Certification schemes from IRCA


What is an IRCA certified auditor?

With so much riding on the outcome of an audit the competence of management systems auditor is vital. And, as with any professional activity, it is important that auditors adhere to professional standards.

IRCA certification is the international gold standard for management systems auditors which indicates that an IRCA certified auditor:

  • Has met the required standards of training, technical experience, work experience and audit experience
  • Has committed to working to the professional standards set out in the IRCA code of conduct
  • Has committed to and undertakes on-going professional development to keep up to date with developments in standards, auditing methodology and industry requirements.

Why choose IRCA

 width=IRCA has an international reputation for integrity and quality and is the world’s leading auditor certification body. We have developed the evaluation and certification methods that are now used by almost all other bodies and offer more certification grades and schemes than any other competitor.

Steps to certification

1. Submit your application
2. Application is processed
3. You will be contacted if further information is required
4. Application is sent for assessment by an external technical reviewing officer
5. Certificate is awarded
6. Confirmation letter and IRCA certification card are sent to you

What is the link with IRCA certified auditor training courses?

IRCA also provides the international benchmark for initial training of auditors. Over 90 IRCA approved training providers have voluntarily met the strict requirements for course design, tutor competence and delegate examination and assessment. This provides confidence that delegates will benefit from a standard introduction to management systems audit and have their achievement of the learning objectives assessed consistently and fairly.

Passing an IRCA certified training course is only the first step to achieving the full professional recognition as an IRCA certified auditor. Aspiring auditors will also need to meet the education, work experience and audit experience requirements to achieve IRCAcertified auditor status.


IRCA offers five grades of certification, although not all grades are available for each scheme.

Most auditors progress from provisional auditor to auditor and then to either lead or principal auditor. The internal auditor is a specialist grade but is often used as a starting point.

Internal auditor Designed for those who conduct internal audits of their organisation’s management systemRecognises personal attributes, education, professional and technical competencies
Provisional auditor Designed for entry level/trainee auditors seeking a career in auditing and experienced auditors taking a break from auditing or moving into managementRecognises personal attributes, education, professional and technical competencies
Auditor Designed for audit team membersRecognises auditor competence and contribution as an effective member of an audit team
Lead auditor Designed for audit team leaders who typically work for certification bodies or perform supplier audits for large organisationsRecognises competence at managing audits and leading teams
Principal auditor Designed for experienced auditors who operate on their own. This grade is an alternative to the lead auditor grade.Recognises experience and competence of auditors who have either:

  • Consultancy background: competence in implementing management systems and performing all aspects of the audit process
  • Lead auditor background: competence in audit management and team leade

IRCA’s mission is to:

  • Instill confidence in accredited certification worldwide by improving the performance of auditors
  • Associate the IRCA name with integrity, best practice and adding value
  • Promote auditing as a valued profession
  • Provide an excellent administration service to all our stakeholders, which sets a benchmark for others to follow
  • Improve the standard of auditors and auditor training
  • Make IRCA certification available to all relevant organizations and individuals worldwide
  • Promote best practice in auditing


IRCA was formed in 1984 as part of the UK government’s enterprise initiative, designed to make industry and business more competitive through the implementation of quality principles and practices. This structure included IRCA, an accreditation body (now UKAS), a national standards making body (BSI Standards) and a number of commercial certification bodies. The original quality management standard used was the British standard BS 5750, which has since evolved to become ISO 9001.

IRCA has earned a reputation for integrity, contributing value and best practice. The evaluation and certification methods developed and used by IRCA have been adopted as the industry standard model used by other auditor certification bodies, which indicates that we remain the auditor certification that supplier organizations, certification bodies and auditors value most. Over 1 million auditors have been awarded certification since 1984 and more than 150 countries are represented on the IRCA register.

The Chartered Quality Institute

Chartered Quality Institute logoIRCA is a division of the Chartered Quality Institute(CQI) – the UK’s professional body for quality management professionals. The CQI recognizes that quality makes business better by:

  • Improving customers satisfaction
  • Improving and innovating work methods
  • Increasing efficiency and reducing waste and cost
  • Identifying and managing risk to the business
  • Considering corporate care and responsibility

It is the CQI’s members – Chartered Quality Professionals – who deliver these outcomes for business and industry and the CQI supports its members by providing quality management knowledge as well as recognition of their professional competence.

Many IRCA certified auditors become members of the CQI to increase their professional recognition.

Visit www.thecqi.org to find out more about the CQI and membership.

Read more at http://www.irca.org/en-gb/


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