least half of its time to practicing actual internal auditing within your facilities.  This approach affords your people a learning environment that matches their daily work environment.  The transfer of knowledge and skills is simply more direct, resulting in greater retention and practical skills development.

Pinnacle no longer provides ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training.  For the reasons I described above, we simply see no value in it for our clients.  Instead, we focus on providing high-value internal auditor training workshops that are always tailored to individual customers.  In fact, we even offer an internal auditor mentoring program that develops internal auditors over the course a several actual internal audits.  The results are even more effective.  My point is that you should question the common auditor training assumption and ignore the hype.  Carefully consider what you really want from your internal auditors.  Do you just want them to help you keep a pretty certificate on the wall or do you want them to help drive business improvement?  Sure, there is a bit of self-promotion here, but my reasons are good and my intentions are pure.

Kirill Liberman, President

51 Responses to “ISO 9001 Myth #4 – Lead Auditor Training”

  1. Sam Shetman says:

    Great post. I am a trained ISO 9001 lead auditor too. My company paid for it. Me and a few others took the class from ASQ. The goal was to be internal auditors for my company. Our registrar/auditor told us we needed this training. We found out later this was not true.

    The teacher was some contracted lead auditor that works for registrars and consults on the side. We learned a lot about ISO 9001 requirements, all the other stuff was a waste of time. We did not learn anything about ISO as it relates to my company. All the stuff about how to conduct opening and closing meetings and audit etiquette is useless for internal audits. All the examples and exercises were simple and generic, as you said.

    Other than getting a better understanding of ISO 9001 requirement we did not get much out of it. Could have done that in a day or two instead of a week.

  2. Kirill says:

    Welcome to the Blog, Sam.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with ISO 9001 lead auditor training. I could not have hoped for a better fist comment on this issue. Your experience and perspective are exactly what I attempt to address with this article.

    To add to your comment and my article, I should admit that I can see some value in lead auditor training for very large companies. When a company has dozens or more sites scattered around the world and it can afford to maintain a dedicated group of full-time internal auditors, then it may be useful for this group of auditors to complete ISO 9001 lead auditor training. Since this group does not work directly in any of the facilities in audits, using a more formal and structured auditing style may be appropriate. Nevertheless, lead auditor training should only be a stating point for a dedicated group of ISO 9001 internal auditors.

    I look forward to heading more about your experience.

  3. Chris Carson says:

    Interesting article as always. Agree that it’s a common misconception that taking and completing a course for lead auditing gives one credentials.

    I do think there’s value in the training, but at the same time you’re correct that an RABQSA or IRCA class has to be generic so a lot of information that would apply specifically to an attendee’s company is not going to be covered in depth. Conceptually it will, but an attendee is going to have to make the transition to specifically apply it to their company.

    The key part of this discussion, as I see it, is that the standards require lead auditors be trained, but the requirements for that training are set by the company, not the standard, not RABSQA, and not the registrar.

  4. Kirill says:

    Welcome back to the blog, Chris. I always appreciate your insight.

    Your last sentence “hits the nail on the head.” I would only clarify that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 do not require “lead” auditor training. They do require that internal auditors are formally qualified, training, and made competent.

    Thanks again for the great feedback. Keep it coming.


  5. David Smithstein says:

    Your article is consistent with a book I just read on Lean ISO 9001.

    It advocates eliminating the waste of defective auditors that are trained once, in a batch, and then sent on their way. The result is a very wastefull auditing system because the auditors aren’t trained to audit their company or their QMS as you stated in your article.

    There is also no mentoring or feedback against a set of criteria from a knowledgeable source about their performance so that they can improve, which of course your mentoring program addresses nicely.

    The most important thing I remember from my Lead Auditor course was that the instructor held up the ISO standard and said, “This is the ISO Standard, everything else is interpretation.”

  6. Kirill says:

    Welcome to the blog, David., and thank you for the great comment.

    I thought i was original in my views and writings on this subject, but I guess I am not 🙂

    I am glad that you and the author of the book you read share my opinion and frustration with this common myth.

    I and the other readers of this blog would love to hear more about your experience and perspective on ISO 9001, Lean, and related topics. Please come back and contribute often.


