Often when we think of education we usually think of imparting knowledge, skills and behaviors. And that is the heart of education. However, education has another part, and that is the documentation of education experiences. That documentation takes the forms of diplomas, degrees and certificates.
In recent years the Information Technology (IT) field has attempted to keep pace with the changes in skill sets required for specific jobs through certifications. Some of those with tradition degrees have looked at certifications and wondered what these are all about. But certifications are extremely useful for two reasons. First if you have skills you obtained through hands on experience, a certification can help document that knowledge. Second is if someone has a degree from a decade or so back, a certification can show that the person has stayed current in their skills sets. But in the end, certification does not replace a traditional degree, it is a separate track for documenting learning. It really does not compete with a degree, but it can supplement a degree program.
Another way that documenting learning has been to take equivalence tests. Many colleges and universities will allow a student to take a test that is in place of taking a course. Sometimes it would satisfy a required course or give advanced standing.
In regards to theological education, someone should create equivalence tests for basic courses. This would extremely helpful for laymen who sense a call to the ministry late in life and begin preparing for the ministry. While a preaching course being replaced by a 150 multiple choice test is on the ridiculous side, introduction to Bible could be done through a test.