June 04, 2020
By Anna Linthicum

Becoming a certified event planner is a great way to set yourself apart in a very competitive industry. Especially during these less-than-normal times, getting a certification is a wonderful way to show your dedication to your career, attract job opportunities, and pick up additional professional skills. Luckily, there are courses and programs tailored to all kinds of event professionals. Navigating the different options available can be overwhelming, so in this blog post we will walk you through some of the different opportunities to help enhance your career.


Requirements for Becoming a Certified Event Planner

There are many different certifications available for event professionals to advance their careers, each with their own objectives and goals. Each certification has a different set of requirements, but an overarching theme seems to be that applicants must possess both relevant education and real-time experience in the events industry. Most certifications require that you have at least 2 years of prior professional experience, so make sure that you have the credentials before you apply for an event planning certification.

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Event Planner

There are many benefits to becoming a certified event planner, both long-term and short-term. Below are some of the key values of attaining your event planning certification.

It shows you are ready to invest in your future

Many event planning certifications require some amount of time or money put toward the degree. By investing resources, you are showing future employers and clients that you are devoted to your future development as an event professional. You are looking forward in your career, and that is always a good look.

It can lead to a higher salary

Look it up – there are stats all over the Internet that show that meeting and event planners who possess a professional certification make more money than those who do not hold one. Make an investment in your future and apply to a certification program.

It will help you get recruited for new positions and job opportunities

Unfortunately, in today’s climate, more and more people are finding themselves suddenly without work. If you are one of those people, getting an event planning certification can be a great way to set yourself up for the future. It is a productive way to utilize your time, and when companies and clients begin hiring again, you will be competitively positioned to attract new positions and opportunities.

It can be a fun way to advance your career

There are the typical event planning certifications available that suit almost every event professional. But there are also some unique courses and programs that are not only helpful in advancing your career but are also fun. Here are just a few examples of the interesting courses available from the Event Leadership Institute:

  1. Fundraising Event Management Certificate
  2. Wedding & Event Design Certificate
  3. Event Entrepreneurship: Business Foundations Certificate
  4. Venue Sales Certificate
  5. Technical Meeting & Event Production Certificate


Top Event Planning Certifications

There are a lot of different certifications and programs available to help you achieve your professional goals. One of the most popular options is the Event Industry Council’s CMP certification, designed for meeting and event professionals. However, there are also more specialized programs for travel professionals, trade show marketers, and special events professionals. These are good options if you would like to expand your knowledge on a specific area of events. Below are some of the most well-known certifications available to meeting and event professionals:

  1. CMP – Certified Meeting Professional

This certificate is probably the most recognized on the list. It is a commonly recognized program in the industry, and it is a great way to set yourself apart as a dedicated meeting and event professional.

  1. CSEP – Certified Special Events Professional

This program is run through the International Live Events Association (ILEA). It is tailored towards those who focus on designing unique special events.

  1. GTP – Global Travel Professional

The GTP certificate is hosted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). This certificate was designed for business travel managers looking to enhance their professional development.

  1. CMM – Certification in Meeting Management

The CMM program was created by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in partnership with Indiana University. The appealing thing about this certificate is that you can either take it onsite and in-person for an authentic classroom experience, or you can take it virtually.

  1. CEM – Certified in Exhibition Management

The International Association of Exhibition and Events (IAEE) created the CEM certificate, which is fitting as it is the industry expert in exhibition management.

  1. CTSM – Certified Trade Show Marketer

This is one of the few that you can apply for with little industry experience. It is designed both for newcomers to the industry and seasoned professionals. It is a good certification to pursue if you are interested in the marketing side of events, and/or if you’re new to the industry and looking to stand out to employers and clients.

  1. Cvent Certifications (Event and Hospitality Professionals)

Our Cvent certifications are unique in that it is a technology certification. Much like being Google Analytics or Microsoft certified, getting a Cvent certification is a great addition to your resume that you can carry from role to role.

