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Improved ISO/IEC 17024 Standard for Personnel Certification Programs

Second edition increases potential for national and international reciprocity of certified individuals

Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 11:24

(ISO: Geneva) -- 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/IEC 17024:2012—“Conformity assessment—General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons,” provides a global benchmark for personnel certification programs to ensure that they operate in a consistent, comparable, and reliable manner worldwide, thereby allowing individuals’ skills to translate across national lines.

The breadth and scope of certification programs in existence today are tremendous: Programs exist for financial planners, public accountants, safety professionals, nondestructive testing experts, supply and purchasing management professionals, the construction industry, health care professionals, and hundreds more.

The updated ISO/IEC 17024 standard, which was first published in 2003, will help organizations that certify individuals in a variety of occupations and professions protect the integrity and ensure the validity of individual certification programs. 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.

“Most professionals now pursue certification as a means of demonstrating that they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform their work,” says Cynthia Woodley, chair of the team that developed the new standard. “Programs accredited under ISO/IEC 17024 will increase the potential for national and international reciprocity of certified individuals and personnel certification bodies.”

In this second edition, the framework outlined in ISO/IEC 17024 has been reviewed and updated to take into account new requirements for personnel certification programs and security-related issues. New criteria for examinations were also added.

The updated standard addresses the structure and governance of the certifying body, the characteristics of the certification program, the information required to be available to applicants, and the recertification initiatives of the certifying body. It is designed to help organizations conduct well-planned and structured evaluations to ensure impartiality of operations and reduce any conflict of interest.

ISO/IEC 17024:2012—“Conformity assessment—General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons,” was developed by the ISO Committee on Conformity Assessment (ISO/CASCO), Working Group (WG) 30—“Certification of persons.” It costs 108 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from the ISO Store.

 

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.