I don't mean certifications in technical, scientific tools and methodologies. I am speaking to certifications that fluff up one's perceived expertise, importance and value to the marketplace.
Just to name a few in my field as it's so easy to find them, but I am sure you can find them in yours as well:
Master Career Counselor (MCC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC), Master Personal Branding Strategist, Board Certified Coach (BCC), Career Management Fellow Practitioner (CMF), Career Development Facilitator Instructor (CDFI), Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC), Master Resume Writer (MRW), Credentialed Career Master (CCM), Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP), Certified Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC)
Let's take my favorite the Distance Credentialed Counselor. Since I work with clients all over the planet, I use a phone, SKYPE, a web-cam, web meeting sites, and file sharing tools. Does that require a certification? Really? Or do you just need a good IT person to set you up and provide tech support?
Here is how the certificate is described:
A Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) will be nationally recognized as a professional with training in best practices in Distance Counseling. Distance Counseling is a counseling approach that takes the best practices of traditional counseling as well as some of its own unique advantages and adapts them for delivery to clients via electronic means in order to maximize the use of technology-assisted counseling techniques. The technology-assisted methods may include telecounseling (telephone), secure email communication, chat, videoconferencing or computerized stand-alone software programs.
Those unique advantages are further described as flexibility, convenience and asynchronous communications. Okay, but do you really need a certificate?
The phenomena is epidemic in professional services today because enterprising people in an industry discovered that the best way to make money is to sell certifications, products and tools to other professionals.
Industry trade associations and Universities extension program certifications have blossomed into a hundred million dollar cash flow based on revenues from tuition and their profits help underwrite programs within the organization and the university. At least, we can know that there is an academic, knowledge-based foundation to these programs with the organization or university's brand at stake.
However, all this has been been eclipsed by enterprising professionals who leverage a certificate out of their business and books...often not even that much. For example, a business colleague extended his consulting practice on product management to tools, online training, books and now a certification. The degrees
Competing for a piece of one pie leads all of us to try and get an advantage, but branding differentiation is not best done solely by degrees (or certificates)...no pun intended.