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A Personnel Certification Body 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 applicants hold these criteria 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.
Many personnel certification bodies are accredited by accrediting bodies to the ISO/IEC 17024 standard, which was designed to harmonize the personnel certification process worldwide. Most are not. Accreditation means having gone through a validation process or assessment from a national accreditation body such as the American National Standards Institute ANSI, German Accreditation Body DAkkS, International Accreditation Service IAS, or the United Kingdom Accreditation Service UKAS (UK)).
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.
It is important to identify typical activities associated with competence of personnel and the effectiveness of actions taken to satisfy the competence needs, to give guidance to auditors regarding the types of evidence they should aim to find and provide examples where appropriate.
To satisfy the requirements of ISO 9001:2000, an organization will typically need to do several things:
- Identify what competencies are required by personnel performing work which affects quality
- Identify which personnel already performing the work have the required competencies
- Decide what additional competencies are required
- Decide how these additional competencies are to be obtained – training of personnel (external or internal), theoretical or practical training, hiring of new competent personnel, assignment of existing competent personnel to different work
- Train, hire or reassign personnel
- Review the effectiveness of actions taken to satisfy competence needs
- Periodically review competence of personnel