Statement Relating to Accreditation Status
To our valued interpreter community:
There are some questions and concerns regarding the National Board's voluntary accreditation status and credentialing programs. Perhaps many of these concerns come from the common misunderstanding of the terms "certification" and "accreditation." The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) offers the following definitions:
A certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual's professional competence. In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.
Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it complies with those standards.
Accreditation is an optional/voluntary process, and is not required for the validity of a certification program. A third party validates all of the six National Board’s certification exams – for Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese and Korean -.
The full reports on the development, piloting and validation of the exams are located here: https://nbcmi.memberclicks.net/reports-and-publications
Accreditation Status of the National Board's Spanish Medical Interpreter Certification
In January 2018, the National Board elected to no longer pursue accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for the National Board's Spanish language medical interpreter oral certification. The National Board remains a member of the NCCA's parent organization, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), and the certification offered to all new and/or renewing National Board Members remains valid and acceptable as certification within the relevant medical communities.
Why was NCCA accreditation not renewed for the exam for Spanish?
After long and careful deliberation, the National Board determined that the best and most efficient stewardship and use of our resources was to invest the material and significant time and financial resources accreditation required to improving the certification program for all six languages and expanding to more. That determination was further supported by our organization's desire to bring each of the National Board's language programs under a single supported structure and protocol.
From 2012-2017 the Spanish language certification program was accredited. Accreditation is not awarded; it requires a substantial fee. When the other six languages were developed, piloted and launched, the NCCA required the same fee for each language even though the strict standards required by the certification industry were followed and maintained and all six languages were developed under the same standards.
To better streamline our continuing efforts, to bring each of our language programs into testing, support and management parameters that meet or exceed national accreditation standards, a strategic decision was made to not renew what the National Board essentially deemed to be onerous costs and time associated with continuing accreditation for the Spanish program, let alone the exams in the other five languages.
At the same time, the NBCMI was planning to include On-line proctoring, an innovative, secure and flexible web-based tool, in order to facilitate for many medical interpreters to access the test from home, and this way avoid long-time traveling expenses and missing days of work for many candidates. The NCCA declared not being ready to accept this option for accreditation. Our decision then was clear: to move out of the accreditation and forward, for the benefit of the interpreters' community, nationally and internationally.
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