My friend Susan Dunlap shot me an email last week and asked the following:

Wondering if you have an opinion of Digital Media and Marketing certificate programs. NYU offers one, and the course descriptions look relevant, timely and career-bending ( Duke offers one, too — a path leading to OMCP certification.

Since this is a question that might pop up in anyone’s travels through the digital marketing space, I thought I’d share my answer with you, too. I wrote:

If they’re through an accredited academic institution, I feel better about them. But most “certification” programs are run by bloggers who are trying to make a buck. So the “Social Media Explorer Certification Program” would be 1,000 shovels full of bullshit, but would look pretty on your resume.

If it says NYU or Duke? Well, that’s different, even though they really don’t have any more authority to offer a “certification” in it than anyone else. At least there’s some academic integrity behind what they do.

The thing about certification is that you first have to have some authority in the given field to be able to apply it, otherwise, it’s just you declaring yourself to have authority. If that’s open game, then I declare myself an authority in ninja warfare so that only people I certify are actually ninja warriors. And I refuse to certify Christopher Penn, an actual ninja.

So just know that no certification in social media or digital marketing or blogging is worth more than the paper it’s printed on. Unless you can find a gullible hiring manager who thinks it’s the bee’s knees. Then, I guess, it might be worth something. Of course, if you didn’t learn much in the certification course, even that will come back to bite you in the ass.

What do you think? Are their certification programs out there you would trust more than others? Would you hire someone with a social media or digital marketing certification listed on their resume? What if it were from a known, credible academic institution?

The comments are yours.

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