What is the value of a CQPA?
As someone who is relatively new to the quality profession as a whole (~2 years), I have been looking for ways to improve my knowledge base and provide evidence of that knowledge. In looking around I find myself drawn to the Quality Process Analyst certification with ASQ, but I truly wonder if it is recognizable as a meaningful certification. I know that a CQE, CQA, CMQ/OE, CRE, and CSSBB/CSSGGB are all very good certifications to have and are recognized quite well within the industry, but as a practicing quality engineer that doesn't have the 3-4+ years of experience to take these exams, I wonder if there is the same level of awareness for some of the newer certification programs like CQPA, CQIA, etc. that don't require as many years of experience in the field.

Members who have been around for a while, can you weigh in on this? The knowledge itself is great to learn (I have already begun reading through the CQPA handbook and really like the content), but I'm wondering if I should just read the material for it and wait to test for a more meaningful certification to save myself the hassle of examination preparation.

Thanks for any insight you all can provide!
10 Replies

That is a great question, and one that is dependent on your immediate career path.

I would recommend reviewing the fact sheet, https://p.widencdn.net/pq3ojw/41577-Cert-Factsheet-CQPA, that can give an idea of how the market sees its value, and what common industries CQPA's are found in.

Amanda Foster
657 Posts
Hello David,

I faced the same question a few years ago and decided to forgo the CQPA to focus on my CQA - which I passed on the first try. I have a BA, so I was able to use that time toward my experience. I do not regret skipping the CQPA, though I do not feel that it has no value. I think all certifications are noteworthy to potential employers, and the BOK for the CQPA is definitely a stepping stone for other certifications. I am currently studying for the CMQ/OE and look forward to the recognition and benefits of another certification.

One positive to the CQPA is that it gives you a trial run for the more advanced certifications because the cost and BOK are less significant.

Best of luck to you!

Amanda Foster ASQ CQA
Amanda hit the nail on the head.   Use the CQPA or CQIA as a stepping stone to certifications with much larger BOKs.     Both the breadth (number of topics) and depth (complexity of the topics) are less; so there will be less to study!   Having a successful experience of passing the CQIA or CQPA, will help you gain confidence in taking on the CQE or CRE.

I promote the CQPA as an "hands-on, working toolkit" as valuable to anyone in any position wanting process improvement and control tools.  I see it as a great alternative to the CQT, which is very manufacturing oriented (with more math than most workers need). 

It promotes a wide variety of tools and methods that are applicable to any industry, even manufacturing.  
In general I would suggest browsing the list of certifications, choosing one that 'speaks' to you and pursue it. The journey and the expansion of your knowledge will be a great benefit.
Good luck!

As a CQPA (and a CQA), I will simply tell you this.  If you are new to Quality, I highly recommend ONE of the baseline certs (CQIA or CQPA) - they are a great way to obtain fundamental knowledge about the industry and get you acquainted with basic tools that will benefit you immediately and into the future.  While I have primers for both certs, I chose the CQPA for several reasons - the most overwhelming to me was the concentration on CAPA...which I had been doing for my employer at the time.  I think the CQPA gives you more and better "hit the ground running" kind of knowledge, and to me it makes for the stronger of the two, but that is merely my opinion.

Do not look for the certification to have a marketplace value...employers will not be looking for someone specifically with this certification.  The VALUE in it, is in the solid knowledge-base that it provides you on some very important topics.  As you study for further certifications, you will find that THOSE bodies of knowledge keep pointing back to the fundamental certs.  Being poised with that knowledge will ease the studying process and build confidence.  Also, since teaching is the best way to reinforce knowledge, it's great material to maintain if you ever want to consider teaching/speaking to...a local Student Branch.

I don't regret getting the CQPA...it gave me great footing as I began to consider which way I wanted to direct my career path.
Amanda Foster
657 Posts
David Mosher‍, did you decide to go for the CQPA?

I have been reading through the primer and decided to not go for the CQPA.

In reading some of the responses here and looking into my long-term career goals, it seems best to hold off and wait to go for certification until I have one I feel excited about. On of the other commenters (James Miller) made a good point about finding one that "speaks" to me. I think having that connection with a certification and BOK will make it easier for me to feel committed to study and pursue. In addition, with it being early in my career I do not see the match-up of financials to self-improvement. If I can gain the same knowledge the certification will qualify me to by reading the test material (and I more than likely will not see any sort of raise or additional career prospects for passing the test alone) then it makes the most sense to me to gain the knowledge, but forego the certification.

Unfortunately, seeking out certifications just for the sake of it is kind of where I started, but I think I now have a more clear goal in mind of where I want to go.

Thanks everyone for your input!
Amanda Foster
657 Posts
Sounds logical. I only have my CQA at this point for pretty much the same reason.
Joe Wojniak
90 Posts
I think it's good to think about what is motivating you (as you've already done).  Are you studying for self enrichment and/or do you need to demonstrate to others what you know?  A certification demonstrates to others your knowledge.  There is not a 1:1 correlation to raises or job opportunities- however my opinion is that having 1 certification helps (particularly early in your Quality career).  After that, targeting the types of positions that you are interested in also helps guide the certification decisions (i.e. Auditing, Quality Engineer, Quality Manager, etc.)  As an aside- once you are certified you can help others gain that same certification by hosting  a class with your local ASQ Section.  I believe that if the class is approved, then class expenses and an instructor's fee are covered.  If others have more information about teaching certification classes, please reply to this post.