ANAB, the U.S. accreditation body for management systems certification, does not provide certification, but the certification bodies (CBs) accredited by ANAB do.
Certification is done by a CB through a series of document reviews and facility visits and audits. The CB's auditors examine an organization's procedures, processes, and operations to determine their conformance to the requirements (elements) of the standard.
The CB evaluates a variety of issues, which, depending on the standard involved, may include the applicant organization's administrative, design, and production processes; management system documentation; personnel training records; management reviews; internal audit processes; technical capabilities and operations; training and experience of personnel; regulatory compliance; and environmental aspects and impacts.
The certification process can take several weeks to more than a year, depending on the readiness of the organization applying for certification. Other factors that can contribute to the amount of time certification takes are the size of the organization, the scope of the certification, and the number of facilities being certified and their location.
If you are new to the certification process, familiarizing yourself with the standard is the first step. Many of the standards for which ANAB-accredited CBs offer certification are available from ANSI and ASQ, though some industry standards are not. For each ANAB accreditation program, the relevant standards and source from which to obtain them are identified on the corresponding program page of this site.
While some organizations may feel confident that they already conform with the standard or can become conformant on their own, others may seek training for their employees or call on an outside consultant for help. CBs may offer a pre-assessment option to help your organization determine its readiness.