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Certification is the formal attestation or confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or
audit An audit is an "independent examination of financial information of any entity, whether profit oriented or not, irrespective of its size or legal form when such an examination is conducted with a view to express an opinion thereon.” Auditing ...

audit
.
Accreditation Accreditation is a third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body (such as certification body, inspection body or laboratory) conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks (such ...

Accreditation
is a specific organization's process of certification. According to the U.S.
National Council on Measurement in Education The National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) is a U.S. based professional organization for assessment, evaluation, testing, and other aspects of educational measurement. NCME was launched in 1938 and previously operated under the name Nat ...
, a certification test is a credentialing test used to determine whether individuals are knowledgeable enough in a given occupational area to be labeled "competent to practice" in that area.


Types

One of the most common types of certification in modern society is
professional certification Professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation, often called simply ''certification'' or ''qualification'', is a designation earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task. Not all certifications ...
, where a person is certified as being able to competently complete a job or task, usually by the passing of an examination and/or the completion of a program of study. Some professional certifications also require that one obtain work experience in a related field before the certification can be awarded. Some professional certifications are valid for a lifetime upon completing all certification requirements. Others expire after a certain period of time and have to be maintained with further education and/or testing. Certifications can differ within a profession by the level or specific area of expertise to which they refer. For example, in the IT Industry there are different certifications available for
software tester Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality Quality may refer to: Concepts *Quality (business), the ''non-inferiority'' or ''superiority'' of something *Quality (philosophy), an attr ...
,
project manager A project manager is a professional in the field of project management Project management is the process of leading the work of a Project team, team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described ...

project manager
, and
developer
developer
. Also, the
Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology The International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO) is an American nonprofit professional association for Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP). Founded in 1969, the IJCAHPO provides certification Certifica ...
offers three certifications in the same profession, but with increasing complexity. Certification does not designate that a person has sufficient knowledge in a subject area, only that they passed the test. Certification does not refer to the state of legally being able to practice or work in a profession. That is
licensure Licensure means a restricted practice or a restriction on the use of an occupational title, requiring a license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. ...
. Usually, licensure is administered by a governmental entity for public protection purposes and a professional association administers certification. Licensure and certification are similar in that they both require the demonstration of a certain level of knowledge or ability. Another common type of certification in modern society is
product certification Product certification or product qualification is the process of certifying that a certain product has passed performance tests and quality assurance tests, and meets qualification criteria stipulated in contract A contract is a legally bindin ...
. This refers to processes intended to determine if a product meets minimum standards, similar to
quality assurance Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering products or services to customers; which ISO 9000 The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems A quality man ...

quality assurance
. Different certification systems exist in each country. For example, in Russia it is the GOST R
Rostest Rostest is the largest organization of practical metrology and certification on the territory of the Russian Federation Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Norther ...
. Other types include: *
Academic degree An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including Bach ...
s *
Cyber security certification Cybersecurity standards (also styled cyber security standards) are techniques generally set forth in published materials that attempt to protect the cyber environment of a user or organization. This environment includes users themselves, networks, ...
*
Digital signature A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of digital messages or documents. A valid digital signature, where the prerequisites are satisfied, gives a recipient very strong reason to believe that the message was ...

Digital signature
s in
public-key cryptography Public-key cryptography, or asymmetric cryptography, is a cryptographic system that uses pairs of keys KEYS (1440 AM broadcasting, AM) is a radio station serving the Corpus Christi, Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas area with a talk radio, talk ...
*
Digital certification In cryptography, a public key certificate, also known as a digital certificate or identity certificate, is an electronic document used to prove the ownership of a Key authentication, public key. The certificate includes information about the key, ...
*
Diving certification A Diving certification or C-card is a document (usually a wallet sized plastic card) recognizing that an individual or organization authorized to do so, "certifies" that the bearer has completed a course of training as required by the agency issui ...
*
Environmental certificationEnvironmental certification is a form of environmental regulation and Environmental Development, development where a company can voluntarily choose to comply with predefined processes or objectives set forth by the certification service.Nebel. G, Que ...
* Sustainability certification * Film certification, also known as the motion picture rating system *
Music recording sales certification Music recording certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped, sold, or streamed a certain number of units. The threshold quantity varies by type (such as album, single, music video) and by nation or territory (se ...
, such as "Gold" or "Platinum" *
Nursing credentials and certifications Nursing credentials and certifications are the various credential A credential is a piece of any document that details a qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant or ''de facto'' authority ...
*
Professional certification (computer technology) Professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation, often called simply ''certification'' or ''qualification'', is a designation earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task. Not all certifications ...
* A
type certificate A type certificate signifies the airworthiness Airworthiness is the measure of an aircraft's suitability for Air safety, safe flight. Certification of airworthiness is conferred by a certificate of airworthiness from the state of aircraft registry ...
is issued to signify the airworthiness of an aircraft manufacturing design


Third-party certification

In first-party certification, an individual or organization providing the good or service offers assurance that it meets certain claims. In second-party certification, an association to which the individual or organization belongs provides the assurance. Third-party certification involves an independent assessment declaring that specified requirements pertaining to a product, person, process, or management system have been met. In this respect, a Notified Body is a third-party, accredited body which is entitled by an accreditation body. Upon definition of standards and regulations, the accreditation body may allow a Notified body to provide third-party certification and testing services. All that ensures and assesses
compliance Compliance can mean: Healthcare * Compliance (medicine) In medicine, patient compliance (also adherence, capacitance) describes the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice. Most commonly, it refers to medication or drug compli ...
to the previously-defined codes but also to provide an official
certification mark A certification mark (or conformity mark) on a commercial product indicates the existence of an accepted product standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal ide ...
or a declaration of conformity.


In software testing

For
software testing #REDIRECT Software testing#REDIRECT Software testing Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the software product or service under test. Software testing can also provide an ob ...
, the certifications can be grouped into exam-based and education-based. For exam-based certifications the candidate must pass an exam, which can also be learned by self-study. For example, for International Software Testing Qualifications Board Certified Tester by the
International Software Testing Qualifications Board The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) is a software testing certification board that operates internationally. Founded in Edinburgh in November 2002, the ISTQB is a non-profit association legally registered in Belgium. IS ...
or Certified Software Tester by QAI or Certified Software Quality Engineer by
American Society for Quality The American Society for Quality (ASQ), formerly the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC), is a knowledge-based global community of quality professionals, with nearly 80,000 members dedicated to promoting and advancing quality tools, pri ...
. Education-based certifications are the instructor-led sessions, where each course has to be passed. The Certified Software Test Professional and the Certified Software Test Professional by International Institute for Software Testing are such examples. It is common for people who require certifications to undergo paid structured learning to help them achieve their goals.


References

{{Authority control Professional titles and certifications