NOT to be confused with Certification! Laboratories
become accredited, individuals attain certifications.
Accreditation can be considered as both a
process and a standard of acceptability.
Process: offers a laboratory an
opportunity to demonstrate to an external entities that all of its
management practices, operations, personnel, procedures, and its physical plant
can meet or exceed the requirements of applicable national and international
Laboratory can demonstrate that it can comply
with recognized standards for attaining the promotion, encouragement, and
maintenance of the highest standards of analytical practice.
Standard of acceptability:
recognized by the criminal justice system as a means to
improve quality, assess performance, provide independent review, and demonstrate
that recognized standards are being met.
Accreditation is part of a laboratory’s
overall Quality Management System.
Does not, by itself, automatically guarantee that
analytical results generated are completely accurate or error free.
Provides confidence to both the community
at large and the criminal justice system that Quality
Management Practices are in
place and they are based upon sound scientific practices.
Benefits of Accreditation:
public and private entities only give contracts to accredited laboratories.
Will improve the
reputation and image of the laboratory.
A mechanism to check all aspects of the
laboratory’s operations to ensure that the results of testing are
Serves as a benchmark for the laboratory
since it will compare the laboratory practices against recognized practices that
other accredited laboratories are following.
Identifies areas for improvement to the
laboratory Quality Management System.
Uses standards and criteria that were
developed specifically for testing laboratories to determine technical
Prevents the laboratory from operating in
isolation from their peers, thereby ensuring that they are evaluated to
determine overall performance.
A means to assure the criminal justice system
and the public that the testing results are accurate and reliable.
Compliance with laws in states that
require accreditation of entities performing forensic analysis.