A Quality Management Certification is a qualification achieved by an individual that demonstrates that the holder has knowledge of Quality Management principles and can implement it to a high level of effectiveness within a business or industry sector.
A Quality Management Certification shows potential employers that you have credible Quality Management expertise and that you have developed core management tools and techniques such as leadership, planning, and performance management.
In today’s article we’ll be looking at Quality Manager certification, we’ll be looking at
- What is Quality Manager Certification
- What do you learn in Quality Management Training
- What to look for in Quality Manager training
- Steps to achieving Quality Manager certification
- Benefits of a Quality Manager certification
- What can you do when you’re certified
- What should you do next
Quality Manager Certification relates to demonstrating an individual’s knowledge through an officially recognised Quality Management related certification.
Certification is often taken by those who are reaching for or already in management or executive roles.
It is often seen as a mechanism to help advance a career.
Many organizations recognize the benefits of certified quality professionals as the knowledge gained through certification can add value to the organization, not just the individual, through the application of concepts learned.
There are numerous certifying bodies available; any individuals considering certification should adopt one that is widely recognised to gain maximum benefits.
- American Society for Quality (ASQ),
- British Standards Institute (BSI),
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
While some, as above, may focus on broad Quality Management, several specialist certification bodies focus on specific industries and are widely recognised within them.
For example – https://www.aami.org specialises in healthcare and, along with other similar industry-led certification bodies, will focus on specific standards that will benefit those working in the industry.
When deciding on which route to follow, there are several things to consider
- The aims of your organization and how your certification will help meet its goals
- Does your certification provider offer a qualification that is widely recognised within your industry
- How the certification supports your career plan and goals
Quality certification can be a crucial differentiator when it comes to recruitment.
As a result, the certification route is not to be taken lightly. Getting it wrong (choosing the wrong certification or training provider) may also lose you time and money.
To an extent – what you learn depends, primarily, on two factors.
- The certification route you choose i.e.
- Does the certification focus on particular standards
- Are there specific outputs for the training which are different from other bodies
- The course syllabus (i.e. general management, auditing, improvement etc.).
- When considering which course to undertake, you must consider what you want to get out of it. There’s no point in learning about auditing, for example, if it doesn’t provide value.
Most certification courses will be delivered in units (i.e. sections of knowledge pertaining to the course).
Here are some of the units or topics that you’d expect to cover in quality management training:
- What are Quality Management Systems
- Quality Standards & certification processes
- Common policies & procedures
- Executing quality management systems
- What is Leadership
- Financial Management
- Dealing with issues and problems
- Resource management
- Aspects of leadership
- Performance reviews
- Maintaining Quality management systems
- Auditing & Control
- Continuous improvement
Depending on the course, some of these topics may relate directly to standards such as ISO 9001, while others may be more general.
Note that almost all training courses will focus on the general principles of management and leadership in a Quality Management context.
Given the large plethora of training available, what should you look out for?
Here are our thoughts:
- Will the training:
- Improve your capabilities?
- Offer advantages to your employer & their customers
- Compliment your career plans?
- Is it industry recognised (Further to that, if appropriate, is your certification recognised internationally?)
- Do you have a requirement that the course provides CPD points? If so, does it?
- Is the route to maintaining your certification clearly understood & achievable?
- What commitment is required to achieve the certification?
- How much does certification cost? Do you have an appropriate route to funding (and if your organization funds this, do you understand any required commitments you’ll need to make to secure it?
- Do you understand how you will carry out the training vs your other commitments? Have you considered the benefits of classroom vs online vs self-learning?
- Do you have to achieve certification in a given timescale? Can you comfortably do this?
- Do you understand the ramifications of failing examinations – are there retake options? How would these be funded?
We think there are six steps to achieving quality manager certifications:
- Review the certification routes available – As we described earlier, there are many certifying bodies for Quality Management. While some aspects of courses may be similar, they may offer some specific aspects (i.e. industry-specific) which might provide an advantage to you. Ensure you check out the full range of what’s available to you ahead of selecting your certification route.
- Understand any course pre-requisites – Pre-requisites are things that you must have to enable you to do the course. Some certifying bodies require several years of on the job experience in a management position. They may also require other existing certifications or qualifications.
- Understand the certification route- Make sure you understand how you will become certified and the associated commitments (cost, time, examinations, etc.). Be sensible, don’t sign up for a certification route that you cannot achieve.
- Select a course – Once you are happy with a course, sign up and start the learning journey.
- Study / Attend course – It goes without saying that you’ll need to attend the course and study as required.
- Sustain your certification – Many bodies will require you to recertify within certain periods (i.e. every three years). This helps ensure that:
- you still meet the standard
- You keep your knowledge current.
There are clear and numerous benefits to gaining Quality manager certification. These include:
- Certifications are acknowledged as a mark of excellence and demonstrate that you have the knowledge and training to execute your job to a high standard.
- They can help you advance your career; many leadership roles mandate any applicant holding such certifications.
- They can improve your earning potential.
- Knowledge gained can help your organization and its customers.
- They help you become more effective.
So you’ve reviewed the courses, selected something appropriate, spent the time and achieved certification.
Don’t just sit there – use it! You’ll only get maximum benefit by utilising what you’ve learned and leveraging the qualification in your career.
A Certified Quality Manager should be leading quality teams, driving improvement activities, taking part in strategic planning, deploying policies and ultimately driving benefits and improvements into their organization. They should also be reflecting on their career path and using the certification to help them advance.
Too many individuals achieve qualifications in their chosen field and then don’t do anything with them. Don’t be one of these. Get qualified and use it!
If you are considering certification, I’d recommend that you talk to your organization’s leadership and see how they can help.
They may have existing training routes or be aligned to certification bodies and might offer support with funding and study time.
I’d also recommend exploring the different certification routes, considering where you want your career to go, carefully considering which route offers the support you want not now but also in the future.
Read up on the syllabuses offered. Are there particular aspects of training that interest you (i.e. strategic planning) – you might find this is explored more deeply in some courses than others?
Finally, ensure you understand the commitment required.
Many of these routes require lots of effort and hours of study. Consider how you’ll fit this around your work and home life. Do not sign up for something that you cant achieve.
As you can see, there are various reasons why it may be in your interest to pursue a quality management certification.
It enables you to demonstrate experience, knowledge and understanding and can provide you and your organization with some real advantages.
It also adds credibility to your CV and demonstrates a commitment to excellence within your current organization and potential recruiters.
There are numerous routes available to you, and there are various industry and globally recognised certification bodies.
Courses cover a range of topics and are designed to make you more accomplished and effective.
Have you undertaken Quality Management certification? What issues and benefits have you seen first-hand?
Have you any tips or lessons learned that you’d like to share?
As ever, you can reach out to us via the comments section below or via Twitter.