Understanding Certification

Mobius Institute Board of Certification™ [MIBoC], has established certification programs that are independently audited by a Government-appointed organization and offer certification programs that are accredited to the international standard ISO/IEC 17024.

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Being “certified” should mean something

There is a huge gulf between simply passing a test (even if it is called a certification program) and being certified by an accredited certification scheme.

The best analogy that highlights the difference is the situation that occurs when you purchase “certified organic” food. If you are serious about organic food, then you need to be wary about marketing organizations that simply state that their product is organic compared to products that have been independently audited and proven to be organic.

Mobius Institute Board of Certification [MIBoC] has established certification programs that are independently audited by a Government-appointed organization and can thus offer certification programs that are accredited to the international standard ISO/IEC 17024.

The certification process comprises two main components: the certification body, and the auditing process.

Certification body

The Mobius Institute Board of Certification [MIBoC] administers the certification process.

There is a Scheme Committee that establishes the rules, policies, and guidelines. They also oversee the quality control process which includes detailed statistical analysis to ensure that the examination and verification process is fair and independent. It also ensures that the program is open to everyone and that it meets the needs of the industry. Plus, it ensures that the examination process is secure; there can be no question about the validity of exam results.

There is also a Technical Committee that defines the technical content of training courses and exams. The committee offers the questions and audits the questions. The Technical Committee also handles any grievances, should they arise, and any breaches of the rules.

Unfortunately, there are organizations around the world that offer “certification” programs, but they do almost none of the above (nor any of the other steps that we have not described).

Auditing process

In order to ensure that all of the above is fair and independent, and that it follows international standards, and that the certification body does what it says it will do, there are Government appointed organizations in each country that audit certification programs. In the United States, that organization is ANSI. In the United Kingdom, that organization is UKAS. In Australia, where MIBoC is headquartered, that organization is JAS-ANZ, the Joint Accreditation Service of Australia and New Zealand.

Each certification program offered must be established in a consistent manner and will be audited against ISO/IEC 17024.

In our extended industry, only the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals, the Vibration Institute, and the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing are accredited.

Learn more about accreditation

The certification process

According to ISO standards, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for a person (known as the “candidate”) to be certified. Although there are different certification programs with unique requirements, there are three core requirements: training, examination, and experience. In some cases, a fourth requirement will exist – that the candidate is already certified at a lower level.

The training requirements

Every certification program will define the training requirements. Those requirements are a combination of subjects and training duration.

In most cases, the standard will list the topics which must be covered on a training course and the approximate duration that the topic must be discussed.

The standard also defines the minimum training hours for a training course. For example, in order to be certified Category II according to ISO 18436-2 for vibration analysis, the training course must include 32 hours of training. It will normally take 4 ½ days of training in order to meet the requirements.

That training can be performed in a classroom or hotel seminar room, or in a company training facility, or online via videos. It is a requirement that this process is audited, and the training organization can verify that the training has been delivered.

Mobius Institute Board of Certification [MIBoC] is responsible for the certification process. It works with Mobius Institute™ to ensure that the training is delivered correctly. MIBoC can also work with third-party organizations to assess whether their courses meet the relevant standard and thus enable their students to apply for certification. It is important to understand that MIBoC will work with any organization, even if they are competitors of Mobius Institute.

The examination requirements

The examination process must be conducted with the utmost security. There must be no way for candidates to copy other another person’s answers or to view exam questions before their exam. Likewise, the organization administering the exam must have no way to view the contents of an exam before or after the exam.

Therefore, there is a very detailed process, administered by the Mobius Institute Board of Certification, which ensures the security of the examination process and the exam database.

The exam can be conducted online or via a paper-based exam. Either way, the examination process must be securely monitored by a person known as the “invigilator”. The invigilator ensures that the candidate cannot cheat, they cannot copy exam questions, and they cannot gain any form of assistance during the exam.

The experience requirements

Each of the certification standards defines the experience requirements of the candidates before they can be officially certified. For example, a person wishing to be certified as a Category II vibration analyst according to ISO 18436-2, must have 18 months of experience in the field of vibration analysis.

In order to be sure about that experience, the candidate must nominate an independent person who can verify that the candidate does in fact have the required experience. MIBoC will not issue the certification until the experience has been validated. If a person has been trained and they have passed the exam, but they do not have the experience, a temporary certificate will be issued that clearly states that the candidate is not certified. When they meet the experience requirements, a new certificate will be issued, and the candidate will be officially certified.

Prior certification

Many of the condition monitoring certification programs will require that the candidate already holds a lower level of certification. For example, in order to be certified as Category III in vibration analysis according to ISO 18436-2, the candidate must already be certified to Category II (however, in order to be certified Category II, the candidate does not need to be certified as Category I).

Unfortunately, if a person has been trained at the lower level, but not properly certified, they will not be eligible to be trained and certified at the desired level. For example, if a candidate is seeking certification to the Category III level, and they have been trained and “certified” by an organization that has not been audited and is not recognized by the Mobius Institute Board of Certification Technical Committee, then that candidate is not eligible for certification to Category III. In certain circumstances, “catch-up” training may be available, and the candidate can take the Category II exam in order to be eligible for Category III.

The requirements of each individual certification program are listed on the pages that specifically describe the certification programs.

For more information

Please contact Mobius Institute Board of Certification if you have any questions about these processes. You may also like to review the ISO 18436 series of standards and the ISO/IEC 17024 standard.