The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) administers the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). NVLAP provides accreditation services through various laboratory accreditation programs (LAPs), which are established on the basis of requests and demonstrated need. Each LAP includes specific test or calibration standards and related methods and protocols assembled to satisfy the unique needs for accreditation in a field of testing or calibration. NVLAP accredits public and private laboratories based on evaluation of their technical qualifications and competence to carry out specific calibrations or tests.
Accreditation requirements are established in accordance with the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR, Title 15, Part 285), National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, and encompass the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025. Accreditation is granted following successful completion of a process which includes submission of an application and payment of fees by the laboratory, an on-site assessment, resolution of any nonconformities identified during the on-site assessment, participation in proficiency testing, and technical evaluation. The accreditation is formalized through issuance of a Certificate of Accreditation and Scope of Accreditation and publicized by announcement in various government and private media.
NVLAP accreditation is available to commercial laboratories; manufacturers' in-house laboratories; university laboratories; and federal, state, and local government laboratories. Laboratories located outside the United States may also be accredited if they meet the same requirements as domestic laboratories and pay any additional fees required for travel expenses.
NVLAP provides an unbiased third-party evaluation and recognition of performance. NVLAP accreditation signifies that a laboratory has demonstrated that it operates in accordance with NVLAP management and technical requirements pertaining to quality systems; personnel; accommodation and environment; test and calibration methods; equipment; measurement tractability; sampling; handling of test and calibration items; and test and calibration reports. NVLAP accreditation does not imply any guarantee (certification) of laboratory performance or test/calibration data; it is solely a finding of laboratory competence. A laboratory may cite its accredited status and use the term NVLAP and symbol on reports, stationery, and in business and trade publications, provided that this use does not imply product certification.