The terms certification and accreditation both are discussed when talking about addiction peer support. It is important to be clear about the differences between them, as both are relevant. Generally, certification is given to individuals, and accreditation applies to organizations.

Certification is a voluntary process in which an individual demonstrates proficiency or competence on standardized criteria that relate to a specific field. To become certified, an individual must often meet eligibility requirements and pass an assessment. Certificants may have ongoing requirements, such as continuing education or retesting, to maintain the certification. Certification has traditionally arisen when a group of professionals determines the need to publicly set standards for a field; however, in the area of PRSS, many states are doing the assessment and providing the credential.

Accreditation is a voluntary process in which an organization’s or institution’s operations are evaluated according to established qualifications or standards. The initial and periodic evaluations usually involve submitting a self-evaluation report, site inspection by a team of experts, and a determination by an independent board or commission.

Type Recipient Who Does Participation
Certification Individual Association/Agency Voluntary
State Certification Individual Government Agency Can Be Voluntary, May Be Involuntary/Required
Licensure Individual, Organization Government Agency Involuntary/Required
Accreditation Program, Organization, Institution Association/Agency Voluntary

← Accreditation Review: The Three Parts | Steps to Accreditation →


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