Transition to Third Party Auditing from Leadership
Hello All!  I'm a returning member of ASQ and am looking to transition my career. I have been in leadership for a small electronics manufacturing facility for the last 12 years.  The first years as the Director of Quality Assurance and the last 5 years as the Director of Manufacturing.  I was previously a Quality Engineer at a plastics production plant with focus on performing process capability studies and QA Manager in training.

I am now finding myself VERY interested in moving my career to third party auditing and would appreciate any tips, help or direction anyone would like to offer!  I am also believing that I would like to expand soon to training and consulting services.  I, however, am lost as to what the first steps are to move careers.  I've tried to contact some registrars for discussion as to what certification class would qualify to audit for ISO9001 (first, later to expand to ISO13485) and if they are hiring.  I don't want to move to a career with no opportunities.  I also have limited funding for classes due to COVID affecting my life in a negative way, so I need to spend my $$ as intelligently as possible.  Does anyone have any advice for me?

10 Replies
Duke Okes
164 Posts
No advice, but some thoughts:

- Getting into the ISO auditor space would likely be difficult right now.  We're past the bubble of demand for auditors created by the latest revisions of the standards that required organizations to transition, and I imaging registrars have trimmed their workforces.  However, to get into the space you would likely need to have attended a lead auditor class and pass the exam, plus have documented and witnessed audit experience. Don't know about the level of development (e.g., provisional auditor, auditor, lead auditor), but that should be looked at.  If the electronics company you worked at was registered I'd talk with the auditor who used to audit the facility just to get some insights.

- Getting into training & consulting has fewer constraints, but requires knowing what you do well and what the market need is and how to fine the opportunities.  I'd start by doing a review of your past work to identify the niches/skills you were involved with, and which ones you are especially good at.  You might start looking for opportunities by networking with your local ASQ section members, although many of them may see you as a potential competitor.  There may also be opportunities for you to take on the role of interim/part-time QE/QM/DM for small businesses that can't a afford full time person in that role.
Thank you so much for your thoughts.  I will definitely take them into account.  Some of this thought I have is due to instability of my position currently. I believe that auditing is one of my core strengths.  I think getting ahold of our current auditor is great advice that I will gladly take.  
Duke Okes
164 Posts
Although I don't know how widespread it is, I do know that some companies outsource their internal audit function.  Again, likely smaller firms with fewer resources and more difficult for someone internal to be independent of the processes being audited.  There are also consulting companies that have multiple contract auditors who do this for client organizations.
Just a thought, but Northrop Grumman in the East Valley (Chandler/Gilbert) sometimes - and I stress sometimes - looks for things like that.  Not sure how active they are right now with hiring and the "new norm" but they are always worth checking. 
Thank you so much for sharing this with me.
This is a great idea, thank you!
Trish Borzon
969 Posts
Hi Monica Benson‍ - welcome back!  You might find some good resources in our blog about remote auditing 

Hope this helps & good luck on your transition
I have no idea if they are hiring or not or their process but Eagle Certification Group may be worth checking out as well.
Hi, Monica and welcome back. Like me, you have returned to the ASQ fold. 😊

To your question, I'd recommend you think about why you want to go into third party auditing. It is a very different world from the one you have left and it is not for everyone. The third-party CBs are generally using contract auditors now and, again, that life doesn't suit everyone.

Auditing can be rewarding and I'd suggest you draw up a shortlist of CBs you would like to work for/with and approach them directly. Most will have a person responsible for identifying potential new recruits but often they're not easy to find from websites. Your local ASQ chapter may well include a number of ASQ member auditors and that will be a useful way to get to the person recruiting.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
Amanda Foster
659 Posts
Have you considered training for a registrar? I know several of them offer training in addition to registration. It might be a more stable field, especially if you could do some remote training. Best of luck in your transition!