Accreditation vs. Certification

Accreditation uses criteria and procedures specifically developed to determine technical competence. Specialist technical assessors conduct a thorough evaluation of all factors in a laboratory that affect the production of test or calibration data. The criteria are based on the international standards called ISO/IEC 17025 or ISO 15189, which are used for evaluating laboratories throughout the world. Laboratory accreditation bodies use ISO/IEC 17025 to specifically assess factors relevant to the laboratory’s technical competence, including the:

 

  • technical competence of staff 

  • validity and appropriateness of test methods 

  • traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards 

  • suitability, calibration and maintenance of test equipment 

  • testing environment 

  • sampling, handling and transportation of test items 

  • quality assurance of test and calibration data

 

By this process, accreditation aims at assuring you and your customers that your laboratory’s test or calibration data are accurate and reliable.

 

The ISO 9001 standard is widely used in manufacturing and service organisations to evaluate their system for managing the quality of their product or service. Certification of an organisation’s quality management system against ISO 9001 aims at confirming the compliance of the management system to this standard. Whilst laboratories may be certified to ISO 9001, such certification does not make any statement about the technical competence of a laboratory.