ISO Transition, Migration, Conversion & Extension Explained

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With less than 12 months to the ending of ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 Certification, many will be seeking training in the revised Standards for themselves and their colleagues.  

Selecting the appropriate ISO Auditor Training Course can be difficult with confusing and, apparently random choices in course titles.

People who have been browsing around for ISO auditor courses are probably already familiar with Internal Auditor and Lead Auditor courses. However, the number of people who are familiar with ISO transition courses, migration courses, conversion courses, and extension courses are probably not as many.

Transition vs Migration vs Conversion vs Extension Courses

While there is no 'official' set of definitions, the table below gives the most frequently used definitions for these terms as they have appeared over the past 20+years.  And there is a clear distinction between, for example, an ISO 9001:2015 Transition Course and an ISO 9001:2015 Conversion Course.  But are you sure of what that distinction is? Let's see ...

ISO Transition Courses

What are ISO transition courses?

Transition Courses provide guidance and recommendations for the required modification for an existing management system that is compliant and certified to a current standard (say, ISO9001:2008). This is so it will comply with a new or revised standard (say ISO 9001:2015)  Typical duration: 18 hours/3 days.

Who should take transition courses?
The person who will lead the Transition Project and who will require detailed step-by-step information and in-depth practical knowledge of the new/revised Standards requirements.

What are the prerequisites to taking transition courses?
To facilitate a more comprehensive learning experience, a knowledge of the current Standard to Lead Auditor or Lead Implementer level is needed.

Transition Training for revised ISO Management System Standards

ISO Migration Courses (a.k.a. Transition Training)

What are migration courses?

Again a Course addressing the transition from a management system compliant with a current Standard to a new or revised one.  These courses tend to be less specific than Transition Courses.

Typical duration of Migration Courses: 6 hours/1 day.

Who should take migration courses?

A Quality Manager or other person responsible for maintaining a management system and who needs sufficient knowledge to oversee the work of a consultant providing the expertise for the transition.

What are the prerequisites to taking migration courses?

To move through the training with ease, a knowledge of the current Standard to Internal Auditor level is needed, at least.

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ISO Conversion Courses

What are conversion courses?

With the introduction of many revised and new ISO Management System Standards  certified ISO Auditors find that their Certification is out of date.  Conversion Courses bring the Auditors knowledge of the new/revised Standard up-to-date and providing Auditor Certification to the new/revised Standard.  

Typical Duration of Conversion Courses: 10 hours/1-2 days at Internal Auditor level and 20 hours/3 days at Lead Auditor Level.

Who should take conversion courses?

Auditors trained and certified to a current Standard who need to update their knowledge and certification to the new/revised Standard (e.g. you have an ISO 9001:2008 Internal Auditor certification and you want to become an ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor)

What are the prerequisites to taking conversion courses?

raining and certification as an Internal or Lead Auditor in the Standard being updated.

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ISO Extension Courses

What are extension courses?

Many auditors would like to add to the certification they’ve already got.  But with conventional training the only extension of scope options are full 2 day or 5 day courses.  And who can justify that time and expense?  Extension are an effective and time-friendly alternative.  

Typical duration of ISO Extension Courses: 10 hours/1 day at Internal Auditor level and 20 hours/3 days at Lead Auditor level.

Who should take extension courses?

Those wishing to add other ISO Standards to their existing ISO Auditor Certification (e.g. you have ISO 14001 Lead Auditor Certification and you want to add ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification)

What are the prerequisites to taking extension courses? 

Training and certification as an Internal or Lead Auditor in a Standard other than the one being updated.

ISO Auditor Extension Courses


Hopefully, that clarified the Course Titles for you.  If you still have a question, why don't you contact me with your query using the 'Messages' button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen?

Alternatively, we have an ISO 14001 FAQ post where you can see answers to frequently asked questions about the standard and the training and certification associated with it.

We also have an explainer video differentiating the different ISO 14001:2015 Courses to help you decide.

Note: Initially published in September 2017; updated February 2021.

Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director & Founder of deGRANDSON Global. Spent 15 years in the manufacturing industry and 25 years training, consulting & auditing management systems

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