Product certification or product qualification is the process of certifying that a certain product has passed performance tests and quality assurance tests, and meets qualification criteria stipulated in contracts, regulations, or specifications (typically called “certification schemes” in the product certification industry). Most product certification bodies (or product certifiers) are accredited to ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996, an international standard for ensuring competence in those organizations performing product certifications.
The organizations which perform this accreditation are called Accreditation Bodies, and they themselves are assessed by international peers against the ISO 17011 standard. Accreditation bodies which participate in the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Agreement (MLA) also ensure that these accredited Product Certifiers meet additional requirements set forth in “IAF GD5:2006 – IAF Guidance on the Application of ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996”.
Examples of some certification schemes include the Safety Equipment Institute for protective headgear, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) program for radio communication devices, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star program, the International Commission on the Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment Product Safety Certification Body Scheme (IEECE CB Scheme), and the Greenguard Environmental Institute Indoor Air Quality program. Certification schemes are typically written to include both the performance test methods that the product must be tested to, as well as the criteria which the product must meet to become Certified.