I mentioned in an earlier post that many in the certification industry are still debating the appropriateness of certifying agencies selling products or services other than certification. The certification industry standards (like NCCA and ANSI) do NOT prevent selling products or service except under certain conditions like 1) requiring a separate product purchase as part of certification or 2) accrediting the education programs leading to the certification.
However, some individuals believe certifying agencies should not sell education-related products and some believe they should not sell anything other than certification. I don't get it. If a product supports you in accomplishing your mission and goals, why shouldn't you sell it? As an example, if your mission is public protection, why shouldn't you offer self-assessments to help your certificants indentify their learning needs? Why shouldn't you offer an online searchable database of industry learning activities? Why shouldn't you offer certificate programs in targeted areas where skills are lacking? Aren't these products helping your cause?
The usual argument is that it's a conflict of interest. I don't see it. Certainly, conflict can occur...if there is a professional association that also creates (or desires to create) these products. But that's a competition (and political and turf) issue, not a conflict of interest.
So far I haven't heard a compelling argument for this "certification as the sole product" belief. What do you think?