What is the correct term given to an entity/body who have the authority to issue certifications in a field?

The obvious thing that comes to mind is "Certification Authority (CA)", however when I Google this term all I find are references to CAs in the context of cryptography.

For example.. I complete an online course in some subject, let's just say Amazon's AWS Cloud Architect or something. In this case, Amazon are the authority providing a certification. Does that make them... a certificate authority?

  • There isn't a single term. The term used is generally specified/implied by the rules and regulations that lay out the need for certification.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 13:28
  • Allowing 'phrase requests' may help answer your question.
    – lbf
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 13:56
  • They're often called "Certification boards", in the context of a person acquiring certification after passing an exam, for example, but as @HotLicks says there's no consistent word for this. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 14:03
  • An authority that or which issues certificates is generally know as a certificating authority. If the nature of the particular certificates matters, that might change everything Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 21:36

3 Answers 3


Yes. Using the Amazon example, that company vests the authority to issue a certificate in themselves. Amazon is the certificating authority. As mentioned in comments, other authorities call themselves boards etc. In the U.S. many boards certify certify doctors and other aspects of healthcare.


certify: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/certification

Colleges certify you when granting you a degree.

the Red Cross among many others can certify you to perform basic CPR.

Many certificates are necessarily renewable ... CPR Some a lifetime ... the college degree.

  • 2
    "certificating" ? Really? The cambridge.org link has "certification authority" as the next word. The other plausible alternative is "certifying authority" , but "certificating" seems wrong to my BrE ears. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 15:02
  • @MartinBonner English. Verb. Certificating - present participle of certificate. But certifying is good too. Thank-you.
    – lbf
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 15:22
  • But surely the verb corresponding to the noun certificate is "certify"? Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 15:23
  • For official documents that are issued (e.g. birth certificates or visas, see wikipedia) you could use issuing authority (or, more general, issuing body)
  • For diplomas that are awarded, this page speaks of awarding body
  • although issuer seems to be mostly used in finance, it is also used for the body issuing a permit (e.g. allowing work where Safety is an issue)

What about a licenser? It’s not elaborate but it is eloquent.

The definition of license (verb) is:

1a: to issue a license to

1b: to permit or authorize especially by formal license

2: to give permission or consent to; allow.

(Definitions from Merriam-Webster.)

So a “licenser” would mean “someone who licenses.”

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