As part of its continuous process of quality improvement, NCCA initiated another review and update of the Standards beginning in May 2013. A Steering Committee and three Task Forces were established for this purpose. In addition to determining that the Standards retained their currency and relevance, another purpose was to add clarity and detail, particularly as change in the certification industry has created greater complexity.
As a result of their extensive efforts, several standards were added or expanded and require additional evidence to demonstrate compliance. These additions reflect practices, policies, and procedures that accredited programs should have had in place previously and therefore, are not intended to increase the difficulty of attaining accreditation. Rather, by adding clarity, NCCA anticipates that organizations will better understand expectations of certification program quality and the evidence needed to demonstrate compliance.
The Standards have been sent for approval by majority vote of the organizations with currently accredited programs. The voting period will conclude on November 26, 2014. If approved, the new Standards will go into effect with the application deadline of January 31, 2016. ICE will record an updated webinar by early 2015 to further clarify the intent of the new Standards and the evidence needed to demonstrate compliance. The online application will also be updated after August 31, 2015, which is the last deadline for 2015 and will still require compliance with the current Standards.
The Standards Preamble, Standards with Essential Elements and Commentary, and the Glossary of terms may be downloaded for your further review.
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) was created in 1987 by ICE to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of certification programs/organizations that assess professional competence. Certification programs that receive NCCA Accreditation demonstrate compliance with the NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, which were the first standards for professional certification programs developed by the industry.
The NCCA standards require demonstration of a valid and reliable process for development, implementation, maintenance, and governance of certification programs. NCCA uses a rigorous peer review process to establish accreditation standards; evaluate compliance with the standards; recognize organizations/programs which demonstrate compliance; and serve as a resource on quality certification.Certification organizations that submit their programs for accreditation are evaluated based on the process and products, and not the content; therefore, the Standards are applicable to all professions and industries. Program content validity is demonstrated with a comprehensive job analysis conducted and analyzed by experts, with data gathered from stakeholders in the occupation or industry.
The NCCA Standards are comprehensive and cover all aspects of the certification program(s), including administration, assessment development and recertification. NCCA standards are consistent with The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999) and are applicable to all professions and industries.
NCCA accredited programs certify individuals in a wide range of professions and occupations including nurses, automotive professionals, respiratory therapists, counselors, emergency technicians, crane operators and more. To date, NCCA has accredited approximately 300 programs from more than 120 organizations.
For specific information on becoming accredited, please use the links in the navigation at left.