National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters

Statement Relating to Accreditation Status

January 31st, 2018 (updated 2/28/2018)

To our Valued Members:

In response to questions and concerns regarding recent amendments to the National Board’s voluntary accreditation status and credentialing program(s), we’re more than happy to offer the following information and response. Perhaps many of these concerns come from the common misunderstanding and misleading practice of using the terms “certification” and “accreditation” interchangeably. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) offers the following definitions:

certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence.  In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice. 

Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards. 

Accreditation is an optional/voluntary process, and is not required for the validity of a certification program.  Thank you for your continuing collaboration and understanding as we implement the changes referenced below.  As always, transparency and vibrant communication with our Members remains a valued and critical hallmark of our services, and we welcome you to forward any further questions, comments or concerns to the National Board Chair, Jazmin Manjarrez: [email protected] 

  • Change in Accreditation Status of the National Board’s Spanish Medical Interpreter Certification

Effective as of January, 2018, the National Board has elected to no longer pursue accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for the National Board’s Spanish Language Interpreting certification program.  Notwithstanding this decision, please note that the National Board remains a member of the NCCA’s parent organization, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), and the certification offered to all new and/or renewing National Board Members remains valid and acceptable as certification within the relevant medical community(ies).

  • Why Has NCCA Accreditation Not Been Renewed for 2018?

After long and careful deliberation, the National Board has determined that the best and most efficient stewardship and use of our Membership resources lies in investing the material and significant time and financial resources previously devoted to the NCCA Accreditation attached to our Spanish Language certification program.  That determination was further supported by our organization’s desire to bring each of the National Board's language programs under a single supported structure and protocol.  Notably, prior to January 1st, only the Spanish Language certification program was subjected by the National Board to the further accreditation process.  In an effort to better streamline our continuing efforts to bring each of our language programs into testing, support and management parameters that meet or exceed National accreditation standards, a strategic decision was made to drop what the National Board essentially deemed to be unnecessary costs and time associated solely with the Spanish program.

  •  Will My Current CMI Certification Remain Valid?

Yes.  Currently certified Members will remain fully certified and enjoy the full benefits of their credential.  Going forward, all Members applying for new and recertified credentials will continue to enjoy the fully-certified status our Members have come to expect and enjoy, and which is wholly accepted by the medical community at large.  As of January 1st, 2018, the sole change to our National Board certification program will be related to the Spanish Language program, which will continue to be honored as fully valid certification, but no longer carry the additional NCCA accreditation.


Some of our CMIs from California have reached out to ensure that this change won't affect them with Worker's Compensation. Here are some additional FAQ's addressing the state of California:

  • Is the NBCMI’S Testing and Certification still valid and accepted in the medical interpreting field in California?

            Yes, absolutely. As related to the state of California, the CA Dept. of Industrial Relations will continue to list the National Board and CCHI as the two acceptable paths to formal certification and credentialing for interpreters and the DIR (Dept. of Industrial Relations) does not require or recognize accreditation as a factor in accepted credentialing.  Further, the NBCMI Certification remains a legally valid and acceptable credential as defined by CA Government Code Section 11435-11435.65.

  •  Will my hourly rates as a NB certified interpreter decrease or be affected due to the change in accreditation?
             No.  The DWC’s (Div. of Workers Compensation) interpreter service regulations (originally effective Aug. 13, 2013 and extended by AB 1376’s amend. of Labor Code section 4600(g)) makes no distinction between the fees provided to Certified interpreters, regardless of accreditation, and the NBCMI exam remains one of the two permitted methods to become Certified for medical appointments and medical legal exams. See


  • Will the change in accreditation permit me to remain listed as a medical interpreter?
            Yes.  NBCMI certification entitles our members to be listed on the National Board registry of Medical Interpreters, the State Personnel Board webpage and/or the California Courts webpage.


  • Does accredited Certification provide me with any additional benefits under California law and/or to existing or potential employers?
            No.  Under the State of California’s laws and administrative rules, accreditation is not mandated, addressed or otherwise contemplated in any way.  There are clear distinctions by and among Certified interpreters (ideal), registered interpreters (for languages where no certification is available), and provisions for non-certified and non-registered interpreters to be used if and when necessary. 


Again, we value our Members and are committed to continuing to offer the valuable and market-proven certification services that have become the hallmark of the National Board.  Thank you for your continuing partnership!