All legitimate and credible certifications have a re-certification program. In fact, ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, a quality accreditation body, requires credible certification providers to have their own re-certification program. Requirement 6.5.1 states, “The certification body shall define recertification requirements according to the competence standard and other relevant documents, to ensure that the certified person continues to comply with the current certification requirements.”
Continued competency can be demonstrated though many methodologies such as continuing profession education, examination (often not re-taking the original exam but the latest version of the exam), or portfolios (when there is a product involved). The fact is, there needs to be a time limit for the certification to ensure the consumers that the individual holding the certificate has current industry knowledge.
This is why several governmental agencies are mandating accreditation of certifications in fields such as IT, Construction, and Social Security. A certification’s main purpose is to “protect the public/consumers” NOT to protect the profession. When health, safety and security are at risk, employing a certified individual is necessary, but a certification does not stay valid for a “lifetime”.
It's a general assumption that if professionals are not required to maintain their knowledge and skills in their profession, they won’t. Today, credible organizations within professional domains require their members to provide evidence of a continuous learning as a basis for maintaining their license.