Understanding Certification Credentialling Options for Professionals - A High-Level Snapshot

Some professions require specific licensing, such as some healthcare professions. Verifying a professional's credentials, education, and licenses ensures that they meet the standards of practice required within their discipline. 

1. First-party means that a person claims (self-attests) to be competent and qualified to provide their respective services. 

2. Second-party certification is when an employer, instructor, etc., declares that the person is competent and has the necessary skills and qualifications to do their job, whether paid or through volunteerism.

3. Third-party certification uses an independent and objective, neutral auditor, assessor, etc., to enhance credibility, declaring that the person is competent and qualified and stays within their scope of practice. 

4. Peer review evaluations are conducted by people with similar qualifications working in the same area. This approach provides a self-regulatory framework for members of relevant organizations.


Voluntary third-party certification is meant to enhance credibility and public confidence providing a competitive advantage in the marketplace or specific areas of field-related competencies. Some service providers may prefer to have or need more than one certification. Certification is typically ongoing with requirements for ongoing professional development.