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What is "Certified" Training ?

Do you need to pay extra for "certified" training, or are you better off with "personalized" training, that is "non-certified" ?
The answer is:  It's up to you !!

Poague & Associates, Inc. offers both. Which is best for you depends on your specific situation.
Training can be broken into two main categories:
1) Training for Auditors
         a) Certified
         b) Non-certified  (Personalized)

2) All other types of training - implementation, management overview, general awareness, and lots of other specific informational training. (There is no certification for these)

There are many, many different types of training in the ISO world. Many courses are for informational purposes, such as courses on how to implement an ISO system, or a course for management overview. These are examples of non-certified courses, in fact, the term "certified" does not even apply here.

Then there are courses intended to train auditors on how to audit an ISO Management System.  These auditor courses may be certified or personalized (non-certified).

Here are some FAQ's to help you understand the differences and applicability to your situation.

What is "Certified" auditor training ??
Certified means the course has been reviewed and approved by Exemplar Global (previously called RABQSA). Simply put, Exemplar Global is an oversight body that coordinates Training Course Providers and their certified courses, and is also an individual personnel certification body. These two different certifications (course and personnel) work in conjunction with each other. You don't need one without the other. If you want or need to be a "certified" auditor, then you take a certified course and pass the exam. Then you can apply to Exemplar Global to become a certified auditor. Visit their website for more information about personnel certifications. http://www.exemplarglobal.org/who-we-are/

Do I need to be a certified auditor to conduct internal audits on my company's ISO management system??
Simply put......No.

Individual personnel certification as an auditor is a credential.

-  If you want to perform audits as a consultant, or for registrars (Certification Bodies), then you may want or need that credential. Having these credentials will help your career and help you get work.  Note: These are called "external" audits, as compared to "internal" audits, because you are auditing outside your own company.

- If you are performing internal audits as an employee of a company, auditing your own company's management system, you do not need any type of certification. You do need to show competency as an auditor, based on training, education, skills, and experience. How your company determines competency is up to them. Either type of training course (cert or non-cert) can help you meet this competency requirement.

Poague and Associates, Inc. offers both certified and personalized (non-certified) courses. If you have any questions just call and we can help you determine which is best for you.

What is "Personalized" training ??
Poague and Associates, Inc. also offers Personalized training courses, in addition to its line of other certified and non-certified training courses. These courses may be customized to meet your specific training requests. Have experienced auditors in ISO 9001 and want to train them to audit ISO 14001 ?  If there is no need for teaching the audit steps or audit techniques, a personalized course will teach them what they need to know about ISO 14001 requirements. We can personalize your course to use your auditing procedures, train the students on your own procedures and forms, as well our proven auditing courses and techniques.

Am I "required" to have an Exemplar Global certified auditor on my internal auditor staff ?
Simply put....No.

ISO Management Systems require auditors to be "competent".  Competency for an auditor is based on training, education, skills, and experience. How your company determines competency is up to them. Either type of training course (cert or non-cert) can help you meet this competency requirement. ISO 19011:2018 Clause 7 sets guidelines for Competence and evaluation of auditors........particularly clause 7.2.4 - Achieving auditor competence, and also clause 7.3 - Establishing the auditor evaluation criteria. ISO 19011 does not address or even mention "certified" auditors.

Do my internal auditors have to be "certified" in order to be a "lead" auditor when conducting our internal audits ?
Again........No.  There is no requirement for your company's internal audit program to have any kind of certified auditor. The term "lead auditor" can mean different things to different companies. Just like other internal auditors, the competencies for your company's "lead" auditor are determined by the company. ISO 19011:2018 sets guidelines for "audit team leaders" (their term for lead auditors) in clause 7.2.5 which states,  "An audit team leader should have acquired additional experience to develop the competence described in 7.2.3.  This additional experience should have been gained by working under the direction and guidance of a different team leader."  There is no requirement for any type of external "certification" by Exemplar Global or any other credential. 

Note: Do not confuse the term "Exemplar Global Certified Lead Auditor" with your company's "Lead Auditor". They are not the same. Exemplar Global Certified Lead Auditors are typically the auditors that perform external audits for registrars (certification bodies), with a few exceptions.


  • There is no requirement for a certified course. Both certified and non-certified will teach what you need.
  • Key differences and similarities in certified and non-certified courses, in simple terms:
    • Certified courses cost a little more than non-certified courses. This is due to the cost of sending the course material to Exemplar Global and paying their fee to have them approve the course content and exams to have it certified.
    • Certified courses require an exam at the end. Personalized courses do not require an exam, although some may have exams.  
  • The "need" for auditor certification is relative, based on business needs.  ISO 19011 does not require any type of certification for internal auditors.
  • Personalized auditing courses are courses can be as good or better than certified courses.  Even certified courses are not all the same.
  • All other courses (for anything else other than auditing) do not have any type of certification of any kind. 
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