Professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation, often called simply certification or qualification, is a designation earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task. Not all certifications that use post-nominal letters are an acknowledgement of educational achievement, or an agency appointed to safeguard the public interest.
Certifications are earned from a professional society or from an IT vendor (e.g., Microsoft, Cisco, etc.). In general, must be renewed periodically, or may be valid for a specific period of time (e.g., the lifetime of the product upon which the individual is certified). As a part of a complete renewal of an individual's certification, it is common for the individual to show evidence of continued learning — often termed continuing education — or earning continuing education units (CEU).
- Most certification programs are created, sponsored, or affiliated with professional associations, trade organizations, or IT vendors interested in raising standards. Even those programs completely independent from membership organizations enjoy association support and endorsement.
- The growth of certification programs is also a reaction to the changing employment market. Certifications are portable, since they do not depend on one company's definition of a certain job. Certification stands about the resume and the professional reference by being an impartial, third-party endorsement of an individual's professional knowledge and experience. Certification provides an impartial, third-party endorsement of an individual's professional knowledge and experience.
It is important to note that certifications are usually earned from a professional society or educational institute, not the government. If a demonstration of ability or knowledge is required by law before being allowed to perform a task or job, this is referred to as licensure. In the United States, professional licenses are usually issued by state agencies. The certification assessment process, for some organizations, is very similar or even the same as licensure and may differ only in terms of legal status, while in other organizations, can be quite different and more comprehensive than that of licensure. certification and licensure differ only in terms of legal status.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Standard 1100, defines the requirements of meeting the ANSI standard for being a certifying organization. According to ANSI Standard 1100, a professional certifying organization must meet two requirements:
- Deliver an assessment based on industry knowledge, independent from training courses or course providers.
- Grant a time-limited credential to anyone who meets the assessment standards.
Certifications are very common in aviation, construction, technology, environment, and other industrial sectors, as well as health care, business, Real estate broker and finance. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration regulates aviator certifications.
The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) is a U.S.-based organization that sets rigorous standards for accreditation of certification programs based on the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (APA, AERA, NCME). Many members of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) are also certification organizations.
Types of certifications 
There are three general types of certification. Listed in order of development level and portability, they are: corporate (internal), product-specific, and profession-wide.
Corporate, or "internal" certifications, are made by a corporation or low-stakes organization for internal purposes. For example, a corporation might require a one-day training course for all sales personnel, after which they receive a certificate. While this certificate has limited portability – to other corporations, for example – it is the most simple to develop.
Product-specific certifications are more involved, and are intended to be referenced to a product across all applications. This approach is very prevalent in the information technology (IT) industry, where personnel are certified on a version of software or hardware. This type of certification is portable across locations (for example, different corporations that use that software), but not across other products.
The most general type of certification is profession-wide. Certification in the medical profession is often offered by particular specialties. In order to apply professional standards, increase the level of practice, and possibly protect the public (though this is also the domain of licensure), a professional organization might establish a certification. This is intended to be portable to all places a certified professional might work. Of course, this generalization increases the cost of such a program; the process to establish a legally defensible assessment of an entire profession is very extensive. An example of this is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which would not be certified for just one corporation or one piece of accountancy software but for general work in the profession.
Areas of certification 
Accountancy, Auditing and Finance 
There are many professional bodies for accountants and auditors throughout the world; some of them are legally recognized in their jurisdictions. Public Accountants are the accountancy and control experts that are legally certified in different jurisdictions to work in public practices, certifying accounts as statutory auditors, eventually selling advice and services to other individuals and businesses. Today, however, many work within private corporations, financial industry, and government bodies.
- Accounting and external auditing
- ACA, FCA or CA (Chartered Accountant) conferred by Institutes of Chartered Accountants in various territories, namely the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
- ACMA or FCMA (Associate or Fellow Chartered Management Accountant) conferred by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK)
- Associate or Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA or FCCA) conferred by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK)
- AAIA or FAIA (Associate or Fellow International Accountant) conferred by Association of International Accountants
- AMII or AMII (American International Institute USA) independent professional society Certification Organization
- CPA (Certified Public Accountant) conferred by State Accountancy Boards in the USA, Hong-Kong, Australia...
