This article was first appeared in ISO Focus+ written by Roy Swift and Vijay Krishna. Dr. Vijay Krishna is Senior Manager of personnel certi­fication accredita­tion programmes at the American National Standards Institute or ANSI, while Dr. Roy Swift is Senior Director of personnel creden­tialing accreditation programmes at ANSI.

With workforces getting larger and more international, profes­sional certification is increasingly becoming a requirement for em­ployment. People are a country’s primary asset and key drivers for economic growth and development. At the same time, providing the necessary skills for growing workforces is increasingly a challenge.

Professional certification reassures employ­ers that applicants have the required knowl­edge, skills, and competencies for the job. ISO/IEC 17024:2012 Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons has become a bench­mark for quality certification programmes, enhancing the integrity, confidence, and mobility of certified professionals.

ISO/IEC 17024 constitutes a benchmark for quality personnel certification pro­grammes. Its major requirements target the:

  • organisational structure of the certi­fication body to ensure impartiality, independence, and integrity
  • development and maintenance of the certification scheme based on job/prac­tice analysis to evaluate the compe­tence of the candidates
  • evaluation and assessment that meet acceptable psychometric standards
  • recertification to ensure continued competency
  • management system for continuous quality improvement
  • outsourcing and monitoring perfor­mance of subcontractors
  • records, security, and use of certificates/logos.

With its focus on job/practice analysis, ISO/IEC 17024 aims to create the market-value credentials required for today’s often knowledge and technology-intensive jobs. Ultimately, compliance to ISO/IEC 17024 provides confidence that the certified person can do the job well.

ISO/IEC 17024 has been well received in many countries including the United States, and is applied by government agencies, trade associations, educational institutions, and employers. The Standard is particularly important in the healthcare, public safety, and national security sectors, where it is essential to ensure that certified individuals have the necessary skills, and that the certification process conforms to an international Standard.

The growing importance of ISO/IEC 17024 was evident since its existence, which focused on possible models for creating or implementing credentialing programmes, both within and outside agencies, that will foster a more robust and successful of workforce around the world.

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