Other than IT Certs, what are some occupational qualifications I can earn by exam only?

Other than IT Certifications (MCSE, MCP, Cisco, etc.) are there real-world occupational qualifications/certifications that can be earned by examination only, without any requirement to show work experience or classroom time?

I’m thinking it would be an interesting conversation starter to walk into an interview for a software development position and talk about why I have “Illinois Certified Sanitation Worker” on my resume under Certifications.

I believe in some states, it is possible to sit for the bar exam without having a law degree - but I may be misremembering - perhaps one of our US law dopers can comment.

Certified Bookkeeper and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor in the financial field.

CPR/First Aid can be earned by attending a class.

My wife has a certificate in flagging (directing traffic by hand signals) that she earned as a volunteer police officer. The required classes include some practical experience, but no degree or work experience is required.

I guess a GED isn’t what you’re looking for?

The Series 7 license has no formal qualifications. You do have to be sponsored by a FINRA member firm. Typically, people are hired by brokerage firms for entry level positions under a condition of employment that they pass the exam within a specified time period. There are no formal education or degree requirements however.

Series 7

Nope, I already have a High School diploma and a BS. My understanding is that I can’t even take the GED due to the fact that I already have an equivalent qualification. I guess I was asking about “occupational” qualifications and not “academic” qualifications. I consider the GED to be primarily academic, though it is certainly respected to at least some degree as an occupational qualification by some employers in the same sense as a High School diploma or a Bachelor’s Degree is.

I was aware of the Bar Exam possibility, but my state only allows a non-Law School graduate to take the exam if they have undergone a formal apprenticeship with a registered attorney (i.e. not just studied on their own).

The ACE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification for auto mechanics is two-pronged - you have to 1) pass the test and 2) show 2 years of industry experience as an auto mechanic, in any order. (that is, if I passed the exam now, they would hold it in abeyance and only grant the certification until I worked for two years in a shop and got my supervisor to write to ACE saying that yes, I worked in his shop for X amount of time FTE etc.). They will apparently let you take the exam first. Some other programs require the classroom time or the work experience before you even set foot inside the testing center for the test to count.

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from PMI.

Nope. Wikipedia says:

“Candidates must verify a high school diploma or an associates degree with 60 months (7,500 hours) of project management experience, or a bachelor’s degree with 36 months (4,500 hours) of project management experience. In both cases candidates must also have 35 contact hours of project management education. The application for the exam and verification of education and experience are done online at the PMI website.”

I’m 95% certain that this is correct, though I can check the PMP site later to verify.

To the best of my knowledge, the few states that allow this (California, Maine, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming) all require the study to be done under the supervision of a practicing lawyer or judge. So basically, it’s an apprenticeship and doesn’t quite fit the bill.

I believe you can become a licensed Maine Guide (hunting/fishing/recreation guide for hire) by paying a fee and taking oral and written tests given by the state. You don’t have to live in Maine, and there are no specific training requirements.

Associate of the Society of Actuaries

I think you can become a fellow without experience as well, but I’m not 100% sure on that.

I think it might depend on the state, but you might be able to take the pharmacy technician certification exam without having done anything beforehand.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (read: the US-Canadian Foundation for people who work in the health insurance and pension industries) offers the Certified Employee Benefits Program, which is exam-based. You’ll need the course materials to pass the exams, though; my wife has one exam left, and it’s taken her over two years to work through the whole thing, which is quicker than most, apparently.

It also counts as a third of a couple of masters’ degree programs at the University of Pennsylvania.

I don’t know whether you still can but the freakishly talented golfer Bobby Jones did it back in the 1920s.

*Bobby Jones was one of the greatest players in the history of golf. But, to describe Jones in only those terms is to tell just a small portion of the story. Jones was a man of many interests, pursuing a demanding and diverse education even as he was becoming a legend in golf. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a mechanical engineering degree in 1920 when he was only 18 years old. *

*At 21, Jones went to Harvard College, earning an English degree in just three semesters. *

*At 24, Jones attended Emory University Law School in Atlanta. After completing one year of study, he decided to take the bar exam. When he passed, Jones withdrew from law school to join his father’s firm as a practicing lawyer.

Speaking of golf, technically anybody can qualify for the US Open (for a very narrow version of “occupational”.)

EPA air conditioning certs. FCC broadcast and technical licenses.


Read thread before posting? NO

Most states, if not all, require CPA’s to work under the supervision of a licensed CPA for a certain amount of time to obtain certification and licensing. To maintain a license as a CPA, certain amounts of CPE must also be obtained on an annual basis.

All classes of FCC amateur radio licenses.
Illinois Class-C Drivers’ License.

I believe anyone can be LEED certified, in one of two different areas, without being an Engineer (FWIW).