All The Weird Certifications You Can Get Online

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AV8R, May 14, 2015.

  1. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The title is misleading because some of these certifications are not weird. I don't think they read the requirements for the medical assistant certification. In order to take the exam, which has to be taken at a testing center, you need to be a graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited medical assisting program. You can't become a lactation consultant by just taking online courses either. It requires clinical experience.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2015
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  4. FJD

    FJD Member

  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Personally I think it would be worth the extra money to become a Count(ess).
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    It's a shame the New Urbanism certificate is on hiatus. That one actually looks like something I wouldn't mind taking as a personal development course.

    Maybe it will come back soon.
  7. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2015
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    It's time for an embarrassing confession: I totally bought a ULC "degree" when I was a senior in high school. I didn't buy it to market myself as a minister. I knew very little about accreditation. I was pretty curious what a $200 "degree" program was like and I was going through a weird spiritualist stage.

    I think I might still have it in the back of my storage unit.

    *hangs head in shame*
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Don't be embarrassed. Lots of people have done the same thing. Some just for fun, some so that they could perform a marriage, etc. To me it's completely harmless.
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I'm not really embarrassed. I completely forget that I spent my own money on a bogus degree until someone invariably mentions ULC. Ahh, my misspent youth.
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I got ordained by ULC and a few other organizations for free. I haven't decided if I want to spend the $9 for the ordination credential. They'll give you a letter of good standing for $18. That's really all you need to perform marriages in the states that will accept a ULC ordination.
  12. GeeBee

    GeeBee Member

    I got ordained by ULC, paid for the credentials so I could officiate at a friend's wedding, and on impulse paid an extra $20 for a "Doctor of Metaphysics" certificate. But I've never actually shown that certificate to anyone other than my wife.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    My favourite ULC credential will always be the Jedi Knight Certificate - Jedi Knight Certificate
    Heck, it's less than $10 - in keeping with the simple lifestyle mandated by the Jedi. May the Force be with you! :smile:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Universal Life Church has a very interesting history. The original was started in Modesto, CA by a former Pentecostal pastor. The person who started The Monastery in Washington used to have some kind of affiliation with the original ULC, but was using his branch of the church to disguise a Studio 54-type club that was eventually raided by authorities. The original ULC says it does not endorse The Monastery, therefore, they shouldn't have the legal authority to ordain people. It doesn't matter to me because I signed up to be ordained by both.

    There is the Universal Life Church World Headquarters in Boca Raton, FL (I think they're in another part of Florida now). The founder, Michael Cauley, has been telling people that the ordinations given by the other ULCs are not valid in any state for officiating weddings, but there are court cases that say otherwise. He used to be forum moderator for ULC, but was removed from the position after multiple complaints of sexual harassment. He has criminal convictions and arrests on his record for theft and child abuse. He claims that his church is Christian, the other ULCs are pagan, and that his church has no affiliation with the other ULCs even though he was ordained by one of the other ULCs. I've talked to him on the phone. He's not all there. Whatever you do, do not try to become ordained by Universal One Church aka ULC World Headquarters. There is a good chance he will call you, yell at you, and call you all kinds of names. There are multiple complaints about the organization on BBB. That's probably why they changed their name and moved.
  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    There is a common misconception that a church, or a minister, requires the validation of some sort of external entity to legitimately function. It's like a secular legal notion of Apostolic Succession, that a church needs to tie back to a "real" church in order to function.

    Not true.

    There is no law requiring a church to incorporate. Churches are exempt from 501(c)3 filing requirements. Though, many churches DO incorporate (to limit liability) and many churches HAVE opted for 501(c)3, it doesn't change the fact that it is optional.

    I can gather people in my garage for prayer meetings. Whether we remain an unincorporated association or we actually incorporate, we still enjoy the legal status of being a "church."

    Were I so inclined, I could incorporate a religious entity tomorrow, ordain myself, and it would be "legal."

    The government doesn't have a guideline for "legal" ordination. There are denominations which ordain teenagers. There are denominations with no clergy at all (and thus they have to designate a lay person to officiate weddings).

    The reason why ULC ran into so many issues is that, while it claims to be a Church, it doesn't function like a church. Even if they claim to have a chapel with an "open pulpit" with regularly scheduled services, they don't do a very good job of hiding the fact that they are more interested in selling certificates (and "degrees") than in actually being a church. They also, for a period of time, gave their "ministers" their EIN for tax purposes.

    Predictably, the result was a whole lot of "ministers" filing tax returns trying to claim that the income from their day jobs was tax exempt. Ministers do enjoy tax exempt income, but only on the income they earn through ministerial activities.

    But none of that changes the fact that I could form a church tomorrow with the Secretary of State and ordain myself. And, barring any activities which draw the sort of negative attention that ULC received, the government will leave me in peace to officiate weddings for the rest of my days.

    It's hilarious to me that someone put that much effort into forming a splinter group of a group that has no set doctrine. It's not really funny that someone with a history of sexual harassment and child abuse would hide behind the guise of being clergy.

    By the way, I found my certificate! Doctor of Metaphysics, just in case you were wondering. Also, I erroneously stated that I earned it from ULC. Upon closer inspection, my "doctorate" was actually awarded by the Progressive Universal Life Church. Though that particular splinter group disappeared, I don't want anyone to worry, it's founder went on to form the Church of Tom Jones.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I guess that is Modesto's argument. They say they are a church whereas The Monastery is just a business. For the purposes of being able to solemnize marriages, this becomes important. However, even the ULC in Modesto has problems with this because most of its ministers do not have an actual relationship with the church. This was the Virginia Supreme Court's reasoning for not recognizing ordinations from ULC for the purpose of solemnizing marriages.
  17. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    They didn't try hard enough to find things that are actually weird. :dunno:
  18. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    My all-time favorite specialized certificate remains the one offered by the then state-approved Bernadean University: with their correspondence law degree, you got a certificate absolving you of all your lifetime sins.

    And of course it's not just on-line stuff. I've mentioned, from time to time, the splendid little book called "Epithetology" by Curtis Bartholomew, published 1948. 207 pages, itemizing thousands of degree and certificate titles, including, for instance, Doctor of Air Conditioning, Bachelor of Humanics, Doctor of Beauty Culture, Doctor of Elocution, Doctor of Hygiene, Doctor of Scientific Didactics, Doctor of Textile Dyeing, Master of Household Economy, Doctor of Lithuanian Philology, and (hiding in the bushes over there) Master of Camouflage.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    You know, I've often wondered what the diploma mill landscape was like in the 1940s. Today there are more than a handful of people who, according to their LinkedIn profiles, are gainfully employed with credentials from schools like Almeda or Atlantic International. So there's a certain element of people simply not caring to validate/verify education even today.

    Add to that the complication of no internet and greater geographic isolation. Today it would be no big deal for me to call a university in California from New York. In 1948 that would be a rather expensive (and somewhat time consuming) proposition.

    It makes me wonder if times like this were a golden age for diploma mills. They were surely the golden age of lying about your education.
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Diploma mills have been a problem in the US since the 19th century. (Not sure about the 18th -- or the Colonies. :smile: ) I just finished reading an account of the fight against fraudulent medical degrees in California, going back as far as the 19th century.

    Apparently in 1945, the fake degree industry in America got quite a boost, with the end of WWII. The bad schools were lining up to take GI Bill money! End result - strict requirements for accreditation.

    You might like this article from the CHEA site: Degree Mills:An Old Problem And A New Threat (April 2005)

    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2015

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