to the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board
The goal of this program is to establish a mechanism whereby
the forensic community can assess, recognize and monitor organizations
or professional boards that certify individual forensic scientists
or other forensic specialists. This program has been
established with the support and grant assistance of the American
Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS),
the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC)
and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
In a 2009 report, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
published an assessment of the forensic sciences,
Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States.
View the FSAB
comments on this important NAS report.
Standards for accreditation and the application are available
on the Downloads
and Links area of this website.
In a 1995 report, the Strategic Planning Committee of the
American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) reported that
the quality and standards applied by different forensic boards
for granting certification varied widely. The Committee
recommended that AAFS should assume a role in establishing
a formal mechanism whereby the different credentialing processes
of the various certifying boards can be objectively assessed.
During the review of this issue, AAFS recognized that an important
aspect of professional oversight is monitoring the quality
and consistency of credentialing of forensic specialists by
the various forensic boards; i.e., accrediting the certifiers.
Groundwork was laid to accomplish this in 1996 by the Professional
Oversight Committee and by the AAFS Mini-Task Force on Criteria
for Specialist Certifying Boards.; The Accreditation
and Certification Task Force, now known as the Forensic Specialties
Accreditation Board (FSAB), with grant assistance from National
Institute of Justice (NIJ) was formed to develop a voluntary
program to objectively assess, recognize and monitor the various
forensic specialty boards which seek accreditation.
FSAB was incorporated as an independent organization in Colorado
on June 23, 2000.
While working to develop this program, FSAB considered the
accreditation of forensic boards by an independent organization
as an option. There are at least two major organizations
in the United States that set standards for individual specialties,
the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA),
which accredits certifying organizations meeting their standards,
including education and examinations and the American Board
of Medical Specialties (ABMS),
which primarily sets standards for medical disciplines, such
as radiology, surgery, etc. Forensic Pathology is already
listed under the ABMS as a sub-specialty under Pathology.
A forensic specialty board could demonstrate compliance with
national standards by being accredited by the NCCA.
While this course of action is objective, the forensic community
would be unwisely delegating its professional oversight responsibility
to non-forensic organizations. Additionally, because
of the unique nature of the forensic disciplines and the relatively
small numbers of specialists credentialed by each organization,
the forensic boards would be better assessed by an accrediting
organization dedicated to that task and which has a thorough
understanding of the forensic disciplines.