  7. mark j says:

    I completed this training at an ASQ class earlier this year. I learned a lot about ISO 9001, but I agree that there was not much practical learning. We were in small groups for most exercises. In my group were guys from a software testing company, a biomedical company, and I work for an electronics recycled. But most of the exercises were manufacturing related. None of us could really relate very well. I still think I learned a lot about the standard, but I don’t think I can audit ISO in my company. Don’t tell my boss. 🙂

  8. Glenn Tanzman says:

    I am not surprised to hear Mark’s comments. Many participants of public ISO auditor training do not feel prepared to perform the audits for their companies when they are done. Not only is the training not specific but the amont of material covered is overwhelming to many and they are focused on passing the exam at the end and not learning how to audit.

    So agree with Kirill’s premise that a program designed to teach employees how to audit their own company (and why it is important to be effective) is far more likeley to achieve value for the organization than a generic public educational offering.

  9. Kirill says:

    Hi Mark and welcome to the blog.

    Thank you for sharing you ISO 9001 Lean Auditor Training experience. Don’t worry we won’t tell you boss.

    Speaking of the boss, most management staff that sign off on the expense of ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training are not fully aware of the intent and limitations of this training. Consequently, they have unrealistic expectation for the employees that they send to Lead Auditor Training. This can sometimes result in you looking bad because the boss expects you to now have a skill that you were simply not exposed to. Hopefully, this is not the case in your situation. With any luck others reading my article and your comments will adjust their expectation appropriately. Better yet, they will avoid this Lead Auditor Training all together and invest their time and money in custom-tailored ISO 9001 Internal Auditor training.


  10. Kirill says:

    Hello Glenn and welcome back to the blog.

    I appreciate your comments about ISO 9001 lead auditor training.

    Judging by the lack of counter arguments, I think we may have voiced a common concern with lead auditor training. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the message will get out to the masses. Although, as you will probably agree, we face a strong headwind from providers of Lead Auditor Training and their propaganda machines.


  11. Colin KR says:

    I came across this thread while searching for lead auditor training.

    Glad I did.

    Primarily, I planned to pay for it myself as the external registrars certainly made it sound like it was necessary.

    Secondly, my company’s QMS system manual + SOPs have ballooned in size over the years since ISO 9001:1994; each year more wording is added but our business and our practices, actual procedures, have not.
    Does not make too much sense …

    It does sound like the course would provide a good interpretation of what is the minimum required by ISO 9001.
    Perhaps you all know another source for that minimum?


  12. Kirill says:

    Welcome to the blog, Colin. Thank you for your comments.

    As you gathered, I only recommend ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training for people that intend to work for a third party registrar. Otherwise, don’t waste the money, especially if it is your own.

    There are not many options out there for an individual that wants to get a practical and tactical understanding of minimal ISO 9001 requirements. A basic overview course (typically one day or less) will probably be your best bet. You can find an on-line course or one from a public course providers. I wish I could suggest Pinnacle’s services here, but we do not provide on-line or public training. We are only cost effective if you invited us into you facility to train a group of people.

    In the meantine, I will be glad to show you what a Lean QMS looks and works like. Give me a call (number is at the top of the page) and I will set up an web meeting. While I will not walk you through all of the minimal ISO 9001 requirements, I will show you examples of how ISO 9001 requirements can be addresses in a lean and value added way. You will see a working model of how to eliminate the glut of useless dumentation that your company currently has and how to use ISO 9001 as a true management system platform.

    Thanks again for visiting and contributing to the blog. I hope you will come back soon.

    Kirill Liberman

  13. Ganny says:

    A simple question is it worth doing Lead auditor course.
    Or do we have any other means to excel in ISO.

  14. Kirill says:

    Hello Ganny. Welcome to the Blog.

    The simple answer to your questions is NO. It is not worth taking ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Training to excel in ISO. A longer response, however, must include the caveat that Lead Auditor Training is only required if you intend to work for a third party registrar as a Lead Auditor.

