Accreditation is the official approval of an institution. The organization gets accredited - Qualified testing agencies and institutions are accredited. Accreditation entities do not actually certify anyone, the term "certification" refers to certification granted to an individual by an accredited agency.
Certification is the verification that a candidate has successfully completed an evaluation of his/her knowledge, skills and abilities against a consensus standard by an accredited certification system/agency.
The Individual Fire Fighter gets CERTIFIED. Qualified people gain certification.
Accreditation is the stamp of approval from a third party (IFSAC or Pro Board) review of an agency’s certification system. The review includes all aspects of certification testing including; completeness, fairness, security, validity and correlation to the national standards. Agencies such as state/provincial certification agencies, educational institutions, governmental entities, and national organizations are accredited.
Certification is the verification that a candidate has successfully completed an evaluation of his/her knowledge, skills and abilities against the national standard. Individuals that successfully pass a certification exam are certified.
Candidates that are certified by an accredited agency have the value added of the assurance that the test they took accurately measured them against the standard.
Reciprocity is the recognition of an individual’s previous accredited certification to a standard by an accredited agency that did not issue the certification. Reciprocity is granted to those individuals who have been certified at an occupational level by an IFSAC or Pro Board accredited entity.
Equivalency is the awarding of program credit to those individuals who have received training at an occupational level to a national standard by an entity not accredited by IFSAC or Pro Board. This program credit allows the individuals to meet prerequisites to challenge the certification examination for the appropriate level or continue to the next level within the certification program.
Accredited entities, such as the NSFSPQB, are required to have the ability to test the entire NFPA Professional Qualification Standard for the subject area. For written and practical skills, the Academy will use the same testing elements for IFSAC and Pro Board. ProBoard and IFSAC do not require separate testing.