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Accreditation is a confirmation by a third-party that a conformity assessment body has formally demonstrated its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.
Accreditation is used to verify that the bodies listed below have appropriately trained and knowledgeable personnel, adequate equipment and facilities, adequate procedures and processes, and meet specified management system and other requirements so that they can competently carry out the conformity assessment tasks defined in their scope of accreditation. Any or all of the following entities can become accredited by an Accreditation body:
- Testing laboratories
- Calibration laboratories
- Management system registration bodies
- Inspection bodies
- Certification bodies
- Proficiency testing providers
- Reference material producers
The terms "accreditation" and "certification" are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably - they are not synonymous.
Certification is used to verify that products, processes, services and systems meet specified requirements and may be used to verify that personnel have adequate knowledge and skills to carry out specified activities.