Wednesday, November 13, 2002

From the Volokh Conspiracy,. a highly amusing story about the meaning and value of professional certifications. Since the link doesn't appear to go to the correct place, I'll cut-n-paste it here inline:
Zoe D. Katze has an impressive-looking set of credentials -- Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA. She has been board-certified by three major hypnotherapy associations and holds diplomate status in the American Psychotherapy Association.

Not bad for a 6-year-old house cat. . . .

[Zoe is] Philadelphia psychologist Steve K.D. Eichel's cat. Eichel had a point he had been wanting to make about the proliferation of bogus credentialing organizations over the past 10 or 20 years.

So he decided to credential his cat.

To do that, Eichel first had to get his cat some credit, which turned out to be the hardest part of the process. The credit card company's agent initially asked for Zoe's Social Security number, Eichel says, but cheerfully relented when Eichel told him it wasn't readily available. Zoe was then added to Eichel's account as an authorized user.

To get Zoe her first credential, Eichel says, he simply filled out an "application for certification" on a lay hypnosis association's Web site and charged the fee to his credit card under Zoe's name. Since most lay hypnosis associations have reciprocity agreements, he says, it was a snap getting Zoe board-certified by two other credentialing organizations.

Eichel then decided to go for the gold: diplomate status in the American Psychotherapy Association, which, according to its own promotional literature, "is limited to a select group of professionals who, by virtue of their extensive training and expeexpertise, have demonstrated their outstanding abilities in regard to their specialty." . . .

Zoe got the APA certification.

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