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Development of Personnel Certification
Conformity assessment includes activities used to ensure products, processes, services, persons, systems and bodies meet specified requirements. These activities can include testing, inspection, evaluation, examination, auditing, assessment, declaration, certification, accreditation, peer assessment, verification and validation.
CASCO is the ISO committee that develops standards for conformity assessment bodies. ISO and IEC have published ISO/IEC 17024, Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons. ISO/IEC 17024 contains requirements a certification body needs to comply with to demonstrate it is competent to certify persons for a specific scope.
Personnel certification has become an important element of verifying the competence of an increasingly mobile and global workforce, underscoring the value of industry-recognized credentials that can be carried across national borders. In response to this growing need, a new and improved ISO/IEC International Standard aims to harmonize the various procedures used around the world for certifying the competence of personnel in different occupations or professions.
ISO 17024 - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons
ISO/IEC 17024:2012, Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons, provides a global benchmark for personnel certification programmes to ensure that they operate in a consistent, comparable and reliable manner worldwide, thereby allowing individuals to have skills that translate across national lines.
The breadth and scope of certification programmes in existence today is tremendous: programs exist for financial planners, public accountants, safety professionals, non-destructive testing experts, supply and purchasing management professionals, the construction industry, health care professionals and hundreds more.
ISO/IEC 17024:2012 standard will help organizations that certify individuals in a variety of occupations and professions protect the integrity and ensure the validity of individual certification programmes. It will also promote consumer and public confidence in the capabilities and competence of the people who provide specialized services or who create the products that support our daily lives and livelihoods.
Personnel Certification Bodies
A Personnel Certification Body (accredited according to requirements of ISO 17024) is an organization that awards credentials to individuals meeting specific competence requirements relating to a profession, an occupation, a job or a portion of a job. A personnel certification body develops criteria against which an individual needs to demonstrate competencies and ensures that these criteria are held by applicants before certifying them. Most personnel certification bodies offer professional certification if an individual meets requirements such as a minimum number of years of related working experience, minimum education level and having passed a certification exam or equivalent.
Personnel certification empowers practitioners with the real-world qualifications necessary to perform their work safely and effectively, based on an industry accepted and standardized set of skills and built up on needs of companies and consumers in a trustworthy manner.
The individual and business benefits of certification include provable demonstration of particular knowledge and skills, professional recognition, and improved credibility and marketability.
Confidence in the respective certification schemes for persons is achieved by means of a globally accepted process of assessment, and periodic re-assessments, of the competence of certified persons.
Only the harmonization of the system for developing and maintaining certification schemes for persons can establish the environment for mutual recognition and the global exchange of personnel.