Acronym Glossary

Accreditation is a complex landscape involving many specilaized organizations, programs, and concepts. Because some unrealted organizations and concepts might use the same acronyms, refer to this acronym glossary for any unfamiliar acronyms you might see or hear on your accreditation journey.


ANSI – The American National Standards Institute is an organization that oversees the creation of voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems. They also coordinate U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide. 

AOAC International – The Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (referred to as AOAC International as of 1991) is a non-profit scientific association that publishes standardized chemical analysis methods designed to increase confidence in the results of chemical and microbiologic analyses. Government agencies and civil organizations often require that laboratories use official AOAC methods. 

APAC – The Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation is an organization that manages and expands a mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) among accreditation bodies in the Asia Pacific region, facilitating the acceptance of conformity assessment results across the region and with other regions around the world. APAC was created by the amalgamation of two former regional accreditation cooperations – the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC). 

CPSC or USCPSC - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is an agency of the U.S. government that seeks to promote the safety of consumer products by addressing “unreasonable risks” of injury, developing uniform safety standards, and conducting research into product-related illness and injury. 

CTIA – This organization operates exclusively by its initials, which originally stood for “Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association,” but in 2004 the title was changed to “Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association”. It is a non-profit trade association representing the wireless communications industry in the U.S. 

IAAC – The InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation is a regional association of accreditation bodies and other organizations interested in conformity assessment in the Americas. It is a not-for-profit body that functions on the basis of cooperation by its members and interested parties. 

IAF – The International Accreditation Forum is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programs of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. 

IEC – The International Electrotechnical Commission is a not-for-profit, quasi-governmental organization, founded in 1906. The IEC's members are National Committees, and they appoint experts and delegates coming from industry, government bodies, associations and academia to participate in the technical and conformity assessment work of the IEC. The IEC and ISO have partnered in the development of many international standards.  

ILAC - The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation is an international cooperation of accreditation bodies (or accreditors) formed in 1977 to help remove technical barriers to trade. In 1996, ILAC became a formal cooperation with a charter to establish a network of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) among accreditors that would fulfil this aim.  The ILAC Arrangement (first signed in November 2000) provides significant technical underpinning to international trade.  The key to the Arrangement is the global network of accredited laboratories and inspection bodies that are assessed and recognized as being competent by ILAC Arrangement signatory accreditation bodies.  

ISO – The International Organization for Standardization uses the standard abbreviation “ISO”. Because the International Organization for Standardization is a global organization and the formal name would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French), the standardized short form is ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek word isos (ίσος) meaning "equal".  

NELAC – The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference was the predecessor to The NELAC Institute (TNI), which collaborated with another organization (the Institute for National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation) to jointly form TNI. 

NIST - The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a measurement standards laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. 

TNIThe NELAC Institute is a non-profit membership organization that is focused primarily on creating and maintaining a national accreditation program for environmental laboratories, whereby all entities involved in the generation of environmental measurement data in the United States are accredited to one uniform, consistently implemented program. 

WADA – The World Anti-Doping Agency is an international agency dedicated to scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code – the document harmonizing anti-doping policies across different sports and countries. 


Programs, Laws, and Agreements

AEMCLRP - The Automotive EMC Laboratory Recognition Program is a now-defunct program originally developed by Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors to address quality issues related to component and subsystem EMC testing. Although the AEMCLRP program has been dissolved, the original equipment manufacturers now require that EMC test laboratories be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025. 

CLIA - The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments regulate laboratory testing and require clinical laboratories to be certified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) before they can accept human samples for diagnostic testing. 

DAGCAP – The DoD Advanced Geophysical Classification Accreditation Program is for geophysical testing organizations involved in the clean-up of munitions response sites for the U.S. Department of Defense. Such organizations must be accredited through this program in order to perform this type of field work. 

DoD ELAP – The Department of Defense Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program provides a unified DoD program through which commercial environmental laboratories can voluntarily demonstrate competency and document conformance to the international quality systems standards as they are implemented by DoD. 

DOECAP - The U.S. Department of Energy’s Consolidated Audit Program is a component of the DOE’s Analytical Services Program, which focuses on management of environmental regulatory compliance programs, remediation, clean-up efforts, and waste management. DOECAP helps conduct assessments of environmental analytical laboratories through the DOECAP Accreditation Program. 

