Certification… Certificate… Accreditation
These three terms might seem similar, but mean very different things. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, which is the association of certification associations and therefore the leader in the field, defines the first two thusly. Accreditation is something that is applied to a Certificate or Certification. Note that a Certificate is based on instruction/training that your organization might provide. To be a Certification, your test cannot require candidates to take your training if you want to gain accreditation.
(a) provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies associated with intended learning outcomes;
(b) evaluates participants’ achievement of the intended learning outcomes; and
(c) awards a certificate only to those participants who meet the performance, proficiency or passing standard for the assessment(s).
Nathan Thompson, PhD
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