    The best means for excelling in ISO 9001 Certification is to first not worry about ISO 9001 certification. Sounds odd, I know. But, as I have written in other articles and responses, your company is probably already doing everything it needs to do to comply with ISO 9001 requirements. What you may be missing is consistency and a good management systems infrastructure that can support continual improvement and process optimization. To excel in these areas you need to look beyond the basic ISO 9001 certification scheme that you would learn about in Lead Auditor Training. Unfortunately, support for this is not so easy to find, which is probably why you asked your questions in the first place.

    At the risk of sounding too self-promotional, the Lean QMS approach to ISO 9001 certification (and Lean EMS for ISO 14001) is actually a methodology that is specifically designed to achieve ISO 9001 certification as a byproduct of a robust business operating system. If you would like to see a functional Lean QMS model that demonstrates exactly what I am talking about, give me a call.

    I hope this helps.

    Kirill Liberman

  15. JorieM says:

    Hi. I wish I had found your site PRIOR to spending 400.00+ for an online Lead Auditor Certificate! What a bunch of hooey. It was basically a glorified Internal Auditor course, with a few extra bits thrown in.

    As for RABSQA, they turned me down flat – 12+years auditing experience; ISO 9001:2008 Auditor certified and etc. Evidence and letters included.

    I’m off to new ventures. I’ve had with this merry-go-round!

    Thanks! JorieM

  16. Kirill says:

    Thank you for the your comments, JorieM, and welcome to the blog.

    Sorry to hear about your wasted time, money and effort on ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training. While I am not surprised by your take on the value of the Lead Auditor training, I am suprise by RADSQA’s response. Was your ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training course accredited? If so, by what organization?

    Kirill Liberman

  17. Sean Whiteman says:

    What exactly is ISO 9001? I am looking for more information about ESD auditor training and keep stumbling across this field, or certification, whatever it is. Can someone explain briefly?

  18. Kirill says:

    Hello Sean. Welcome to the blog.

    ISO 9001 is an international standard that defines the minimal elements of a Quality Management System.

    ESD stands for Elctro Static Discharge.

    I hope this helps.


  19. kumari says:

    HI ,

    I had also attended a lead auditor course sponsored by my company. But later found that i actually did not learn what my company wants a proper internal auditor . Today i am still not confident enough with my internal auditing skills.

    I am not able to find any such means to improve them also…………

  20. Kirill says:

    Hello Kumari and welcome to the blog.

    Thank you for sharing your ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training experience. While your experience validates my point, I am sorry that you found yourself the victem of the traditiona ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training paradigm.

    If I may be self-promoting for a second, the remedy is exactly what we provide with our ISO 9001 Internal Auditor training and ISO 14001 Internla Auditor training. Take a look and let me knwo if you have any questions.


  21. Ally says:

    I am looking to train myself as an auditor so that I can go out as an independent contractor, of sorts, and preform external audits for other companies and organizations. Would these internal/external audit courses be the correct route? If so, is the online or in-class version preferable if both offer a certification? I don’t want to spend all this money (that most people seem to agree is a waste) on a possible business venture if not necessary. I studied I/O Psychology (basically the implementation of LEAN principles in business) in school, so this is all pretty familiar to me, just not “certified”……

  22. Kirill says:

    Hello Ally. Welcome to the blog.

    If you want to learn something useful and not waste a lot of your time and money, the best route would be to take ISO 9001 internal auditor training. However, as an individual, you will have a hard time finding the hands-on, customized training that I describe. It will simply be cost prohibitive. So your best bet will be to go with a generic public course for ISO 9001 internal auditors.

    If you want to have a expensive certificate to show perpective customers, then you should consider the ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training.

    I hope this helps.


  23. Elden Dabe says:

    Really appreciate you sharing this post. There is a lot of confusion about ISO 9001 training. Especially about ISO 9001 auditor training. This post really puts it in perspective. Really thank you! Awesome.

  24. Kirill says:

    Thank you for the compliment, Elden, and welcome the blog.

    I am glad to see that the issue of ISO 9001 lead auditor training resonates with people all over the world. Just goes to show how well the various ISO 9001 myths and misconceptions have propogated. Hopefully my message will reach more people like you.


