I posted this response under another thread about bee blogs (detest blogs).
I must admit a prejudice where the "Master Beekeeper" program is concerned.
It is built around all the conventional scientific data plus an emphasis on community service. I don't really see the connection between community service and being and "expert" in the practical art of beekeeping. I admit it is nice if a knowledge beekeeper can do presentations concerning his avocation is a good thing but it's not really a part of beekeeping per se.
The problem I have with the conventional scientific data is, through the results of my own experience, that much of it is based on scientific studies conducted using insufficient time samples. A four to eight week study in the middle of the summer might give an indication that a proposed mite treatment kills mites but it is so devoid of sufficient study of the effect of the treatment has on the bees over several years of exposure that it's laughable. Yet these mini studies are pulished and expounded to be the end all and sites the data accumulated during it's short life.
My experience tells me that if you treat your bees with a miticide (pick one) year after year, that soon your bees are so sick from the exposure to the treatments that the bees languish, enter a cycle of continuous supercedure, and any excess reared queens are quickly superceded too. The only thing that will save the bees from dwindling away in this country are those of us who refuse to prop up our bees with medications, and other substances, and return to keeping bees as if the mites and other perisites don't exist.
When it comes to books, and I'm a late commer to this topic as I didn't own a book on beekeeping until about 5 years ago, is that there is so much misinformation in published works on bees that it's a wonder there are any successful beekeepers left.
I spend part of every beekeeper's meeting attempting to dispel advice gleaned from the pages of the latest bee book that a beekeeper took as gospel and he suddenly finds his bees are dying on him.
A beekeeper who publishes a book on beekeeping after a few years of keeping bees does not make him an expert.
A certificate awarded for attending a series of classes and doing a little community service does not make someone and expert on bees.
A college degree doesn't make someone an expert on beekeeping.
Each case might make him knowledgeable, to some degree, but not an expert.
What makes someone an expert on Beekeeping is astute observations while shoulder deep in bee hives over the course of a quarter century or so. An Expert Beekeeper is someone who can have another beekeeper, seeking knowledge, come to them with a problem, and from the discription given by the seeker of knowledge, can describe to said seeker, exactly what his bee hive looks like inside in detail, the bees behaviour, and what actions the seeker of knowledge has done to the beehive so far that season and what part of those actions caused the problem. Then the Expert Beekeeper can tell the seeker of knowledge exactly what needs to be done to correct the problem.
There are probably less than a dozen of us on this forum who can do that, and even then we'll disagree on some aspects of beekeeping, since beekeeping is not an exact science, and I'm not even sure we would even consider ourselves experts....sperts maybe, but not experts. I had a mentor who kept bees for over 60 years when I meant him, who attempted to teach me as much of his experience he could in the 6+ years he mentored me, and I've kept bees for over 50 years myself but I wouldn't call myself an expert yet as I'm still learing.
Although I can tell a seeker of knowledge what he willl find the next time he goes into his beehives from what he tells me he saw the last time he was in his hives, I'm not an expert. I can't tell you all the names of the various parts of a bee nor can I begin to tell you scientific names but I do know what goes on inside a beehive.
To which I'll add: In my experience an "Expert" is someone who thinks they've learned all they need to know about a subject, not everything about it, just everything they need to know.