Certification vs Accreditation: Difference and Comparison

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 used interchangeably.

Key Takeaways

  1. Certification is validating an individual’s knowledge and skills, while accreditation is evaluating an organization or institution’s quality and standards.
  2. The certification applies to individuals, whereas accreditation pertains to organizations, institutions, or programs.
  3. Professional organizations or certification bodies award certifications, while recognized accrediting agencies grant accreditation.

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 institution 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 vs Accreditation

Certification is a type of confirmation of a person, object or organisation depending upon certain characteristics.

It is not always necessary that an external review, education, assessment, or audit provide credentials. Professional certification is one of the most important and common types of certification in the modern era.

In which a person is provided credentials depending upon his/her ability to complete a task based on some 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 oversee the authoritative bodies.

Comparison Table

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.

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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. 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 a certain institution and individual has been certified so their quality of services and products will be good. There are various types of certification.

 The 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; some may expire after a certain period and must be maintained by giving some tests.

According to different professions, certification may vary in different fields.

Another type of certification is product certification, which tells us 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 accreditation process 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.

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Professionals who need and seek accreditation should be very careful and enquire about the accreditation bodies.

If a certification body is unaccredited, then its accreditation will not be recognised by national and international bodies.

Internationally, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) are two bodies that provide accreditation.

There are various accreditation bodies in different regions. Like in Europe, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service is the largest. The Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) is the largest in the Middle East.

Whereas in south Asia, the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and Quality Council of India (QCI) are the largest.

International standards for accreditation are 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 specific activities and not all activities.
  4. Certification involves endorsement by a third party. Accreditation involves the endorsement of an independent third party.
  5. The recipient of the Certification is mainly an individual. Recipients of accreditation include organizations, institutions, and programs.
Difference Between Certification and Accreditation
  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)

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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16 thoughts on “Certification vs Accreditation: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This is great content. The depth of explanation about certification and accreditation is commendable, and the article is undoubtedly a valuable resource.

  2. I find it fascinating that certification applies to individuals, whereas accreditation pertains to organizations, institutions, or programs. It’s a crucial distinction.

    • Indeed, it is essential to understand the differences between certification and accreditation for professional growth.

  3. The article successfully highlights the key takeaways and provides a comprehensive understanding of certification and accreditation.

  4. This is an outstanding article. The content is interesting and valuable for anyone interested in accreditation and certification.

  5. The content is intellectually stimulating and well-articulated. A must-read for anyone interested in certification and accreditation.

  6. This article is remarkably enlightening and well-researched thoroughly. It is an excellent read for professionals and learners alike.

  7. The content presents a thorough comparison table, and the explanation of certification and accreditation is extremely informative and valuable.


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