The eLearning Certification Trap

The unprecedented growth in online education — also known as eLearning — has already brought incredible access of knowledge to millions of people who would never have been able to afford a similar course at a university or technical institution.

Unfortunately for eager learners, this growth in content has not been accompanied by significant improvements in the ability to demonstrate these skills to potential employers. So without these improvements in employment prospects, who is there to pick up the slack? Bogus certification sites, mostly.

These sites can range from laughably amateur to downright unethical. It can be hard to determine which is which, since the more bogus certifications they sell, the fancier-looking websites they can afford. (Our list below is oriented towards the humorous rather than the dishonest ones, which we will cover more in later articles)

This should be a wakeup call to both the eLearning and human-resources communities. There needs to be a reliable and flexible skill-tracking system that is both useful for employers and fair to job-seekers. Part of this solution is to help people quantify and track their professional skills, which in turn allows employers to better qualify their applicants.

But enough seriousness about the solution. Let’s have some fun looking at the problem, shall we? Here are some the most ridiculous online certifications we’ve seen.

Top 5 Ridiculous Online Certifications

Online Bartending School Certification

Unless your bar highly values recipe memorization, bartending school is pretty useless. But online bartending school has to be about as useless as one of those tropical drink umbrellas.

Energy Medicine, Quantum & Vibrational Healing Certification

I have a sneaking suspicion that this certificate won’t significantly improve your chances of becoming the surgeon general.

Microsoft Paint Certified Professionals

I thought this was a joke at first until I saw some of the really cool graphics they’ve made. ‘Certified’ might be a stretch, so they should just call themselves “People who have wayyyy too much time on their hands and should really get better image editing software.”

Crystal Viewing Teacher’s Certification

Trying to see the future in a crystal ball is old-fashioned and ridiculous. Seeing alternative realities in remote locations with regular-shaped crystals on your forehead, however, is a much more scientific approach.

Real Intense Outcome Certification

What is this ‘intense outcome’ they talk about? The amount of weight you might lose from all the twerking and violent convulsions in their workouts? link


It should be said that there are also many high-quality and well-intentioned sites out there that provide self-branded certifications (self-branded contrasts with accredited professional certifications such as Java or Oracle which are more rigorous in their standards and are generally open to independent review). They can be useful for self-help style motivation and some employers may actually like them because they demonstrate desire for improvement, even if the certification may not help with quantifying that improvement.

We are and our goal is to help people quantify their skills and get found by potential employers.

Have you seen any crazy online certifications advertised lately? Help us add to this list! Send any submissions to

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