  25. Maheshraja says:


    I was going through this blog and found things that put me in a an MBA grad, worked with a company for couple of years and and moved on from there due to disagreement. I wanted to pursue a career as a freelance external lead auditor. Am i seeing this in the right way?? does it worth. also, just to DNV or BIS got the license to certify aka registrars?? I read the blog contents and comments. Still i couldn convincingly believe it wont work out. Could you clarify me??

  26. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Maheshraja. Welcome to the blog.

    If you want to become a third party auditor working for a registrar, then you need to take the ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course. Completing and passing Lean Auditor Training is a prerequisite for work for companies like DNV and BSI.

    Registrars in general must develop an internal management system that complies with ISO 17021. They then get accredited by national accreditation bodies like ANAB (USA), TGA/DAR (Germany), UKAS (UK), etc. This is what gives registrars the credentials to be a registrar. However, there are some registrars that are unaccredited. Stay away from these.

    I hope this helps. Good luck in your professional goals.

    Kirill Liberman

  27. Kevin S says:

    It appears I am the only one who disagrees with this. I do agree that it is not necessary, but I do think the course adds value for internal auditors. I hear a theme here:

    1. “I learned a lot about ISO, but thats about it” – That is half the battle! Internal auditor should know more about ISO than the typical employee.

    2. “It is generic and has to relate to all industries.” Why is that a waste? I think it is very beneficial to understand that the a process is a process no matter what industry you work in. Objectives are objectives and customer requirements are customer requirements. I think by forcing ourselves to step out of our environment and see a different perspective, it allows one to more clearly see the intent of the standard. When we only see the QMS as it pertains to one company or one industry, we often put blinders on and lose track of intent. It is an asset, not a waste, for an employee that thinks about the standard and not just spoon-fed what works for that company only.

    That being said, the formal training is great if look at it from the right perspective. Again, not necessary, but surely not a waste.

  28. Kirill says:

    Hello Kevin. Thank you for contributing to the blog.

    I agree with your comments in principle. Understanding ISO 9001 requirements and having a diverse perspective are valuable.

    However, the point of the article is that most people are misled into believing that ISO 9001 Lead Auditor training will give them these skills. Most people can get the same benefit from ISO 9001 Internal Auditor Training in less time and with less cost.

    Furthermore, people are misled into thinking that they will actually be effective auditors after completing ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Training. This is simply not true in real life. This is why a good, on-site, custom-tailored ISO 9001 Internal Auditor Training program is more effective. It gives participants the same understanding of the standard’s requirements, the process approach, objectives, customer perspective, etc., but it does so in a much more tactical way. The key is to learn these skills and apply them immediately in the workplace. This approach also caters more effectively to adult learning.

    I hope you will come back to the blog and share your perspectives again.

    Kirill Liberman

  29. Premkumar, H.S. says:

    Kirill Liberman, thanks for busting some of the myths about “Lead Auditors” course.

    As a MR for a MNC Shipping company I thought I was fortunate to be one-up on others with knowledge of ISO 9001 Management Systems that after my retirement in 2009 I spent Rs.25K from my pocket to qualify as a Lead Auditor. But no one took a second look at my CV even for a part time job related to ISO.

    Thankfully, I have taken up a teaching assignment with an University that I am able to share my knowledge & experience of Shipping & ISO with students pursuing under graduate & post graduate courses in Shipping & Logistics. It has been a very satisfying post-retirement career for the past 3 years now and keeping me busy. I only wish that I had seen your blog earlier that I could have put my hard earned money to some better use!

  30. Kirill says:

    Welcom to the Blog, Premkumar, and thank you for sharing your experience.

    I am sorry you experienced some of what I discuss in this article. Like I discuss, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Lead Auditor training is only for those that indent to work for a third party registrar. No company or individual should invest in this train.

    I hope you will come back to the blog and share more of your thoughts and experiences. I think the readers of this blog can benefit greatly for you ISO 9001 experience and knowledge.


