What is the difference between ISO 9001

compliant or compliance vs. certification? Is there such a thing as ISO Accredited?

What is the difference between ISO 9001 compliant or compliance vs. certification? Most companies we speak with are going for ISO certification, which means a very specific thing. Some are going for ISO compliance and saying you are compliant to ISO 9001 or another ISO standard also has a specific meaning behind it. Being ISO compliant does not mean that you don’t have a formal quality system and you are just using the words to let your customer know that you have a quality management system in place. It means that you do everything ISO requires except you don’t have a 3rd party certification body audit you and issue you a certificate. You perform internal audits, do management review, have documentation that is controlled, and have a good handle on the risks associated with your processes as it relates to your customer’s expectations. You just don’t have that cert. The certificate is the real difference in this question. Don’t let that certificate stop you from getting a customer. If you have questions, CALL US for a no-obligation discussion about your options or about the standard you need to be compliant or certified to.


The most common standards that a company can obtain accreditation are ISO 17025 and ISO 17021. ISO 17025 Accreditation is for a Lab and ISO 17021 is for a Certification Body. The main difference between accreditation and certification is that accredited organizations issue certificates and accreditation audits are a witness of skill and competency rather than an audit of a process.

Can an individual be ISO 9001 certified?

Neither an individual nor an organization can become certified to ISO 9001. It is the management system that is certified.

However, there a number of individual certifications that can be achieved, such as:

  • Quality Manager
  • Auditor
  • Calibration Technician
  • Quality Improvement Associate
  • Yellow Belt/Green Belt/Black Belt
  • Quality Engineer
  • Quality Inspector
  • Reliability Engineer
  • Supplier Quality Auditor
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