ACCREDITATION AND CREDENTIALING
Within the field of radiography, there is confusion as to the meaning of certain
key terms, central to the profession. This confusion centers, most especially, around
the terms: certification, accreditation, and licensure. The differences among these
concepts are discussed below.
THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS
a. Authoritative Endorsement. The term certification pertains to the process
of obtaining authoritative endorsement (approval or confirmation) as to the qualifications
of an individual to perform competently in a specific occupation or profession.
Certification is conferred by an independent agency or organization.
b. Becoming Registered. Within the field of radiological technology, the
certification process is also often referred to as becoming registered. Generally, one
cannot be certified without having successfully completed an accredited program with
good grades and a passing score on the examinations.
THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS
Whereas the certification process looks at the individual, the accreditation
process looks at the institution of learning. The accreditation process, therefore,
establishes the merits of the entire educational program offered by an institution of
learning. Accreditation involves the public or official endorsement of an educational
institution or, more specifically, a course offered at an institution. An accredited course
or institution is one that has been evaluated by an outside agency and has been found
to conform to prescribed standards. Generally, an individual cannot become registered
or certified without having gone through an accredited program.
a. Attesting to Individual's Qualifications. Like certification, licensure relates
back to the individual. Under the licensure process, specific individuals are issued
permits attesting to their qualifications to practice. Licensure is conferred by a
governmental agency, such as the State Department of Health or the Medical Board.
b. Both Licensure and Certification Required in More and More States.
Progressively more and more states have required technologists to be licensed as well
as registered (certified). Some states, however, have a system of reciprocity, whereby
a registered (certified) radiological technologist in good standing, does not have to take
another examination. He or she simply pays an application fee to obtain licensure in