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Top 11 Quality Improvement Specialist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best quality improvement specialist certifications available, including their requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for quality improvement specialists because they provide proof of competency and knowledge in the field. They also demonstrate to employers that the specialist has the necessary skills and qualifications to perform the job effectively. Quality improvement specialists must be knowledgeable in a variety of areas, including process improvement, problem solving, risk management, and data analysis. Having a certification ensures that these skills are up-to-date and demonstrate that the specialist is committed to continuous learning. Certifications also show employers that the specialist has gone through an extensive program and can be trusted to handle complex tasks. In addition, certifications provide access to professional networks, conferences, and other resources which can help further enhance the quality improvement specialist’s career.

The purpose of this article is to review the most relevant certifications for Quality Improvement Specialists, describing how they can help Quality Improvement Specialists advance their careers.

What are Quality Improvement Specialist Certifications?

Quality Improvement Specialist Certification (QISC) is a credentialing program that recognizes professionals who demonstrate mastery of quality improvement principles, skills, and strategies. It is designed to promote the use of quality improvement in healthcare organizations and other industries. The certification provides evidence that an individual has met the necessary qualifications for quality improvement and has the ability to apply best practices in order to effectively improve processes and outcomes.

The QISC certification can be beneficial for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in quality improvement or those who are already working in the field. With this certification, individuals can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of quality improvement techniques, which can be beneficial when applying for new positions or promotions. Additionally, the certification can provide employers with assurance that they have hired an individual with the right skillset to help them achieve their organizational goals. Finally, having a QISC certification may also provide access to additional resources such as continuing education courses or networking opportunities with other certified professionals.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of the flexibility of online learning platforms to study for your Quality Improvement Specialist Certification. These platforms allow you to access course materials and exams at any time, so you can work at your own pace and complete the certification when it's most convenient for you.

Related: What does a Quality Improvement Specialist do?

Top 11 Quality Improvement Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Quality Improvement Specialists today.

1. Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)

Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) is a certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of healthcare quality. The CPHQ certification is administered by the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ). It is designed to provide healthcare professionals with recognition of their knowledge and skills in the area of healthcare quality.

The CPHQ certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as patient safety, risk management, quality improvement, performance measurement, and data analysis. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours. Candidates must also have at least two years of experience in a healthcare quality role or demonstrate equivalent knowledge through education or other credentials.

To obtain the CPHQ certification, applicants must first register online with NAHQ and pay the required fee ($395 for NAHQ members; $495 for non-members). Once registered, applicants can access study materials, practice tests, and other resources to prepare for the exam. After passing the exam, candidates will receive their CPHQ certificate and be recognized as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

The cost of obtaining the CPHQ certification varies depending on whether you are an NAHQ member or not. For NAHQ members, it costs $395 to register for the exam; for non-members it costs $495.

2. Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA)

The Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA) is a professional certification program offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). It is designed to provide quality professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead successful quality improvement initiatives. The CQIA certification validates an individual’s ability to use quality tools and techniques to improve organizational performance.

The CQIA certification requires a minimum of three years of work experience in quality or related fields, as well as passing an exam. The exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours. To prepare for the exam, ASQ offers a variety of study materials, including books, online courses, and practice exams.

The cost of the CQIA certification varies depending on whether you are an ASQ member or nonmember. For members, the cost is $299 USD; for nonmembers, it is $399 USD. In addition to this fee, there may also be additional costs associated with purchasing study materials and/or taking preparatory courses.

3. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)

Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) is a professional certification offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The CSSBB certification demonstrates an individual's knowledge and skills in the principles of Six Sigma and its implementation. It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved mastery of the tools, techniques, and methodologies used to improve processes within organizations.

The CSSBB certification requires individuals to pass both a written exam and an oral assessment. The written exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as process improvement, data analysis, project management, design of experiments, problem solving, and team dynamics. The oral assessment includes a presentation on a Six Sigma project conducted by the candidate.

It typically takes between six months to one year to prepare for the CSSBB certification. Preparation involves studying the material covered in the exam and gaining experience working on Six Sigma projects. Many organizations offer training courses or seminars that can help individuals prepare for the exam.

The cost of obtaining the CSSBB certification varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically costs around $1,000-$2,000 USD. This cost covers registration fees for both exams as well as any additional materials needed for preparation.

4. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB)

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) is a professional certification program designed to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge necessary to lead Lean Six Sigma projects within their organization. The program focuses on teaching participants how to use Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques to improve process performance, reduce waste, and increase customer satisfaction.

The program typically takes four to eight weeks to complete, depending on the provider and the number of modules included in the course. It is recommended that participants have at least two years of experience in a related field before enrolling in an LSSGB program.

To get certified as an LSSGB, you must pass an exam administered by a recognized certifying body such as ASQ or IASSC. The cost of certification varies depending on the certifying body and can range from $500-$2,000 USD.

In addition to passing the exam, some certifying bodies may require proof of project completion or other evidence demonstrating mastery of Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques.

5. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Quality Improvement Manager (CQM)

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Quality Improvement Manager (CQM) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and expertise in quality management principles, tools, and techniques. The certification is designed to help organizations improve their products and services by providing a comprehensive understanding of quality improvement methods.

To become CQM certified, individuals must complete an ASQ-approved training program and pass the CQM exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as quality management systems, process improvement, statistical process control, design of experiments, root cause analysis, and customer satisfaction. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

Individuals can enroll in an ASQ-approved training program through a variety of providers including universities, colleges, and other educational institutions. Training programs typically take anywhere from two days to several weeks to complete depending on the provider.

The cost of becoming CQM certified varies depending on the provider but typically ranges between $1,500 - $2,500 USD for the entire program including tuition fees and exam fees.

6. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Quality Engineer (CQE)

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in quality engineering. It is designed to recognize individuals who possess the expertise to develop, implement, and manage quality systems in any industry.

To become an ASQ CQE, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as quality concepts, management principles, process improvement tools, product design and development, and statistical analysis. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

Applicants must have at least eight years of full-time work experience in quality engineering or a related field within the past 10 years prior to taking the exam. This experience must include at least three years of direct involvement with quality assurance activities.

The cost for the CQE certification is $349 for ASQ members or $449 for non-members. This fee includes the application fee as well as the cost of the exam itself.

7. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE)

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) is a professional certification that recognizes an individual's expertise in reliability engineering. This certification demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of reliability engineering and how to apply them to improve product quality, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.

In order to become certified as an ASQ CRE, applicants must have at least eight years of full-time work experience in reliability engineering or related fields. The work experience must include three years of leadership responsibility in reliability engineering activities such as design, development, maintenance, or management. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by ASQ.

The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions and takes four hours to complete. It covers topics such as reliability modeling and prediction; system availability; failure analysis techniques; maintainability analysis; warranty management; and design for reliability.

The cost for the certification exam is $450 for members of ASQ and $550 for non-members. After passing the exam, applicants will be awarded their CRE credential which is valid for three years before needing to be renewed.

8. American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE)

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in software quality engineering. The CSQE credential is designed to recognize professionals who have the expertise to develop, implement, and evaluate quality assurance programs for software development projects.

To become certified as a CSQE, candidates must pass an exam administered by ASQ. The exam covers topics such as software quality engineering principles, processes and systems, risk management, and metrics. Candidates must also have at least three years of relevant work experience in software quality engineering.

The exam takes approximately four hours to complete and consists of multiple-choice questions. It costs $450 to take the exam, though there may be additional fees associated with registering for the exam or taking it at a testing center.

Once a candidate has passed the exam, they will be awarded the CSQE credential. This credential is valid for three years from the date of issue and can be renewed by taking continuing education courses or retaking the exam.

9. International Organization for Standardization 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification is a certification program that verifies the knowledge and skills of auditors who are responsible for conducting audits of organizations’ quality management systems. This certification is based on the ISO 9001:2015 standard, which is an internationally recognized set of requirements for quality management systems.

To become certified as an ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor, you must first complete a two-part training program. The first part consists of classroom training, which typically takes four to five days to complete. During this time, you will learn about the principles and practices of auditing according to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. You will also gain an understanding of how to plan, conduct, report and follow up on audits.

The second part of the training consists of an examination that tests your knowledge and skills in auditing according to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. Once you have successfully completed both parts of the training program, you will be awarded your ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification.

The cost for completing the two-part training program and taking the examination varies depending on where you take it and what type of organization is providing it. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 USD to become certified as an ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor.

