A nice first post Jim. Welcome to the Merry Band.
Here's a personal note. Years ago I was in IHospE, SERT, the Society of X-Ray Technology and the AAMI (note well that most of these are now either called something else or gone altogether). Yes, I was Tech Eng and all that. Whilst passing through my compulsory mid-life crisis, I asked myself what use it was paying all that money every year, and let the whole lot lapse. Result? Nothing at all. It hasn't affected me in any way, apart from unread 'journals' and saving a bit of money by not having them posted around the world. I have never been turned away because I wasn't 'in' this or that, but have still managed to 'hold my own' working with professional engineers, architects, physicians and the like.
I believe that there will always be work available for those willing to do it. But the day I am prevented from doing the work I've being doing for the last 30 years just because I haven't joined some totally unnecessary 'quango', will be the day that I finally pack it in (..roll on, then, I hear some say!).
And, while I'm in fighting mode ('haven't had my first cup of tea yet) - personally, I tire of all this talk about the 'need for degrees'. I often work alongside (younger) techs who have taken the opportunity afforded them and have gained their degrees (like most of my generation, it was never an option granted to me). But I challenge anyone to claim that these qualifications today are worth more than my hard-earned HNC of 25 years ago. The whole thing has been devalued. Many of these young guys cannot string two written words together, and that's the truth. Don't even ask about spelling. Spanner, what's that? Educated idiots, quite frankly. To get the job done, what these people really need is decent, up-to-date training at City & Guilds level!
I'm all for communication, sharing the knowledge and good stuff like that. It's great that we now have the internet, and, indeed this very forum! Certification has been an 'issue' as far back as I can remember. They have it in the US, and if we must have it here, I suggest that someone takes a look at their 'model', which at least involves studying for a proper (ie, relevant to the job) examination. But succumb to the 'climate of fear'? Forget it, Mates.
Excuse me now, I must rush off to work (while I still can)!