    Kirill Liberman

  31. Jumoke A says:

    Hi Kirill,

    Thank God I stumbled on your blog while searching for a lead auditor training course in Healthcare before actually committing funds.
    I have spent the last 8+ yrs of my professional life as a senior management staff in Hospital and prehospital services and I have now started a healthcare support services company in my country in Africa. I desire to offer third party audit services to medical centres so as to help them improve their services and improve the quality of care in my environment. I have been exposed to JCI audit system and first hand experience with them as well as that out of South Africa but I felt I needed some form of formal training to best offer this service BUT with these observations from you, what will your advise be.

  32. Kirill says:


    Thank you for the comments and question.

    Healthcare quality is a long-standing interest of mine. I have participated in many panels on the subject and even held the world’s first internationally accredited ISO 9001 Lean Auditor Training course.

    Audit schemes are really just one part of the healthcare quality equation. Needing to “inspect what you expect” is an important concept, but designing a management system that can effectively and efficiently achieve “what you expect” is the key. For this ISO 9001 Lean Auditor Training is not the correct vehicle. As i expose in this article, ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training is only for those who want to work as third party auditors. It is just a credentialing milestone.

    An organization must first understand how to build processes that will achieve and sustain its objectives. This implies that an organization knows what its measureable objectives are. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many management teams. ISO 9001 provides a good guide and platform for defining an organization’s processes, management system, objectives, and then including an auditing scheme to “inspect what you expect” to happen.

    My advice is to educate yourself in the latest advances in modern management system implementation methodologies, like the Lean QMS. You should learn Lean Management principles and how to apply them within and ISO 9001 certification framework. From there you can take your experience and develop robust solutions that are custom-tailored for the healthcare industry in South Africa.

    I hope this helps.


    Kirill Liberman

  33. Abdulazeez says:

    Hi Kirill,

    I am working with an Apparel manufacturer,My Company want to send me to do the courses like ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 Lead auditor training for conducting the audits in our organization,also my boss like to get ISO 14001 Certification through me.

    Pls Advice me whicc course i can do?Lead auditor or Internal Auditor which is best?


  34. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Abdulazeez and welcome to the blog.

    As you probably gathered from this article, I don’t recommend Lead Auditor Training, unless you plan to leave your company for a job as a third party auditor with a registrar. Internal auditor training should be more appropriate in your case.

    However, if you intend to implement ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 in your company, then neither of these courses will be enough. If your company is simply seeking ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certificates to gain market share, then take whatever training you prefer. But if your company wants a truly value added Environmental, Health & Safety Management System (EHS), but you don’t have direct EHS experience, then you should serious consider the help of an experienced ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 consultant. Good ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 consultants will have methods and best practices that will expedite your certification and will leave you with a much more robust EHS.


    Kirill Liberman

  35. Marsha says:

    Hi, I am considering becoming a third party auditor. I worked for General Motors for 12 years as an internal auditor in a metal fabrication plant among many other quality related assignments. After I retired in 2009 I took two years off. The second year I was going crazy without work. I was hired as the Quality Manager of a small plant near my home. I worked that for a year then took a corporate position helping to implement TS-16949 in two of our US plants. On the last day of the year this last December I was downsided due to budgetary concerns. I am working a temporary job with a graphic arts company but have received an offer to be a third party auditor. I am wondering how difficult this lead auditor class is. I have conducted internal audits for a long time and followed every external auditor that came into out plant and learned a lot from them. Is there anything highly technical in this lead auditor training? From what I am reading on this blog it seems that it should be quite straight forward. I am very familiar with the TS standard and the core tools. I will be paying for this training myself and the auditing firm I will be working for is to pay for the expenses and my TS lead auditing training. I guess I would be very embarressed to go and then have trouble with it after paying $1500. Any advice?

  36. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Marsha.

    Thank you for visiting our blog and leaving your question.

    First, you will not fail the ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training course. Practically no one fails the course. With your experience you will have no problem. It will be more of tedious than anything else. If you know TS 16949 requirements, then you know all of the ISO 9001 requirements and then some. ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training and exam are not nearly as technical as TS 16949 Lead Auditor Training and exam.

    Good luck to you in your third party auditor role. I hope you will enjoy the heavy travel schedule. 🙂

    Thanks again for visiting the blog and please come back to share your experience.

