• There is a real problem to be solved with nontrivial risks and costs that are attributable to a lack of expertise.
• The proposed certification must make a significant, measurable improvement in the problem.
• A general result doesn't justify a particular method. For example, inspections are known to be effective, but that effectiveness depends greatly on the participants' knowledge and analytical skills. A program teaching a formulaic inspection method to people not otherwise well versed in the field should not automatically qualify.
• The measured improvement must be in the problem itself, and graduates should show a minimum proficiency in performing the task, not simply in answering questions about how it should be done.
• The improvement should be from the average state of practice, not a straw-man state of complete unfamiliarity with the task. If certification is to be mandatory, it should make a difference in the real world.
• The skills taught and tested for should be chosen because of the difference they make, not because of their being teachable and testable. If that can't be done, certification isn't the answer.