ISO Certified & ISO Registered

You may have heard both ISO certification and ISO registration being used in reference to the ISO quality system. Some people in the ISO business will tell you that the term ISO certification is not correct, that ISO registration is the correct term.

According to standardized definitions in the ISO standard ( See ISO/IEC 17000, Conformity assessment – Vocabulary and general principles) ISO certification and ISO registration are not exactly the same thing. ISO certification has to do with issuing a certificate; that is, a written document issued by an independent auditing body that has audited your quality management system and verified that it conforms to the ISO standard requirements. And ISO registration means that your certification has been recorded, or registered, with the auditing body.

Once you have been audited by an ISO registrar, technically your quality management system has been ISO certified and ISO registered. For practical purposes the terms ISO certified and ISO registered can be used interchangeably. The term ISO certification is more commonly used among people not involved in the ISO quality standard on a daily basis. For some reason, in North America, many ISO consultants prefer the terms ISO registered and ISO registration. For common, practical, everyday use, however, either one — certified or registered — is acceptable.

The term accredited, in the context of ISO, refers only to formal recognition by an accreditation body that a certification body is competent to carry out quality system certification. Unless you are an ISO registrar, it is not accurate to say your company is accredited to the ISO standard.

So, it’s OK to say your company has been either ISO certified, or ISO registered to the ISO quality standard. For practical purposes the meanings are the same. The body that does the ISO certification is usually called the ISO registrar though, and the term ISO certifier is not generally used.

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