FAQ: Is forensic accreditation meant for forensic facilities or forensic practioners?

ANSWER: It is meant for forensic facilities and NOT for forensic practitioners


There seems to be a lot of confusion on this topic, especially in some forensic disciplines.  I have read numerous articles and have been involved in several conversations, which usually revolve around someone’s opinion of “what is more important:” 1) the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) of the forensics practitioner and their ability to get their work into court; or 2) their being accredited.


For starters, forensic practitioners are NOT accredited; forensic organizations, facilities, laboratories, etc. are.  Forensic practitioners are certified.


Forensic accreditation is organization based and addresses the operational and technical competency of the forensic facility and its ability to manage its administrative and technical operations in a manner that will allow it to produce consistent and reliable results.  


Forensic certification is individual based and focuses on a forensic practitioners individual KSAs to perform the work itself to include ensuring its sufficiency for acceptance into court.  Forensic practitioner certifications usually fall into three basic categories: 1) Networks and Computer Hardware (e.g., CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, CISSP, CCNA, etc.); 2) Vendor Neutral (e.g., CFCE, CCE, GCFE, GCFA, GNFA, etc.); and 3) Vendor Specific (e.g., EnCE, ACE, CCME, etc.)


What makes this topic interesting is that most forensic practitioners work for an organization so; you would think the organization’s reputation is just as important as the practitioner’s.



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