The calibration industry can be foreign to many people. There are different types of accreditation, different types of calibration labs, different types of equipment and testing and more. It can be overwhelming to understand what type of calibration you need for your company and how often you might need it. What makes matters worse is when you go to find information on the subject and everyone is using industry-specific words.

To make things a little easier so you can ensure your company is following best practices and getting the right calibration services, we’ve collected some common calibration terminology that every quality manager should know and included their definitions so you can become an expert too.


This is a process used to verify the quality system and technical competency of calibration and testing laboratories. Laboratories have to meet a set standard, such as ISO 17025, to be deemed “accredited.”


One of three brands of the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, provides accreditation for ISO/IEC 17025 testing and calibration laboratories, ISO/IEC 17020 inspection bodies, ISO Guide 34 reference material producers, ISO/IEC 17043 proficiency testing providers, and numerous industry-specific programs.


This is how often, or the intervals of time, between getting instruments calibrated. It is best to get your instruments calibrated regularly to help protect against bad readings.


This evaluates whether particular gages and instruments are beyond suitable for continued use.


This is an internationally recognized standard that serves as the basis for standardizing the values of calibration measurements.

ISO 17025

This is the main standard used by testing and calibration labs. This standard includes testing for the level competence and expects calibration labs with this accreditation to meet those standards.


The science and study of measurement


If you have ever taken a statistics class, this term may seem familiar. Uncertainty takes into account the possibility that an instrument is off by a certain percentage. In many standards, an instrument will be allowed to have an uncertainty level of + or – a number, but nothing more.

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