I'm fairly new to Active Rain and have really enjoyed and benefited from the many informative, insightful and often humorous blogs of others. The site has been quite an eye-opener too. I did not realize that there was quite so much contentiousness within the staging community about the certification process or lack thereof.
I have to add my two cents. Regarding classes and certifications for stagers it seems to me that a couple of things are obvious. Just as with any other service, those who meet the customers' needs with professionalism, skill and courtesy will be successful. Let us address that second requirement, skill.
Just about every website that I've been to that offers staging education courses proclaims that you don't have to be an interior decorator to be a stager-decorating and staging are different. However, I believe that having good solid interior design skills shouldn't be downplayed in the world of staging. As a matter of fact, I think when stagers try to distance themselves too much from decorators/designers that they may be devaluing what they offer.
It seems to me (through my research of staging certification programs) that there is a real emphasis on learning how to run a business and less on teaching the specific skills of how to decorate a home to appeal to a wide audience. Sure, this sort of decorating is very different from the norm in that you are trying to depersonalize and appeal to as many as possible, rather than personalizing and reflecting the tastes of a single client, but it is still decorating none-the-less.
I know that being a successful stager requires great project management skills, good people skills, and business acumen. But, let's not forget that what really sets apart good stagers is their creativity and eye for good design. It is this skill, which is often innate and should be constantly honed, that must be a part of the discussion about what staging is. I hope that as efforts to organize stagers and create uniformity in certification continue, that this point will not be forgotten.
This is just how I'm feeling at the moment. I'd love to hear what others have to say!