FedRAMP - The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program is a cyber security risk management program for the purchase and use of cloud products and services that are used by U.S. federal agencies. Only cloud service providers with FedRAMP approval may work with government agencies. 

FSMA – The Food Safety Modernization Act was developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and enacted by Congress to help prevent foodborne illness. FSMA reflects the FDA’s shift in focus from responding to foodborne illnesses to proactively preventing foodborne illness by better regulating the food supply chain. 

NELAP - The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program is an accreditation program specific to environmental laboratories. The laboratory and accreditation body standards for the program were originally modeled after sections of ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17011. Accreditation for NELAP is performed by participating U.S. state governmental agencies; control over scope, laboratory types accepted, and fees are all controlled by the state agency. 

NLLAP - The National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program is an EPA program that defines the minimum requirements and abilities that a laboratory must meet to attain EPA recognition as an accredited lead testing laboratory. EPA established NLLAP to recognize laboratories that demonstrate the ability to accurately analyze paint chips, dust, or soil samples for lead. 

P25 CAP - The Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program establishes standards and compliance test protocols for ensuring the interoperability of the digital communications equipment emergency responders use. It is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, SAFECOM, industry and the emergency response community. 



3PAO – This acronym is used in the context of FedRAMP, and refers to a third-party assessment organization, which is an organization that has demonstrated sufficient knowledge of and competence with the FedRAMP Security Assessment Framework and is accredited to perform security assessments of cloud storage systems. 

AB – An accreditation body is an organization that provides accreditation services. Accreditation is a formal, third party recognition of competence to perform specific tasks. A2LA is an accreditation body. 

AcO – An accreditation officer is an employee of A2LA who is knowledgeable about one or more specific fields of accreditation and is responsible for managing the logistics and customer service requirements of their customers’ accreditations. Each organization accredited by or seeking accreditation from A2LA will be assigned an accreditation officer who works with them directly to meet their needs.  

AETB – an air emissions testing body is any organization that tests the air for emissions 

CAB – a conformity assessment body is any organization or group that undertakes conformity assessment activities. Conformity assessment bodies can come in many different forms, from government agencies to consumer groups to privately owned companies. A2LA is a conformity assessment body, and so are many of its customers.  

CMCCalibration and measurement capability is a value that expresses how well a laboratory can measure. In the context of the CIPM MRA and ILAC Arrangement, and in compliance with the CIPM-ILAC Common Statement, a CMC is a calibration and measurement capability available to customers under normal conditions, as described in the laboratory’s scope of accreditation granted by a signatory to the ILAC Arrangement; or as published in the BIPM key comparison database (KCDB) of the CIPM MRA.  

FEB – A field evaluation body is an organization that evaluates electrical equipment that is utilized, modified, one-of-a-kind, or limited production (that is not listed or field-labeled under a certification program) to ensure that it complies with applicable codes or standards. When a piece of equipment in the field has been modified or refurbished or is not labeled appropriately, an approved FEB evaluates the equipment, determines if the equipment complies with the applicable codes or standards, and then appropriately labels the equipment. 

MRA – MRA can stand for either “mutual recognition arrangement” OR “mutual recognition agreement” depending on the context. A mutual recognition agreement is an international agreement by which two or more countries agree to recognize one another's conformity assessments results (for example certifications or test results). A mutual recognition arrangement is an international arrangement based on such an agreement. 

MU Measurement uncertainty is a metrological concept; it refers to the expression of the statistical dispersion of the values attributed to a measured quantity. All measurements are subject to uncertainty and a measurement result is complete only when it is accompanied by a statement of the associated uncertainty, such as the standard deviation. 

NGAB – The NELAC Institute (TNI) uses this acronym to refer to a non-governmental accreditation body, which is an organization that has been recognized by TNI to accredit laboratories to the TNI environmental laboratory standard. A2LA is a TNI NGAB. 

PTPProficiency testing providers are responsible for laboratory proficiency testing (PT), which is an external quality and accuracy assessment process that tests unknown specimens from an outside source to ensure accurate lab testing results. 

QMS - A quality management system is a compilation of organizational documents that establishes the policies and procedures needed to direct and control an organization with regard to quality. The policies, procedures, SOPs and records that make up a QMS provide proof of goals, assign responsibility, describe how those responsibilities are to be performed and provide evidence of past accounts or occurrences of compliance.  

RMPReference material producers provide ‘controls’ or standards used to check the quality and metrological traceability of products, to validate analytical measurement methods, or for the calibration of instruments.