Accreditation or Certification?

What is the difference? And which term should we use?

JAS-AAS often gets enquiries about certifying or inspecting an organization, for service, product and person.

We accredit certification and inspection bodies to signal that they are competent and can be relied on to carry out their duties. We do not, however, certify or inspect ourselves. This is handled by certifiers and inspectors engaged to assess if their clients’ organizations, products or people conform to standards.

So even though the terms ‘accreditation’ and ‘certification’ may appear to be the same in everyday language they are different and each has a specific definition in the conformity assessment industry. It is important to be clear to understand that while JAS-AAS accredits, it does not certify.

HERE ARE THE ISO DEFINITIONS OF EACH TERM:

Accreditation

Accreditation entails the endorsement of a conformity assessment body’s competence, credibility, independence and integrity in carrying out its conformity assessment activities. This enhances the authority of conformity assessment bodies in conducting its conformity assessment activities in certification and inspection.

The ISO defines accreditation as a third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.

Certification

Certifications are sought from conformity assessment bodies to demonstrate the applicant‘s compliance with specified standards and defined by the ISO as a third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems or persons.

In essence, certifications are third-party endorsements of an organization’s systems or products, while accreditation is a third-party endorsement of the certification.

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