Not looking for advice, just opinions. The situation is fairly complex and the set up lengthy. Apologies. I appreciate anyone’s input.
Let’s say you have just completed a fairly rigorous training program that will allow you to be a licensed practitioner of X. The license to practice X is issued by The State, simply by virtue of completing the training program. You also wish to obtain certification by the National Board of X (NBX). While this certification is not a legal requirement to practice X, because it is widely viewed as an attestation of competence, and because it is nearly impossible to obtain employment as an X practitioner without it, certification by the NBX is a de facto requirement.
X is a broad field, and for training and certification purposes, it is divided into two general areas, X1 and X2. (This is not the case for licensing, and the license is granted in X generally, which allows one legally to practice both X1 and X2). One can complete training programs in X1 only, X2 only, or a combined X1-2 training program. Likewise, the NBX offers certification in X1 only, X2 only, and combined X1-2.
In order to be eligible for NBX certification, one must complete the appropriate training program. An X1 training program must involve 1 unit of X1 training and 1 unit of training in X generally. Likewise, an X2 training program must involve 1 unit of X2 training and 1 unit of training in X generally. A combined X1-2 training program must involve 1 unit of X1 training, 1 unit of X2 training, and 1 unit of training in X generally. A couple things to note:
(a) By completing combined X1-2 training, one is eligible for certification in combined X1-2, but NOT in X1 AND X2 separately (because in the combined program the required unit of X general training does double duty, so to speak, so if one were to do the certifications separately, one would need an additional unit of X general training); and
(b) If one qualifies for combined X1-2 certification, it is a foregone conclusion that one qualifies for EITHER X1 or X2 certification if either one is done separately.
The process of obtaining NBX certification is: (1) apply for the type of certification you want; (2) have your training credentials evaluated by the NBX to verify that you have completed the required training; and (3) pass an exam. Exams are offered in X1 and X2. If you apply for and are determined eligible for combined X1-2 certification, you must pass both exams.
The fees charged by the NBX, which include the fees for having your credentials evaluated and for taking the exam (although the fees are not itemized), are $1500 for either X1 certification or X2 certification, and $2600 for combined X1-2 certification.
If one applies for and is determined eligible for combined X1-2 certification, then takes both the X1 and X2 exams, and passes one exam and fails the other, one has three options:
(1) Do nothing, and remain certified in nothing.
(2) Retake the failed exam. The fee for doing so is the full single fee, $1500.
(3) Amend your original application for combined X1-2 certification to an application for certification only in the area for which you passed the exam; then your passing score on that exam is applied to the amended application, and you are granted certification in that area only. Note that you are NOT retaking an exam. The fee for that option is $1500.
Thus, considering options (2) and (3), it is apparent that you end up paying the same fee whether you retake an exam or not. In option (3), you end up paying the same fee you would pay if you were to have your credentials evaluated and take a single exam for the first time, even though NEITHER of those activities are required, and you have in fact already paid the fees for both of those activities.
My questions are:
(1) Is this fee schedule legal? (It sounds like double billing.)
(2) Is it ethical?