- PFA (Professional Financial Accountant) from came center and Cairo University
- CMA (Certified Management Accountant) conferred by Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA in Australia), Institute of Management Accountants (IMA in US)
- CCC (Chartered Cost Controllers) issued and conferred by the American Academy of Financial Management USA Certifying Board (AAFM)
- MIPA or FIPA (Member or Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants who use the designation "Public Accountant") conferred by the Institute of Public Accountants (Australia)
- CPTP (Certified Professional Tax Preparer) conferred by Board of Certified Professional Tax Preparers (CPTP), US
- Internal auditing and fraud combat
- CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CCSA, CGAP, QAR[disambiguation needed] conferred by the worldwide recognised Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) headquartered in Altamonte Springs Florida with chapters in many countries
- CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) conferred by the worldwide recognised Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) headquartered in Texas with chapters in many countries
- CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) awarded by the worldwide recognised Information Systems Audit and Control Association headquartered in the USA with chapters in many countries
- CFAP (Certified Forensic Accounting Professional) awarded by the [Indiaforensic Center of Studies] headquartered in India with chapters in many countries
- AVA (Acceredited Valuation Analyst) conferred by the The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) - AVA mergered CVA(Certified Valuation Analyst)
- ASA (Acceredited Senior Appraiser) conferred by the American Society of Appraisers
- CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst) conferred by the CAIA Association
- CBA (Certified Business Appraiser) conferred by the IBA[disambiguation needed]
- CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) conferred by CFA Institute (CFAI)
- CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst) conferred by the The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) and The International Association of Consultants, Valuators and Analysts (IACVA)
- CIIA (Certified International Investment Analyst) conferred by the Association of Certified International Investment Analysts (ACIIA)
- FRM (Financial Risk Manager) conferred by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)
- CMU (Certified Mortgage Underwriter) conferred by National Association of Mortgage Underwriters® (NAMU®)
- PRM (Professional Risk Manager) conferred by the Professional Risk Managers' International Associate (PRMIA)
- CFP (Certified Financial Planner) conferred by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and Financial Planning Standards Board
- CWM (Chartered Wealth Manager), CAM (Chartered Asset Manager), CTEP (Chartered Trust and Estate Planner) and CPM (Chartered Portfolio Manager), issued, founded and conferred by the USA Board of Standards American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM)
- CCP (Certified Credit Professional) issued to credit management professionals in Canada by the Credit Institute of Canada
- EA (Enrolled Agent) by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- CCMT (Certified California Municipal Treasurer) conferred by California Municipal Treasurers Association (CMTA)
- CGAP (Certified Government Auditing Professional) conferred by the Institute of Internal Auditors, based on the US Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book) and additionally on COSO, IIA standards and INTOSAI ISSAI standards recognized worldwide in public finance
- CDFM (Certified Defense Financial Manager) conferred by American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC)
- CGFM (Certified Government Financial Manager) conferred by Association of Government Accountants (AGA)
- CGFO (Certified Government Finance Officer) conferred by Government Finance Officers Association of Texas (GFOAT)
- CMA (Certified Management Accountant) conferred by Institute of Management Accountants
- CPFO (Certified Public Finance Officer) conferred by Government Finance Officers Association
- CPFA (Certified Public Finance Administrator) conferred by Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada (APTUSC)
- AIA (Member, American Institute of Architects) conferred by American Institute of Architects
- FAIA (Fellow, American Institute of Architects) conferred by American Institute of Architects
Aviators (Aviation Pilots) are certified through theoretical and in-flight examinations. Requirements for certifications are quite equal in most countries and are regulated by each National Aviation Authority. The existing certificates or pilot licenses are:
- PPL (Private Pilot License) conferred by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities)
- CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence) conferred by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities)
- ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) conferred by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities)
Licensing in these categories require not only examinations but also a minimum of flight hours. All categories are available for Fixed-Wing Aircraft (airplanes) and Rotatory-Wing Aircraft (helicopters). Within each category, aviators may also obtain certifications in:
- Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)
- Multi-engine aircraft
- Turbojet Engines
- Jet Engines
- Experimental aircraft
- Amphibious aircraft
Usually, aviators must be certified also in their log books for the type and model of aircraft they are allowed to fly. Currency checks as well as regular medical check-ups with a frequency of 6 months, 12 months, or 36 months, depending on the type of flying permitted, are obligatory. An aviator can fly only if holding:
- A valid pilot license
- A valid medical certificate
- Valid certifications for the type of aircraft and type of flight.