    Kirill Liberman

  37. Kirill says:

    Welcome to the blog, Shawn, and thank you for your service to our nation.

    There is a very significant deference between an ISO 9001 consultant and a freelance quality guy for hire. I advise “consultants-to-be” that quality consulting is not simply a matter of credentialing and good work experience. Credentials and experience don’t mean much if you don’t have a “product” and you don’t market it properly.

    Unlike freelancers, we ISO 9001 consultants typically have a well-engineered methodology and tool sets for deploying our methods that have been packaged and validated. This is what we provide/sell to our clients. Clients must understand exactly what you will do for them, what affect it will have, and value it will bring them. Then they may concern themselves with your credentials.

    Given the above, you may decide that you need a bit more seasoning before truly marketing yourself a consultant. If so, take AS 9100 or ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training, apply to work as a third party auditor with some registrars, gain some more experience, then develop your own approach and learn to market it.

    I hope this helps.

    Best of luck to you in your new journey.

    Kirill Liberman

  38. Joe says:

    Great Article. Doesn’t surprise me one bit on the training “requirements”. Looking you up, sure hope you folks are still in business. last comment I see is 5-2013

  39. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Joe. Welcome to the blog. I am glad you agree with my premise.

    We are still in business and will be glad to help in any way we can. You can reach us at the 800 number or by completing the contact form.

    Kirill Liberman

  40. Redwan Hossain Jeshan says:

    Hi Kirill
    Just stumbled upon your article about the Lead Auditor Training Course. I myself am undecided whether to do a lead auditor course (9001, 14001, 18001 etc.) or the internal auditor course. At the moment I am working at an environmental consultancy firm as a health and safety professional located in Bangladesh (that happens to be by home country) for the last 2.5 years; but I am planning sometimes in the future to change jobs and perhaps work as an auditor. My question is whether the lead auditor course is worth my time and money now (since I am paying them for myself) or would I be better off with the internal auditor course for now (in order to get a job as an auditor) and then at some point work my way towards the lead auditor course?

  41. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Redwan,

    Thank you for visiting our blog.

    As I discuss in this article, the Lead Auditor Training course is for those who wish to work as a third party auditor for a registrar. It sounds like this is the direction you are heading in. If so, then the Lead Auditor Training course is for you. By taking the course now you will be getting the credential that you will need in the future and you are giving yourself time to get the additional experience and audits that you will need to get qualified as a lead auditor.

    I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any additional questions.

    KIrill Liberman

  42. Heather says:


    I just completed the certifed Iso auditor training provided by my employer and I am looking for an opinion if it’s ok to use this as one of a few reasons to boost salary come annual review time. Thank you

  43. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Heather and welcome.

    You can certainly try. It the least it shows that you have the initiative to do more for your company than others that haver not taken the training. To help your cause do a few audits to demonstrate your skills, aptitude, and ability to bring value (aka return on investment) to your employers as the result of their investment in your training.

    Good luck.

    Kirill Liberman

  44. Tumanjong Noel Kamankang says:

    Hi Kirill
    I appreciate your post
    I am Cameroonian working in Oman as a cheff
    First I would like to say that here in the middle East the said iso courses 9001 etc is of high value, it qualify you to some extent for the job market, in fact both internal and lead auditors are in high demand in this part of the world, ofcause you should have some background knowledge say accounting or experience basically but get your certificate and you would get a job in middle East in no time, i have cousins who are already in the field,
    This gave me more assurance to pursue this field
    But I have a question which many have already asked but I would like a personal clarification here is my question
    (1)Does an iso 9001 certificate qualify me as an internal auditor?
    (2)Can I take this course with no background knowledge in accounting or management is the course difficult for beginners
    saved the best question for last
    (3) is the iso certificate a standard for a company or can be used as a personal qualification to practice audit even as a freelance and if the answer to these questions is no, apart from auditing, what other chareer is there in the “iso” body as a whole
    I know these questions might be silly but a word from you would really be appreciated thanks

  45. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Tumanjong. Thank you for visiting the blog. It is good to that ISO 9001 Lean and Internal Auditor are so highly regarded in the middle east. I am not familiar with the job market in that region so cannot comment on why employers feel it is valuable.