10. International Organization for Standardization 14001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification is a certification program that verifies an individual's knowledge and understanding of the ISO 14001 environmental management system. The certification is designed to help organizations identify qualified personnel who can audit their environmental management systems.

To obtain the ISO 14001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification, individuals must complete a training course and pass an exam. The training typically consists of lectures, group activities, case studies, and other learning methods. Most courses are conducted over several days or weeks, depending on the provider.

Individuals can obtain ISO 14001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification by taking a course from an accredited provider. There are many providers offering this type of training, so it’s important to research each one carefully to ensure you find one that meets your needs. Costs vary depending on the provider, but most courses range from $2,000 - $4,000 USD.

Once an individual has completed the training and passed the exam, they will be awarded with their ISO 14001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification. This certification is valid for three years and must be renewed every three years in order to remain valid.

11. Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers – Certified Professional in Healthcare Process Improvement

The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Certified Professional in Healthcare Process Improvement (CPHPI) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for successful healthcare process improvement. This certification is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the tools and resources needed to improve patient care, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiency.

To become certified, applicants must have a minimum of two years of experience in healthcare process improvement or related fields. In addition, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as Lean Six Sigma principles, project management, systems engineering methods and tools, quality measurement techniques, change management strategies, and data analysis. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete.

In order to obtain the CPHPI certification, applicants must submit an application form along with a fee of $350 USD. Once approved by IISE, they will be required to take the online exam within six months of submitting their application. After passing the exam with a score of 70% or higher, applicants will receive their official CPHPI certificate from IISE.

The CPHPI certification is valid for three years from the date it was issued; after this time period has passed, recertification will be required in order to maintain the credential. Recertification requires applicants to submit proof of continuing education credits earned within the past three years as well as updated professional references.

Do You Really Need a Quality Improvement Specialist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual. A Quality Improvement Specialist Certificate can be beneficial for those looking to advance their careers in quality improvement or management. It can also be helpful for those who are new to the field and need a better understanding of how to measure, analyze, and improve processes within an organization.

For those already working within the quality improvement field, earning a certificate may not be necessary as they likely already have the knowledge and experience needed to do their job effectively. However, having a certificate could help them stand out from other applicants in job searches and give them an edge when applying for positions that require specialized knowledge or skills related to quality improvement.

For those who are just starting out in the quality improvement field, obtaining a Quality Improvement Specialist Certificate may be beneficial as it provides a foundation of knowledge about process improvement and measurement techniques that will allow them to better understand how to improve organizational procedures. Additionally, having this certification could make them more attractive candidates when applying for jobs since employers often look for individuals with specific certifications related to their industry or specialization.

Overall, whether or not an individual needs a Quality Improvement Specialist Certificate is dependent on their current skillset and career goals. Those already working in the field may not need one while those entering it may benefit from having one under their belt.

Related: Quality Improvement Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Quality Improvement Specialist Certifications

Q1. What is a Quality Improvement Specialist Certification?

A1. A Quality Improvement Specialist Certification is an industry-recognized certification that demonstrates a professional's knowledge and expertise in the field of quality improvement. It is designed to help improve organizational performance by providing professionals with the tools to identify, analyze and implement quality improvement initiatives.

Q2. How do I become certified as a Quality Improvement Specialist?

A2. To become certified as a Quality Improvement Specialist, you must complete a program accredited by an organization such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ). This program typically includes courses in quality management, process improvement, and other related topics. You must also pass an exam to demonstrate your knowledge of quality improvement principles and practices.

Q3. What are the benefits of becoming a Quality Improvement Specialist?

A3. Becoming certified as a Quality Improvement Specialist can provide numerous benefits, including: increased job opportunities; improved credibility among employers; higher salaries; access to better training opportunities; and recognition from peers and colleagues in the field of quality improvement.

Q4. How long does it take to become certified as a Quality Improvement Specialist?

A4. The amount of time required to become certified depends on several factors, such as the type of program chosen and whether any prerequisites are required before enrolling in the program itself. Generally speaking, however, it should take around 6 months to 1 year to complete all requirements necessary for certification.

Q5. What are some common topics covered in Quality Improvement Specialist programs?

A5: Common topics covered in Quality Improvement Specialist programs include: problem solving techniques; process analysis; project management; statistical methods; root cause analysis; data collection and analysis; quality control systems; Six Sigma methodology; Lean methodology; ISO standards implementation; and customer service excellence principles.

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