- The Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) designation is a professional certification for business analysis practitioners who want to be recognized for their expertise and skills by earning formal recognition.
- AMII The American International Institute, USA. Business Certification in various Business fields (www.amii.us) designation and professional certification in various business disciplines for practitioners who want to be recognized for their expertise and skills by earning formal recognition.
- APMP - The Association of Proposal Management Professionals provides three levels of certification: AM.APMP (Accredited Member), APM (Accredited Practitioner Member), and PPM (Proposal Professional Member)1. APMP's certification program uses a combination of competency-based assessment, experience, and verification. Individuals participate in continuing professional development, earning Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits, to maintain accreditation
Computer technology 
Elections and Voter Registration 
- Elections and Voter Registration Administrator
- CERA or C.E.R.A. (Certified Elections/Registration Administrator), the highest level of certification available for election administrators, conferred by the Election Center, the National Association of Election Administrators. Instruction and university credit for required coursework is provided by Auburn University.
- Institute of Professional Environmental Practice – Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP)
- Academy of Board Qualified Environmental Professionals - Certified Environmental Professional (CEP)
- CEnvP – Certified Environmental Practitioner of Australia and New Zealand (CEnvP)
- International Society of Arboriculture - internationally recognized body providing ANSI-Accredited certifications for arborists. Certified Arborist, Master Arborist
Economic development 
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), based in Washington, D.C., recognizes economic developers around the world who have achieved a level of excellence in their understanding of the tools and programs of economic development. In order to become a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), one must sit through the exam and fulfill a number of requirements.
Other professional certifications include certifications such as medical licenses, Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, nursing board certification, diplomas in social work. The Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy certifies pharmacists that are knowledgeable about principles of geriatric pharmacotherapy and the provision of pharmaceutical care to the elderly. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies administers a voluntary accreditation program for law enforcement agencies.
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
- Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians
- Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons
- Membership of the College of Emergency Medicine
- Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology
- American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Hospitality & Tourism 
- CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator) conferred by American Hotel & Lodging Association
- CHE (Certified Hotel Educator) conferred by American Hotel & Lodging Association
- CHRM (Certified Hotel Revenue Manager) conferred by American Hotel & Lodging Association
- CRME (Certified Revenue Management Executive) conferred by Hospitality Sales & Marketing International
- CHDM (Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer) conferred by Hospitality Sales & Marketing International
- CHSE (Certified Hospitality Sales Executive) conferred by Hospitality Sales & Marketing International
- CHSC (Certified in Hospitality Sales Competencies) conferred by Hospitality Sales & Marketing International
- CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) conferred by Convention Industry Council
Insurance & Risk Management 
In the United States, insurance professionals are licensed separately by each state. Many individuals seek one or more certifications to distinguish themselves from their peers. The most recognizable certifications are issued by four organizations:
American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (AICPCU)
- Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
- Associate in Risk Management (ARM)
- Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU)
- Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI)
American College of Financial Services
National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Certified Risk Manager (CRM)
- Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)
National Registry of Workers' Compensation Specialists
Language education 
TESOL is a large field of employment with widely varying degrees of regulation. Most provision worldwide is through the state school system of each individual country, and as such, the instructors tend to be trained primary- or secondary school teachers who are native speakers of the language of their pupils, and not of English. Though native speakers of English have been working in non-English speaking countries in this capacity for years, it was not until the last twenty-five years or so that there was any widespread focus on training particularly for this field. Previously, workers in this sort of job were anyone from backpackers hoping to earn some extra travel money to well-educated professionals in other fields doing volunteer work, or retired people. These sort of people are certainly still to be found, but there are many who consider TESOL their main profession.
One of the problems facing these full-time teachers is the absence of international governing body for the certification or licenture of English language teachers. However, Cambridge University and its subsidiary body UCLES are pioneers in trying to get some degree of accountability and quality control to consumers of English courses, through their CELTA and DELTA programs. Trinity College, London has equivalent programs, the CertTESOL and the LTCL DipTESOL. They offer initial certificates in teaching, in which candidates are trained in language awareness and classroom techniques, and given a chance to practice teaching, after which feedback is reported. Both institutions have as a follow-up a professional diploma, usually taken after a year or two in the field. Although the initial certificate is available to anyone with a high school education, the diploma is meant to be a post-graduate qualification and in fact can be incorporated into a Master's degree program.
