How to Become an ISO Auditor (With Key Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization, which is an internationally recognised non-governmental organisation that sets and enforces the industrial, technical and commercial standards for companies. As an ISO auditor, you can work internally for a company, either as a quality specialist or for a third-party certification body. If you're interested in learning how to become an ISO auditor, understanding the certifications and skills for the role can be beneficial in helping you gain employment. In this article, we define what an ISO auditor is, describe how to become one and note the desirable skills and average salary for the role.

What is an ISO auditor?

An ISO auditor completes an independent audit for a business or organisation in relation to the current international standards, published by ISO. Employees in this field possess in-depth training in one certification type pertaining to the ISO system standards, with these certifications available in a wide range of functions for different industries and audit testing. For example, an ISO auditor can gain expert training in auditing either the quality, environment, food safety, information security or energy efficiency of an organisation. These functions have different requirements and audit objectives.

Employers may hire an ISO auditor to conduct testing independently of their organisation. By outsourcing this way, an ISO auditor may travel to the organisation's location to begin their auditing. How they conduct their tests and analysis depends on the type of auditing in which they specialise. They may also perform different types of audits, from gap analysis, which identifies the standards the company already meets and those that it lacks, to full audits.

Related: What Is Internal Auditing? (With Step-by-Step Guide)

How to become an ISO auditor

While the specific steps on how to become an ISO auditor may depend on the type of auditing function you want to conduct, there are some common steps that all ISO auditors typically complete. You can follow this useful step-by-step guide for an explanation on how to become an ISO auditor:

1. Complete secondary school

Completing secondary school or obtaining an equivalent qualification is a basic requirement for most ISO auditor roles. This shows that you possess a basic knowledge of Maths and English, which can advance your communication skills and make training easier to understand. You can gain your secondary school qualification by finishing year 12 and passing your exams.

2. Gain a university degree

Gaining a bachelor's degree in a relevant field can help you learn more about the industry. This may increase your career prospects, as prospective employers can see you have developed your skill set in an academic environment. The relevance of your degree depends on the type of ISO auditing you wish to conduct. Some popular degrees for ISO auditors typically include accounting, business administration and finance. Attending university can also be a great time to expand your professional network with like-minded individuals.

Related: What Is Professional Networking? (And Why It Matters)

3. Obtain certification in your chosen specialist function

There are several ISO standards that you can audit, though each requires you to take a different certification course that qualifies you to perform audits in that specific area. For example, if you wish to specialise in auditing the ISO certification 14005 2019 in Environmental Management Systems, you can take a training course in responsible recycling to learn more about the standard and how to audit. Each standard has its own variety of training courses, which you can find online. These typically take around one year to complete, though this depends on your selected training provider.

4. Gain professional work experience

Once you have completed your training, you can start looking for work experience in relevant fields. This can help to build your resume and provide you with an opportunity to apply your learned knowledge in a practical field. While this work experience doesn't require you to be an auditor for a company, try to keep this work in a similar field to the ISO standard you have studied. For example, for the Environmental Management Systems ISO, you may find work experience in a sustainability-based organisation. Alternatively, you can look for shadowing opportunities to assist lead auditors in their duties.

5. Find employment in a certification body

After some gaining experience, you may feel confident enough about your auditing abilities to apply for full-time work. You can apply for a full-time job as an ISO auditor using the Indeed Job Board. Throughout this process, you may prepare a cover letter, create a resume and attend job interviews. You can also look for a certification body that needs ISO certification auditors to gain employment. Your prospective employers may have different training regulations they may require you to complete before you can start working. This may include observing audits or passing a practical audit test.

6. Consider attending lead auditor training

As you gain technical skills and grow within your career, you may want to advance to a more senior position as a lead auditor. You can take a lead auditing training course in the area in which you are already auditing. For example, those who specialise in Quality Management System audits may take the ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training certification to become a lead auditor in this standard. The certification typically requires at least two years of experience as a lead auditor in training and the completion of a minimum number of audits to pass, depending on your training provider.

Key skills for an ISO auditor

Individuals who work as ISO auditors typically have a range of skills to help them perform their tasks efficiently. Listed below are some skills that you may want to develop to become a successful ISO auditor:

Problem-solving

The ability to solve problems is crucial for being able to provide organisations with appropriate feedback and solutions to any issues they may have during the audit. You can use your problem-solving skills to improve efficiency or increase security measures, depending on the type of audit you conduct. As you become more familiar with auditing, your problem-solving skills may naturally develop. Alternatively, taking short courses related to your speciality can help you develop your technical skills by teaching you logical solutions to problems.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication

Communication skills allow you to communicate effectively with clients and interpret information. They can help you adapt to changes in your environment or schedule, which can be crucial for auditors who work in various locations. Developing your communication skills may be crucial for presenting your findings and analysis to colleagues. Effective communication can also help speed up the process of a project and ensure you delegate your tasks effectively.

To enhance your communication skills, you can practise explaining a report clearly to a trusted colleague or friend and asking for feedback. You may also attend a short communication skills course or watch training videos online. Having this skill and a strong work ethic can help you perform your role to the best of your ability and uphold the ISO standards more accurately.

Related: Understanding and Overcoming Common Communication Barriers With Examples

Computer

As an ISO auditor, you may write reports to document your audit findings. This may require having basic computer skills, including writing reports and sending emails. To develop your computer skills, you can take short courses to familiarise yourself with different software or watch online video tutorials explaining how to craft reports or documents.

How much does an ISO auditor make?

The national average salary for auditors, including ISO auditors, is $76,090 per year. This figure may vary depending on your level of experience, skill set, academic qualifications, professional certifications and organisation. The average annual pay can also vary depending on the location of the company. This is mainly because of differences in living costs, which may affect general income rates.

Below are some of the average annual salaries of an auditor in Australia by city:

  • Wollongong NSW: $104,845 per year

  • Newcastle NSW: $99,929 per year

  • Brisbane QLD: $88,686 per year

  • Canberra ACT: $87,788 per year

  • Sydney NSW: $87,326 per year

  • Darwin NT: $76,956 per year

  • Melbourne VIC: $76,944 per year

  • Perth WA: $75,349 per year

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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