I don't think anybody here is afraid of competition. What we are concerned about is underprepared contractors who are tempted to adopt a trade they don't really understand because someone, who should know better, told them landscape lighting is easy.
Landscape Lighting is a trade that requires an artistic eye, a mastery of the craft and a commitment to quality that is often inconvenient. It is not possible to do quality landscape lighting and get off work before sunset.
At our best, we are Artisans. We are masters of both the art and craft of outdoor lighting. At our worst, we are cowboys who think that anybody who can twist low-voltage wire together is a Landscape Lighting Contractor.
I agree with Bob, the solution involves the manufacturers. I believe they should get out of the business of "certifying" contractors after a single 4 to 6 hour workshop. I think we should continue to make every effort to collaborate with Manufactures to establish the AOLP certification programs as their Gold Standard. The AOLP should continue to work with Manufactures to explore the practicality of their meeting our instructional/professional practice guidelines for the benefit of our profession and the growth of a qualified a pool of contractors who are a credit to the profession.
Most professions require Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for continued membership and participation as a member of those professions. Architectural Lighting does it and the IES administers and supervises the award of credit. It is an excellent model.
The CLVLT is a step and the COLD program is a giant step; both are in the right direction...