Accreditation = Confirmation and recognition of technical competence
Definition under “Accreditation” means the procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a conformity assessment body in accordance to the standards and technical regulations, is competent to carry out specific tasks as testing, calibration, certification, and inspection.
Certification = Confirmation that prescribed requirements are fulfilled.
Definition under “Certification” means the action of independent third party, which verifies that product, process or service in question fulfills all the specified requirements of relevant standards, technical regulations or other normative acts in force.
The difference between the two seemingly similar definitions lies in the fact that in the first case, the formal recognition of competence is based on proven technical knowledges and therefore requires the consultation of a technical expert for the scope to be accredited, while the second case primarily involves ensuring conformity with a given norm, e.g. a management system or a product.
Accreditation therefore relates to specific technical tasks such as those of a testing or calibration laboratory, or of a certification or inspection body, for which specific norms set out the required degree of competence.