Event Planning Association Certifications

There are dozens of event industry associations, and many of these groups offer certifications of their own. For example, the International Live Events Association (ILEA) manages the CSEP program designed specifically for special event planners. Here are a few other interesting certifications offered by the world’s largest event associations:

  1. Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

MPI not only offers courses tailored towards the CMP program, but also has created many of its own unique certifications. There are degrees in event design, event marketing, and more. Most of these programs also contribute towards your CMP hours, so you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Talk about time management skills!

  1. Destinations International (DI)

DI runs the CDME (Certified Destination Management Executive) certificate program. This certificate is tailored towards those professionals at destination organizations who want to advance their careers in the field.

  1. American Marketing Association (AMA)

While AMA is not specifically an event industry association, we all know that marketing and event planning go hand-in-hand. AMA’s Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) program will help position you as a well-rounded event professional who can plan as well as market an effective events program. Learn more about effective event marketing strategies here.

Online Event Planning Courses and Certifications

During this time of social distancing and remote work, having the flexibility to pursue educational opportunities online is of the utmost importance. One group providing many online opportunities is the Event Leadership Institute. The website does a great job of outlining the course information, start date, course length, and CMP credits.

MPI is also offering online masterclasses to help professionals prepare for the CMP exam. The industry association also provides opportunities for scholarships to help event and meeting professionals fund their completion of the CMP program.

At Cvent, we have an online customer community platform that professionals can use to connect with one another and form study groups or ask questions while completing their certifications. It is especially important during these times to use these professional community groups to stay connected and continue your professional development, even from afar.

Relevant Online Certifications for Conquering the “New Normal”

In this “new normal” we are entering, certain skills are becoming especially invaluable for professionals to learn and add to their portfolios. Below are some certifications that we find particularly useful.

Event Leadership Institute’s (ELI) Virtual Event & Meeting Management Certificate

This certificate was created with MPI to help event professionals navigate the world of virtual events. In the coming months, virtual and/or hybrid events will become more and more prominent, so it is especially important to learn how to manage these types of events to adapt your events program for the future. To learn more about creating a successful virtual event, read this guide.

Cvent’s Venue Sourcing Certification

While virtual events are particularly prominent right now, there will be a time when at least some events will be held onsite at venues. When that day comes, you must be prepared to find a location that is safe for your attendees. Learning how to use Cvent’s venue sourcing platform to navigate square footage for seating arrangements, location, and more will help you choose the right space for your next onsite event.

Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) Event Crisis Communications Certificate Program

MPI’s certificate in event crisis communications will teach you how to effectively articulate changes to your stakeholders. Learn more about how to manage your risk as an event professional here.

Cvent Certification

Cvent offers certification programs for both event and hospitality professionals so you can set yourself apart from the competition in either industry. By becoming Cvent-certified, you can demonstrate your mastery of the world’s leading event management technology and take these skills with you to your next job.

Through August 31st, Cvent will be offering our certification programs FREE to both customers and prospective customers. This means that even if you haven’t purchased Cvent, you can become certified in the technology so you will be prepared if a future client or employer utilizes Cvent solutions.

Look into Getting Certified Today

There is never a wrong time to pursue professional development opportunities, and in particular, an event planning certification. However, during these times of uncertainty and an increasingly competitive job market, it is good to start considering these educational opportunities. This is the time to position and market yourself as the most educated, most prepared, and most enthusiastic event professional in the industry. Take advantage of these free opportunities, do some research, dedicate some time, and move into your future with confidence.


Anna Linthicum

Anna Linthicum

A recent graduate of Washington and Lee University, I am currently the Sales Development Representative for the Marketing Partnerships team here at Cvent.

My writing journey got its start with stories about my cousins and our incredible adventures together on family vacations. You can find me organizing my closet, doing Kayla Itsines workouts, or watching The Office for the umpteenth time.

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