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Applying for IRCA membership

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Frequently asked questions about applying for IRCA certification – covering recertification, training requirements, how to record your audit experience and how to pay.

What training courses are accepted?

In order to become an IRCA Certificated Auditor you must have successfully completed an IRCA Certified Training course in the past five years. The training course must be relevant to your grade and scheme. We will consider training completed more than five years before your application if you can also provide evidence of recent and relevant continuing professional development (CPD) and work experience, and evidence that your auditing skills are current.  IRCA reserves the right to verify information about courses you've completed with the relevant organisation and individuals.

IRCA does not accept certificates of attendance as evidence of completing training. Certificates must be of ‘successful completion’ of a course.

My IRCA certification has lapsed, but I’d like to come back. Do I need to submit a new application?
If your certification expired more than 5 years ago, then you will need to submit a new application online. If your certification expired less than 5 years ago, you will need to contact the Member Journey team for advice on reinstating your membership.

Can I apply directly for Lead Auditor / Principal Auditor grade or do I have to register at a lower grade first?
Yes, you may apply directly for the grade of your choice, as long as you meet the requirements – you don’t have to start at the lowest grade.

For more information about the grade requirements, click here.

Can I have more than one IRCA certification?
Yes. You can hold as many certifications as you like on different schemes but you cannot hold more than one grade on the same scheme. Please note that each certification incurs its own set of fees.

How do I get a certification card?
After we have reviewed your application, established your grade and you have paid your annual fee, we will send you your IRCA auditor card. We’ll then send you a new one every year. Every five years, when your recertification is due, you will receive a renewal notification, listing documentation required to obtain your new card. The new card will be sent to you after we have completed the renewal evaluation and established your grade, and you have paid your annual fee.

I don’t think I meet the renewal requirements, but I don’t want to lose my certification. What should I do?
Please contact us for advice. Each year many auditors who believe they have not fulfilled the CPD or audit requirements go on to renew successfully after discussing their situation with a member of our certification team. (For example, we have found that most auditors underestimate the amount of CPD they actually complete.)

How do I record my audit experience?
Your audit experience should be recorded and submitted on the online application form in your initial application and you can also record your audits in the My Records section of the Members Area.

What kinds of audits are accepted?
For the purposes of certification, audits must have been performed:

  • In the last 5 years before your application
  • After successfully completing an IRCA-certified training course
  • In accordance with the auditing guidance standard ISO 19011 or ISO 17021
  • Against the relevant standard for the scheme for which you are applying, or an acceptable alternative (to check accepted standards for each scheme, visit the scheme pages, listed here).

Do you accept internal audits?
We may accept internal audits for the Auditor, Lead Auditor and Principal Auditor grades, provided that the audits were of the full management system covering all clauses and requirements of the applicable management system standard, and that it was of a part of the organisation from which you are entirely independent (eg a separate business unit). Along with filling in the Audit log section of the online application form, please submit the following information for internal audits:

  • An organisation structure diagram of the company, showing the auditor’s independence from the system audited
  • A sample audit report
  • Any additional information that may support your application.

Do you accept consultancy audits?
We will accept consultancy audits where:

  • The client (the auditee) already had a fully established management system prior to the audit
  • You had no part in setting up the management system being audited (except in such specific circumstances as described below)
  • The scope of the audit included all elements of the management system.

Do you accept surveillance (partial system) audits?
We do accept surveillance (partial system) audits for the purposes of Auditor/Lead Auditor initial certification, recertification or regrades.

Do you accept remote audits?
Remote audit activities are activities performed at any place other than the location of the auditee, regardless of the distance. IRCA will accept remote audits as a substitute for the required on-site audit days if there has been as much interaction between the auditor and the auditee as would occur during an on-site audit.

What audits do you not accept?
We will not accept the following kinds of audit:

  • Audits of the same management system that occur more frequently than once every 12 months
  • Audits of less than one day’s duration (six hours of audit activity, exclusive of breaks), except for the internal auditor grade, where we will accept audits of three hours exclusive of breaks
  • Gap analysis, close out or follow-up visits.

What auditing standards do you accept?
We accept audits performed against standards that we have evaluated as being acceptable alternatives to the main international standards. A list of acceptable alternative standards for each auditor scheme can be found here.

The standard I've audited against is not on the list. What should I do?
Please follow the process outlined on the Accepted Alternative Standards page here. The process is only available to current members.



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