Legal affairs 
An increasing number of lawyers are choosing to be recognized as having special knowledge and experience by becoming certified specialists in certain fields of law. According to the American Bar Association, a lawyer that is a certified specialist has been recognized by an independent professional certifying organization as having an enhanced level of skill and expertise, as well as substantial involvement in an established legal specialty. These organizations require a lawyer to demonstrate special training, experience and knowledge to ensure that the lawyer's recognition as a certified specialist is meaningful and reliable. Lawyer conduct with regard to specialty certification is regulated by the states.
NBLSC is an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited organization providing Board Certification for US Lawyers. Board Certification is a rigorous testing and approval process that officially recognizes the extensive education and courtroom experience of attorneys. NBLSC provides Board Certification for Trial Lawyers & Trial Attorneys, Civil Lawyers, Criminal Lawyers, Family Lawyers and Social Security Disability Lawyers.
Logistics & Transport 
Logistician is the Profession in the logistics & transport sectors, including sea, air, land and rail modes. Professional qualification for logisticians usually carry post-nominal letters. Common examples include:
- MILT (Member Institute of Logistics and Transport) conferred by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT),
- CMILT (Chartered Member, Institute of Logistics and Transport) conferred by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
- FCILT (Chartered Fellow, Institute of Logistics and Transport) conferred by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
- CPL/CTP conferred by Transport & Logistics Certification Council (TLCC) of Australia,
- EJLog/ESLog/EMLog conferred by the European Logistics Association (ELA),
- CML[disambiguation needed]/CPL conferred by the International Society of Logistics (SOLE),
- JrLog/Log/SrLog conferred by the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing (CFLP),
- FHKLA/PMHKLA conferred by the Hong Kong Logistics Association (HKLA),
- PLS/CTL/DLP conferred by the American Society of Transportation & Logistics (AST&L),
- CPIM/CSCP conferred by the Association for Operations Management (APICS),
- CITT conferred by the Canadian Institute of Traffic & Transportation (CITT),
- PLog (Professional Logistician) conferred by the Canadian Professional Logistics Institute,
- ACCL-AMI / ACCL-AMO / ACCL-ABM / ACCL-OBM conferred by the Allied Council for Commerce and Logistics (ACCL)
Churches have their own process of who may use various religious titles. Protestant churches typically require a Masters of Divinity, accreditation by the denomination and ordination by the local church in order for a minister to become a "Reverend". Those qualifications may or may not also give government authorization to solemnize marriages
Board certification is the process by which a physician in the United States documents by written, practical and/or computer based testing, illustrating a mastery of knowledge and skills that define a particular area of medical specialization. The American Board of Medical Specialties, a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians.
Medical specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process. While medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board certification demonstrate a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or sub-specialty of medical practice.
Patients, physicians, health care providers, insurers and quality organizations regard certification as an important measure of a physician’s knowledge, experience and skills to provide quality health care within a given specialty.
- Healthcare Quality
- CHCQM (Board Certification in Health Care Quality and Management) conferred by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians
- CPHQ (Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality) conferred by the Healthcare Quality Certification Board of the National Association for Healthcare Quality
Physical Asset Management 
- MMP – Maintenance Management Professional 
- CMRP – Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) 
- ASSE (American Society of Sanitary Engineering)  - an ANSI Accredited standards developer and certification body
Project Management 
Certification is of significant importance in the project management (PM) industry. Certification refers to the evaluation and recognition of the skills, knowledge, and/or competence of a practitioner in the field.
Project management certifications come in a variety of flavors:
- Competence-based programs wherein an individual must provide evidence of actual, on-the-job performance
- Knowledge-based programs wherein an individual must pass an exam
- Experience-based programs wherein an individual must provide evidence of training or education in the field.
