What To Look For On a Certificate

People often ask if a certificate on which the ANAB accreditation symbol appears is valid. Because the certificate in question was issued by a certification body (CB) and not by ANAB, that question should be asked of the CB.

There are a number of things to check for to determine if a certificate is valid or not. ISO/IEC 17021-1 includes requirements on what is to be included on management systems certification documents. Here’s what to look for:

  • Name, address, and certification mark of the CB – as the issuer of the certificate, the CB (not ANAB) is who you need to contact to determine if it’s a valid certificate
  • Current standard with the version indicated – for example, ISO 9001:2015 is a valid standard but if a certificate says ISO 9001:2008, it’s not valid
  • Scope of certification (the product or service of the company to which the certificate was issued)
  • Name and geographic location of the company to which the certificate was issued
  • Date the certificate was issued and date of expiration
  • Unique identification number or code, which may include a CB abbreviation, for example

Other marks, such as the ANAB accreditation symbol if appropriate, may be included provided they are not misleading or ambiguous. A certificate may also include other information required by the standard and/or other normative document used for certification.

Validation of Certified Clients and Certificates

ISO/IEC 17021-1 also requires each CB to provide upon request information about geographical areas in which it operates; the status of a given certification; and the name, related normative document, scope, and geographical location (city and country) for a specific certified client. The CB also can make the information public by any means it chooses, such as on its website.

Accredited Certification Body

Why should you look for an accredited certification body? IAF has produced a brochure on the topic.

ANAB Accredited

People often ask if an organization is accredited by ANAB, and many of these inquiries are about educational institutions. ANAB accredits management systems CBs, inspection bodies and forensic inspection agencies, calibration and testing laboratories, forensic test laboratories, reference material producers, proficiency test providers, product certification bodies, greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies, personnel certification bodies, and certificate issuers.

ANAB does not accredit schools, colleges, or universities, so if such an institution claims to be ANAB-accredited, rest assured it is not. An educational institution could have a valid certificate for, say, ISO 9001, and if the CB that issued the certificate was accredited by ANAB, then the ANAB accreditation symbol would be on the certificate. Such a certificate would provide evidence that the institution has an ANAB-accredited certification, but the CB that issued the certificate is the appropriate party to confirm whether or not the certificate is valid.

When you use the ANAB Management Systems CB directory to search for an ANAB-accredited Management Systems CB, the results include contact information and a link to the CB’s ANAB accreditation certificate.

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