Credentials are a must!
December 27, 2007 6:29 PM   Subscribe

What credentials can I gain quickly (>6 months), easily (effort is fine but not too much!) and cheaply (<$150)?

So today, after becoming ordained by the Universal Life Church and also finishing my course to become a certified Notary Public in NC, I decided that I need more credentials. I like the idea of being able to have several 'credentials' to cite whenever necessary.

In particular, I'd like to have credentials I can use in my pursuit of a career in Business/Marketing and/or Writing. I am also interested in Website Design and small online businesses (writing random books to self-publish and promote online for example).

Bonus points for things I can do online within a few weeks for free.

While I'm mostly interested in legit credentials that mean something, I'm happy with random quirky ones that have little actual value as long as they're free, quick and easy!
posted by ZackTM to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
There are "prestigious non-acredited universities" (read "diploma mill") which will sell you a degree (because you proved you had "equivalent life experience" to justify it).

But citing such a credential professionally, and getting caught, is a career-ender.

Any credential you can get quickly and easily and cheaply will either be professionally worthless or a career-ender. The value of a credential strongly correlates to the difficulty of gaining it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:38 PM on December 27, 2007

Completely agree with above post, your time would be better spent networking and 'schmoozing' if Business/Marketing is your goal and (get this...) writing if Writing is your goal.
posted by oblio_one at 6:40 PM on December 27, 2007

Best answer: About website design though (sorry for double post) I would consider a link on your personal site proving it's W3C certified good html helpful to prospective candidates.

That sort of accomplishment may be virtually unknown outside the nerdy Slashdot reading crowd, but it will still sound nice to others.
posted by oblio_one at 6:43 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sports and sports instructor qualifications are easy and fun and a talking point.

I am a level 1 snowboard instructor. It was a five day course and I know one person who passed it having only been snowboarding for three months. It was actually very useful to me.

You could rack up an impressive tally of scuba, hang-gliding, paragliding, microlight etc qualifications and have fun doing it. I think this would be at least as useful as anything else you could do in the time.

(NEVER underestimate the networking power of sports!).
posted by unSane at 6:51 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You could get a CPR/First Aid certification. I got this along with my lifeguard certifiction (which probably does not meet your "simple" requirement). Contact the Red Cross and see what they have. People like livesaver types.
posted by jessamyn at 7:24 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's the entry to your new world.

Good Luck!
posted by jeremias at 7:34 PM on December 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Taking your state real estate license exam and the required course to sit for the exam would take less than 6 months. Most classes are about 40 hours, prices vary widely. Getting licensed as a real estate salesperson would allow you to sell real estate and might give you the "credential" to write about it, although, real estate agents are a dime a dozen. If you want to write, I'd pick an area of specialization like property management or laws governing Section 8 or something like that. I wrote an article published in a real estate related magazine that was reprinted in several other publications. Many publications cater to the field of property management and the various problems people in the industry might encounter. It might be an easy area to beak into for your writing career.
posted by 45moore45 at 7:37 PM on December 27, 2007

Ham radio license. If you're technically oriented, you can probably pass the most basic exam after a week of studying the on-line sample tests. There are groups that give the exam every month in many areas. Check the ARRL's website for more info.
posted by zippy at 8:45 PM on December 27, 2007

I don't know what the process entails (and it probably varies state to state) but I recommend getting a bartending license.
posted by davidstandaford at 8:52 PM on December 27, 2007

Best answer: FEMA offers a range of distance learning (ie online) certificate courses, free to US residents.
They're emergency themed, and include a few (such as radiological emergency) that are esoteric/specialised enough that you, joe civilian, would probably have more expertise in such an incident than your local first-responders.
Most businesses like (or are required by law) to have employees trained in emergency procedures, so it's probably stuff that's worthwhile for the resume.
The courses seem to be worth (small amounts of) real college credit too. Can't ask much more than that for free :)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:05 PM on December 27, 2007 [7 favorites]

You could take the bar exam without going to law school and just lots and lost of studying on your own.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 9:32 PM on December 27, 2007

Reminds me of the post from someone who wanted to be licensed in everything.


A driving license is really really handy.
posted by divabat at 10:26 PM on December 27, 2007

Taxi licence.

Worksite traffic management certificate.

Basic welding certificate.

Chainsaw operation and maintenance certificate.

Workplace assessment and training certificate.

Forklift operator's licence.
posted by flabdablet at 10:42 PM on December 27, 2007

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses are usually between 3 and 6 months and run a couple nights per week. The material is pretty basic and would be considered "simple" to anyone of moderate intelligence. Cost varies a lot depending on what type of organization is offering the course.
posted by insyte at 11:18 PM on December 27, 2007

If you can build a computer and do some basic troubleshooting you can probably pass the CompTIA A+ certification exam. When I took it in 2003 it was $75.
posted by hjo3 at 1:08 AM on December 28, 2007

You can take a lot of public-safety related courses online through FEMA; they look fairly impressive and I've been told they're pretty easy.

"Radiological Emergency Management" looks cool. I don't really understand exactly which ones you have to take in order to be NIMS certified at the various levels, but I think it's all explained somewhere on the FEMA site.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:59 AM on December 28, 2007

Oops, I didn't notice harlequin had already posted that. Oh, well. Put me down for seconds.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:00 AM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: offers online certifications.
posted by theora55 at 8:43 AM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've always wanted to be an election judge. The "judge" part makes it sound so much more impressive than what it really is.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:58 AM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: Not really a credential but it feels badass to have a motorcycle license and you can get one in about 15 hours of classes--five in a classroom and 10 on a course, all during one week. In California, at least, you have to take the written exam at the DMV but the class itself provides the riding test. It cost less than $300.

And even if you decide riding isn't for you, it gives you a huge new respect for what motorcyclists go through, and will help you drive more safely around them.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation
posted by faunafrailty at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2007

For $25 you can join the International Alchemy Guild.
posted by donovan at 6:17 PM on December 29, 2007

Late to the party, but actually in most states you can't take the bar exam without having gone to law school. I believe California is the only state you don't need a J.D. to sit for the bar.
posted by MeetMegan at 7:44 PM on December 30, 2007

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