Difference Between Certification and Accreditation (With Table)

There are certain rules and regulations and various recognizable standards in the world that need to be followed. Certification and Accreditation are the two important things where different types of products are provided. So almost all of the organizations and individual people try to get accreditation or certification of some kind to need a valuation. They are often used interchangeably.

Certification vs Accreditation

The difference between certification and accreditation is that certification is a process where individuals are demonstrated according to his/her specific fields. Accreditation is a process where an organization or institutions are evaluated according to prescribed standards and norms. Certification is done for an individual, while accreditation is done for an organization as a whole.

Certification is a type of confirmation of a person, object or organisation depending upon certain characteristics. It is not always necessary that credentials are provided by an external review, education, assessment, or audit. One of the most important and common types of certification in the modern era is professional certification. In which a person is provided credential depending upon his/her ability to complete a task based on some kind of examination or completion of a program.

Accreditation is also another type of credential assessment, but it is done independently by an organization that is a third party. Their goal is to check the products or services against the recognised standard. Accreditation involves steps like testing, certification and inspection. Various types of accreditation bodies are set up in various economies that check the conformity assessment bodies and oversees the authoritative bodies.

Comparison Table Between Certification and Accreditation

Parameters of Comparison CertificationAccreditation
BodyAssociation/AgencyAccreditation body
TypesDiving certification, Cyber security certification, Academic degrees, Digital certification, Digital signatures in public-key cryptography etc.An accredited investor, Educational accreditation, Diplomatic accreditation, Accredited in Public Relations, Accredited registrar etc.
Base activitiesRelated to all the activitiesRelated to specific activities.
EndorsementBy the third partyBy an independent third party.
RecipientIndividualOrganization, Institution, Program.

What is Certification?

Certification is a process where a third party gives a conformity assessment either about an individual or an institution. Certification is mainly done for a product or service. A certification body is an independent body that gives certification depending upon the activities done by an individual or an organization within the company. A certificate is provided in which various aspects are assessed like a person, product, service or system and depending upon that if they meet the requirements, then they are provided with the certification.

There are certain benefits when an individual or institution gets a certification like it gives a competitive factor to them, it provides confirmation independently about their competence level, and it provides consumers and other stakeholders with added confidence that certain institution and individual has been certified so their quality of services and products will be good. There are various types of certification.

 Most common among them is a professional certification that needs to acquire work experience in a certain field which can be awarded. This professional certification is valid for a lifetime, or some may expire after a certain period and have to be maintained by giving some kind of test. According to different professions, certification may vary in different fields. Another type of certification is product certification, and it tells us that whether a particular product meets the minimum standards and gives quality assurance.

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a formal recognition by an independent third party, also called the Accreditation body. An organisation or body is accredited if they have met the ISO requirements. Almost all major companies and institutions follow international standards and operate accordingly. The process of getting an accreditation follows the certification obtained from the certified body. If personal accreditation is to be done, then all the requirements of the accreditation need to be fulfilled as developed by a certification body.

One needs to be aware of the unaccredited certification body because such bodies are always ready to provide accreditation. Professionals who need and seek accreditation should be very careful and enquire about the accreditation bodies. If a certification body is unaccredited, then their accreditation will not be recognised in national and international bodies. Internationally, two bodies that provide accreditation are The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

There are various accreditation bodies in different regions. Like in Europe, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service is the largest. In the Middle East, The Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) is the largest. Whereas in south Asia, the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), Quality Council of India (QCI) are the largest. International standards for accreditation are generally issued by ISO or International Organization for Standardization.

Main Differences Between Certification and Accreditation

  1. The body involved in the process of Certification is the Certification body. The body involved in the process of Accreditation is the Accreditation body.
  2. Types of the certification include Diving certification, Cyber security certification, Academic degrees, Digital certification, Digital signatures in public-key cryptography etc. Types of accreditation include Accredited investor, Educational accreditation, Diplomatic accreditation, Accredited in Public Relations, Accredited registrar etc.
  3. Certification is related to all the activities within a particular company or industry. Accreditation relates to the specific activities and not all the activities.
  4. Certification involves the endorsement by a third party. Accreditation involves the endorsement of an independent third party.
  5. The recipient of Certification is mainly an individual. Recipients of accreditation include organizations, institutions, programs.

Conclusion

Certification and accreditation are often confused. But these two are completely different terms. They are used synonymously, and their value cannot be ignored. Because both of these set some basic standards of products and services offered aginst. The recipients of both of these involve a person and an organisation. Certification gives a competitive edge to the industries and helps them to increase the potential of an individual. While accreditation provides compliance to the regulatory body for the organization. It assures them, and there is no constant need for assessment and supervision. Accreditation is a whole process that includes certification as well.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=x_Rnb9uIiQQC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=certification+and+Accreditation&ots=LQ-EQMr0HT&sig=sQJSjZujH0O4sTEsDGrH87FquyU
  2. https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)1052-3928(2007)133:3(181)
x
2D vs 3D