The value of a professional certification lies not only in the knowledge and skills it validates but also in the credibility of the issuing institution. This credibility often comes from an accreditation process where a third-party body evaluates the certification program against industry-recognized standards. This article aims to provide an understanding of the certification and accreditation process.
The process starts when a certification organization applies for accreditation. The application often includes providing details about the organization, the certification program, and payment of the application fee.
After the application is accepted, the organization goes through a self-evaluation process. They review their programs against the accrediting body’s standards, which often include factors like fairness, validity, and reliability of the certification exam, governance of the certification body, and processes for ongoing recertification.
- Documentation Review
Once the self-evaluation is complete, the certification organization provides documentation to the accrediting body. This evidence demonstrates how the organization meets each standard. The accrediting body will thoroughly review these documents.
- On-Site Evaluation
In some cases, an on-site evaluation may be required. During this visit, the accrediting body further investigates the certification program, interviews the organization’s staff, and assesses the testing environment.
After the on-site evaluation, the accrediting body’s review committee will make a decision based on all the collected evidence. If the certification organization meets all the required standards, they will be granted accreditation.
- Continuous Improvement and Reaccreditation
Accreditation is not a one-time process. To maintain their status, certification organizations must continuously monitor and improve their programs. They also need to undergo the reaccreditation process every few years to ensure they still meet the accrediting body’s standards.
Certification and accreditation add significant value to a certification. It ensures that the certification program meets recognized industry standards, and it provides confidence to candidates and employers that the certification is a reliable validation of specific knowledge and skills. When choosing a certification to pursue, it is essential to consider whether the program is accredited and who the accrediting body is.
Remember, an accredited certification is likely to be widely recognized and respected, thereby making it a valuable investment in your professional development.