What's the Big Deal About Accreditation?

You may have heard that CompTIA certifications are accredited by the International Organization for Standardization and the American National Standards Institute (ISO/ANSI). While that sounds like a good thing, you may be wondering why. What does accreditation really mean, and why does it matter?

What's the Big Deal About AccreditationWhen it comes to education and professional development, accreditation is often viewed as a benchmark for quality and trustworthiness for continuous learning and certifications. Many CompTIA certifications are accredited by the International Organization for Standardization and the American National Standards Institute (ISO/ANSI). While that sounds like a valuable thing, you may be wondering why this is an important aspect of your continuing education.

Many individuals may not fully understand what accreditation really means – and why it matters. In this article, we’ll take a look at what ISO/ANSI accreditation is, why it should matter to you when you choose professional certifications and why employers value accreditation when it comes to continuing education and industry certifications.

What Exactly Is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a way of formally recognizing certifications that meet a set of quality standards set forth by a governing body. Accreditation for IT certification programs serves as a validation process that confirms a certification program adheres to recognized accredited industry standards and best practices.

The goal of ISO standards are to elevate product and process quality, protecting customers and stakeholders worldwide. In the case of certification bodies, the IS0 17024 standard provides quality and process requirements for evaluating certification programs, ensuring consistency, validity of outcomes and preventing impartiality, bias and unfair practices to occur in the context of measuring competence. This is done to ensure that those who pursue and achieve certification are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge that the industry requires.

Certifications that are accredited provide substantial value to recipients since they demonstrate that the recipient has undergone extensive education or training that meets or exceeds certain standards. Therefore, when we say that many CompTIA certifications are ISO accredited, this means that our certifications have met or exceeded the global benchmarks set forth by this this governing body. ISO is a worldwide organization that sets the standard for certifications, processes, products and more, and ANSI is the U.S. representative that services and audits against the ISO 17024 standard

Certification professionals from more than 20 countries helped ISO develop its standard, which covers things like:

  • How the organization operates
  • How it develops and maintains its certifications
  • How it assesses certification holders
  • How it documents and protects its certifications and certification holders’ information

Having ISO/ANSI accreditation means that a certification has undergone rigorous evaluation to make sure it can live up to this worldwide standard.  

Why Should You Care About Accreditation?

Individuals seeking IT certifications that choose an accredited program can have a significant impact on their career prospects. Accredited certifications are more likely to be recognized and respected by employers, educational institutions and peers within their respective industries. By holding an accredited certification, professionals can distinguish themselves from peers in their career field. This can lead to better job opportunities, higher salaries and professional growth.

When you work toward getting a certification, you put in a lot of time, energy and money to succeed at it. You may purchase study materials or take a class. You may take time away from your hobbies or family to study. When you invest that much, you want to make sure the end result is worthwhile.

Employers, and others within your industry, recognize accredited certifications as having value. You didn’t just take a test on a whim. You worked hard to earn that certification, so you want something to show for it.

Why Do Employers Value Accredited Certifications?

Employers and organizations  may place more trust in accredited certification programs as they may use such certifications to make decisions on employment (high-stakes decisions).. It is important that employers can rely on certification as part of the hiring criteria. Certification programs that do not meet the rigorous demands of ISO accreditation may not be the type of certifications that employers want to trust when hiring new staff.

“If a certification is accredited, it comes from a true certification program,” said Jim Lucari, senior manager, certification development, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). “The provider understands what it means to validate candidate skills rather than simply deliver training.”

Accredited certifications also require continuing education and renewal, which means to keep the certification current, certification holders keep working on their skills and building their knowledge. It’s not like a training program or even a degree, where you do the coursework, take a test and then you’re done. A certification illustrates ongoing professional development.

“I’m always looking at the practical skills and trying to determine whether or not candidates possess those skills – not only can they say something can happen, but can they do it?” Lucari said. “Base knowledge is not as important to me. What’s important is, can they perform the work?”

CompTIA’s Recognized Certification Accreditation From ANSI

CompTIA values ISO/ANSI accreditation because it helps us ensure that we are delivering high-quality certifications that meet the needs of the industry and protect consumer's interests. CompTIA also collaborates with peer certification organizations and stakeholders in government, academia and the private sector to make sure our certifications fit within identified career pathways.

This dedication to providing valuable and accredited vendor-neutral certifications has not gone unrecognized for CompTIA. In 2023, CompTIA was awarded the Stephen Crawford Workforce Development and Innovation medal at the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) annual Service & Leadership awards banquet in Washington, DC.

This honor was bestowed on the organization for key performances in the following:

  • Provides a credentialing solution to prepare workers/learners for skilled and professional jobs
  • Fosters partnerships and collaborations with government, industry and employers to develop the skilled workforce they need for business growth and competitiveness
  • Develops innovative practices to improve the credentialing program quality
  • Fosters innovation that builds economic value and addresses the skills gap in the United States

As you compare IT certifications, understand that those with ISO/ANSI accreditation and an award-winning organization like CompTIA, translate to a global seal of approval as high-quality credentials that validate your skills and expertise.

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