Combination of Competence-based, Knowledge-based, and Experience-based
- PMP Project Management Professional conferred by the PMI (Project Management Institute)
- SCPM Stanford Certified Project Manager conferred by the Stanford University as a result of completing the SAPM (Stanford Advanced Project Management Certificate Progam)
- PgMP Program Management Professional conferred by the PMI (Project Management Institute)
- AMII (www.amii.us) Certified Project Management conferred by the AMII (American International Institute, USA)
- CAPM Certified Associate in Project Management conferred by the PMI (Project Management Institute)
- PMI - ACP Project Management Institutes - Agile Certified Professional conferred by the PMI (Project Management Institute)
- CSM Certified SCRUM Master conferred by the SCRUM Alliance
- ASIS International administers the Certified Protection Professional - Board-Certified in Security Management (CPP)
- ASIS International administers the Physical Security Professional, Board-Certified (PSP)
- ASIS International administers the Professional Certified Investigator, Board-Certified (PCI)
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- International Foundation of Protection Officers administers the Certified Protection Officer (CPO)
- Society of Payment Security Professionals (SPSP) administers the Certified Payment-Card Industry Security Manager
- The Loss Prevention Foundation administers the LPQualified (LPQ) and LPCertified (LPC) credentials
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from ISC2.org
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) from ISC2.org
- American Hotel & Lodging Association administers the Certified Lodging Security Director (CLSD)
- National Sheriffs Association administers the Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP) Certification
Other applications 
- The American Academy of Environmental Engineers board certifies licensed environmental engineers (Board Certified Environmental Engineer—BCEE) and unlicensed environmental engineering practitioners (Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member—BCEEM) for those with a degree in engineering and at least 8 years of practice and responsible charge in environmental engineering.
- The Institute of Professional Environmental Practice certifies qualified environmental professionals (QEP) who have a degree in physical, earth or natural science, engineering or mathematics and at least 5 years of professional environmental work experience.
- The Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) certification covers a wide range of indoor environmental quality disciplines focusing on managing indoor environmental quality in relation to building design, maintenance and operations to ensure an optimal environment for building occupants.
- The Canadian National Association of Infrared Imaging Technologists (AIIT) awards the IIT designation to infrared thermographers who meet the training standards regulated by the association. AIIT aims to ensure service delivery standards and public trust through regulating training standards, codes of conduct and continuing education.
- The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators administers ANSI-accredited certification programs for operators of mobile, tower, overhead, and articulating cranes, riggers, signal persons, and crane inspectors.
- The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is planning to create a certification program for technical writers in 2011.
- The Association of Professional Reserve Analysts certifies qualified reserve study professionals (PRA) who are a Certified Public Accountant, have a General Contractors License, and at least 2 years of professional experience preparing reserve studies; or some combination of related experience.
- The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is the International body who administers ANSI-accredited certification programs for arborists and tree care specialists. Certifications vary from Tree Worker to Certified Arborist to Master Arborist.
Many political commentators, particularly libertarians, often criticize professional or occupational licensing, especially medical and legal licensing, for restricting the supply of services and therefore making them more expensive, often putting them out of reach of poor people.
- Computer technologies
The current proliferation of IT certifications (both offered and attained), like the FSI's IT baseline protection certification, has led some technologists to question their value. Proprietary content that has been distributed on the Internet allows some to gain credentials without the implied depth or breadth of expertise. Certifying agencies have responded in various ways: Some now incorporate hands-on elements, anti-cheating methodologies or have expanded their content. Others have expired and restructured their certificate programs, and/or raised their fees to deter abuse.
Certification programs that take into account length of service, and demonstrated experience, via industry peer and/or employer recommendation avoid some of the issues associated with purely passing an examinations; however, certification remains a contentious issue.
Also, some professional certifications require a criminal record check for the certification to be approved. The presence of a criminal history when applying for certification may be grounds for denial of certification.
See also 
- Academic Inflation
- European professional qualification directives
- Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals
- Product certification
- Phillip Barnhart, The Guide to National Professional Certification Programs (1997), HRD Press. ISBN 0-8493-9960-2 Retrieved electronically 7 July 2009
- AAFM, Investopedia Dictionary
- "Professional Risk Managers' International Association".
- Chartered Wealth Manager, Forbes and Investopedia Dictionary
- Chartered Asset Manager, Forbes and Investopedia Dictionary
- Chartered Trust and Estate Planner, Forbes and Investopedia Dictionary
- Chartered Portfolio Manager, Forbes and Investopedia Dictionary
- International Economic Development Council
- International Economic Development Council
- How to Become a Chartered Member, CILT
- Canadian Society of Customs Brokers American
-  Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada Website
-  Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Website
- American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE) Website
- Segal, David (17 December 2011). "For Law Schools, a Price to Play the A.B.A.'s Way". The New York Times.