What Does the C-Word Really Mean?


No not THAT C-word — get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about an entirely different C-word –Certified. The whole subject came up last week when I got an advertisement from a Certified Dating Relationship Consultant. Let’s forget the fact that I’m happily married, but I thought to myself, “What kind of malarkey is this?”

And my Facebook friends pretty much had the same take on it, and one particularly astute gal even asked the million dollar question “Certified by who?”

Good point — let’s put our “buyer beware” hats on for this one.

Because when someone is talking about something as ridiculous as a Certified Dating Relationship Consultant, it seems obvious it’s a bunch of hooey; but when someone says they’ re a Certified Accessible Vacation Specialist or a Certified Disabled Travel Consultant or even a Certified Disabled Cruise Specialist, it becomes a little less clear. Those titles sound feasible, but I just picked them out of thin air — and so can anyone else. In this day and age, it seems everyone is “certified”. But what does that really mean?

According to the dictionary the definition of certified is “having or proved by certificate.” Not very high standards, as I could Photoshop my own certificate saying I’m a “Certified Accessible Travel Blogging Specialist”, and lo and behold I meet the criteria.

Now granted a lot of folks who are certified actually do pass some rigorous tests and are held to higher standards, such as a Certified Public Accountants and Board Certified Physicians. But we just need to be careful consumers and find out what exactly “certified” means if a someone presents that as one of their qualifications. After all, times are tough and there are a lot of businesses out there that prey on desperate unemployed people. They sell them a “certification” — and maybe a little self confidence — that will help them make money and be successful. Sad but true.

So whenever you run across a “certified” professional, it’s important to scrutinize them thoroughly. Here are some good questions to ask.

  • Where did you get the certification? Did you have to take a class? If so how long was the class?
  • Was this an in-person class or was it a self-study or an internet class?
  • Did you have to pass a test after completing the class, or was just attending enough to earn the certification?
  • What were the qualifications of the person teaching the class?
  • Did you have to meet any other qualifications — such as working with a minimum number of paying clients — in order to obtain your certification?
  • Do you have to take any CEUs to maintain your certification? Do you have to get re-certified annually?
  • Is there a professional association that oversees and recognizes your certification?

These are just a few of the questions we should ask of certified people; and to be honest, legitimate professionals with genuine hard earned certifications won’t mind at all.

And in the end, remember that the other definition of certified is “legally declared insane”.







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