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New and improved ISO/IEC 17024 standard for personnel certification programmes

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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Personnel certification

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 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.

The updated 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.

“Most professionals now pursue certification as a means of demonstrating that they have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their work,” explains Dr. Cynthia Woodley, Chair of the team that developed the new standard. “Programmes 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 account of new requirements for personal certification programmes and security-related issues. New criteria for examinations were also added.

The new ISO/IEC 17024 standard addresses the structure and governance of the certifying body, the characteristics of the certification programme, 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 in order 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 ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication and Information department.