Did you know YouTube has a certification program? It’s a not-so-secret but not-very-public series of courses the Google-owned company launched sometime around December 2012 that puts employees at select multi-channel networks and YouTube service providers through an intensive curriculum that dives deep into the intricacies of the world’s largest video sharing site’s ecosystem and technologies.

The in-person classes are held at YouTube facilities in Los Angeles and New York. After intense, full-day classes at those facilities for multiple days in a row, the students are given a couple hours on the clock and a multiple choice test that is meant to assess their comprehension of the given coursework. If the students score a certain percentage correct on the exams, they are able to carry the title of YouTube Certified for 12 months. If three or more employees at a company ace the test, that company can put a nifty YouTube Certified badge on its website.

The not-very-public certification process became just slightly more known to the masses in recent days when a YouTube Certification Program page appeared in Google’s support subdomain. The short explanation revealed the company currently offers certification for the “Audience Development” track, which includes expert education in the following:

  • YouTube Platform and Channel Strategy
  • Content Strategies for Sustainable Viewership
  • Audience Development Strategy and Methods
  • Multi-Channel Networks: Best Practices
  • Copyright
  • Monetization and Partner Sales
  • Rights Management

So, who’s completed the classes and passed the tests so far? Here’s a list of the current crop of YouTube Certified organizations:

And these are the ones that completed the certification program outside of the US:

It’s an interesting mix of multi-channel networks and entities that are helping content creators maximize their YouTube audiences in a number of ways outside of the player, but what does it mean that they’re now certified? As far as we can tell, two things:

  1. Their websites and marketing materials all get to don a YouTube Certified badge and language.
  2. They’re trusted companies in the eyes of the powers that be at YouTube and are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the service.

YouTube cannot possibly offer the kind of support necessary to accommodate all of its creators, which are now uploading upwards of 100 hours of video every minute of every day. They need educated partners to assist their internal staff in spreading the site’s best practices to the internet at large. The certification model ensures individuals and organizations that work with YouTube are circulating accurate information about the site and how it functions. It’s also a tactic Google has employed with its other products (including Google Apps, Google AdWords, Google AdSense, and more) to presumably beneficial effect.

That’s where the benefits of YouTube Certification appear to begin and end. At least for now. Perhaps these YouTube Certified organizations will, at some point, be offered access to special tools or insights, but as of today and as far as we know, the badge means they’re really good at YouTube, really good at taking tests about YouTube, and know at least a few people at YouTube.

YouTube photo by Rego.