    I am glad to answer your questions about ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training. If you successfully complete the ISO 9001 Lean Auditor training, then you will certainly be qualified to perform internal audits.

    Accounting is among the least important areas of experience for a Lead or Internal auditor. Industry specific operational experience is the most valuable. While anyone can take the training, how one would internalize and apply the training would depend on individual experience and knowledge.

    ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training is specifically an individual qualification that is only required for employment by a third party registrar that issues ISO 9001 Certification to companies.

    I hope this info helps.

    I wish you great success in your job search.


    Kirill Liberman

  46. Fred says:

    Hi Krill,

    just to settle an augment:

    1. Is Lead Auditor training required for carrying out a Supplier Audit?
    2. Does the Lead Auditor course provide the candidate the ablity to implement the QMS,ISO standard?

    It just that a number of course providers stated this is necessary but when l came arcross your great article, it made think twice. A freind of mine went on a Lead Auditor course paid by his company so the he would be charged on implementing the whole system but l felt that he was totally unprepared to carry this out.

    I would be grateful for your feedback.


  47. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Fred. Welcome to the blog and thanks for the questions.

    The answer to your first questions is NO. As you may have gathered from my article, there should be no argument here. The Lead Auditor Training and certification is and always has been for credentialing as a third party auditor working for a registrar that issues ISO 9001 registrations/certifications. Supplier audits are not ISO 9001 certification audits performed by an accredited third party registrar. With this said, the perceptions and realities on the ground often drive the demand. Since to perform audits of any kind an organization and an individual must (ISO requirement) demonstrate competency to effectively perform the audits. Lead Auditor Training is often used as one way to demonstrate this competency. But make no mistake, simply completing the training does not make one a competent auditor. There are still things like subject matter expertise, experience, interpersonal factors, etc. that make a good auditor.

    This leads to your second question about Lead Auditor Training providing the ability to implement an ISO 9001-based QMS. Synonyms for “ability” are qualification, competency, experience. So the answer is again NO. The course will only give you a good explanation of the ISO 9001 standard and how to assess its requirements. Understanding how to apply the ISO 9001 requirements to a business and developing a value-added, efficient, effective, and continually improving Business Management System (a.k.a QMS) is not a skill one can gain in a 4-5 day class. If a person is already a highly experienced and capable operations professional (manager, executive, etc.), then he/she would definitely benefit from the knowledge gained from the course, but the opposite is not true. Unfortunately, this is what most companies don’t get. They mistakenly assume that they can entrust a project as big and vital as developing and implementing a company-wide Business Management System (a.k.a QMS) to a mid or lower level person who simply takes the training.

    I hope this helps you settle the argument and hopefully educate others. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you would like to discuss this further.

    Kirill Liberman

  48. smithl4rg says:

    it is very useful information all provide lead auditor

  49. aksafety says:

    Thanks for all the blogs very useful and good posting , Highly useful for all students undergoing auditor courses . Keep doing more useful blogs

  50. Jack says:

    Hi there, I have a IEMA Lead environmental auditor course at the end of the month that has been funded, I am trying to get my foot in the door in the environmental, health and safety world.

    I have my NEBOSH certificate in environmental management.

    Will this course and qualification help towards my goals of becoming an Auditor/eco consultant/ health and safety advisor? Long term of course


  51. Kirill Liberman says:

    Hello Jack,

    Thank you for visiting the Organizational Excellence Blog.

    I am not personally familiar with IEMA and NEBOSH. I will assume that these are credible accreditation and credentialing organizations. If my assumption is correct, then the answer to your question is yes. This “yes” is especially true for the Auditor portions of your objective. It is less true for the role as a consultant/advisor. Completing an accredited Lean Auditor Training course is a prerequisite for becoming a third party auditor working for a third party registrar (e.g. TUV, BSI, etc.). Becoming a true value-driven consultant/advisor is far more demanding because it requires a lot of experience, know-how, intellectual property, and interpersonal skills. These cannot be taught.

    I hope my response helps and that you achieve your goals. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions.

    Best Regards,

    Kirill Liberman

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