Unlike most industries, event management doesn’t have many academic attachments (degrees, courses, credits). Only now are universities including event management certifications in their curriculum and even then, it’s usually as an addendum. Most event professionals come from a variety of unrelated fields—marketing, administration, management—and they come because they’ve found a passion for it. But learning on the job and winging it can only take you so far.
That’s where professional event planning certifications come in. They do for event management what universities have done elsewhere for hundreds of years—they give you a few coveted letters to add behind your name. These—such as CMP, CMM, CPCE—are a sign of your expertise and credibility, and even one certificate from a well-known event association can go a long way in increasing your earnings. In this post, we look at 10 important event industry designations and how you can get them.
Certified Meeting Planner (CMP)
Introduced in 1985 by the Events Industry Council (EIC), the CMP certification is today, an internationally recognized mark of mastery in the MICE industry. The goal of the CMP certification is threefold:
Promote credibility in the MICE industry
Preserve the standards of practice
Most companies prefer hiring someone who is CMP-certified as it’s proof that they satisfy industry standards. Currently, over 11,000 professionals from 55 countries hold a CMP certificate, which is valid for five years, after which you have to apply for recertification.
How to earn a CMP certification
The good news is that you can apply at any time. The not-so-good news is you’ve got to be approved by the council before you sit for the exam. This approval depends on your education and experience related to the events industry. You must demonstrate your capability as a proficient event planner. Once your application is approved, you should take the exam within a year. The exam is offered year-round at secure testing centers onsite and secure remote proctoring virtually through their testing partner, Prometric.
Certified Association Executive (CAE)
This is not an events industry certificate per se, however, it holds a lot of clout in the industry. Awarded by the American Society of Association Executives, it shows that an individual is excellent at managing an association (organization or team). CAE certifications are valid for a period of three years, after which you have to renew it. This is done to ensure that you are keeping up with the times and have the competencies to rise to new challenges.
How to earn a CAE certification
To apply for the CAE certification, you’ve got to meet certain education and experience requirements and sign a pledge to uphold the ASAE’s Standards of Conduct. Once your application is approved, you can sit for the exams at any of the scheduled test sites globally at Scantron testing centers. It is a four-hour, computer-based test, and results will be mailed to applicants six weeks from the last date of the testing window. Exams are held twice a year in Spring (usually May) and Winter (usually December).