A quick quiz: what do CMP, CSEP and CGMP all have in common? Stuck for an answer? They’re all forms of event planner certification, designed to help organisers take their professional knowledge to the next level.
If you know little about why these exist and what they can do for you and your events, it’s time to do some research.
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What is an event planner certification?
Every industry has its own set of dedicated courses, programmes and initiatives for educating its members. Just like a football coach might obtain a licence to prove their learning to a certain standard, events professionals will use something like a CMP (Certified Meetings Professional) for the same reason.
With formats ranging from multiple-choice exams to practical assessments, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to these qualifications. Each programme has its own special focus, whether for best practice within event planning or something a little more niche, like catering or conference management.
Some courses are recognised globally, while mature markets like the US have their own certifications and standards to follow.
To get an idea of the best course for your profession, it might be worth asking people who are at a later stage of their career. That way you can build a picture of the skills and qualifications needed for the next phase of your growth.
Why do I need a certification?
While event planners are not required to have an official qualification, the obtainment of widely recognised standards like the CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) and CMP is highly advised. Let’s go through some of the plus points of these accreditations.
The idea of an event planner certification is to pit yourself against the criteria of a model professional. In order to pass, you’ll need to increase your knowledge of industry standards, practices and ethics, or face missing out.
Proof of knowledge
If you’ve dedicated over 10 years of your career to managing a certain type of event, future employers might think that you only have skills in a very specific area. By getting an accreditation, you can showcase your expertise in areas outside of your current remit, all ready for the next career move.
Meeting planners with a CMP are said to earn $10,000 more per year than those without the credential. If you really want to step up in the world of events, it could be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Proof of credentials
The importance of an event planner certification is made even greater when considering the ramifications for a business.
Large organisations tend to avoid handing contracts out to companies that lack the appropriate licenses and registrations. By bringing yourself up to a higher standard of certification, you can start to level the playing field.
Practice before application
Organisers have to carry a range of different skills, from project management to marketing and human resources. It’s common to jump into the deep end and learn about things ‘on the job’, but at what cost?
Certain courses give you the opportunity to grow your skillset in a relaxed setting; i.e. not on the event floor, and not through mistakes.
In-person sessions provide an avenue to learn and build valuable connections with like-minded professionals. Who knows which future colleague, client or employer could be attending the same course as you?
The events industry is a constantly evolving beast. We’re making huge strides in areas like sustainability, which now represents an increased consideration for event organisers around the world.
If you want to learn more about the modern-day standards of event professionals, an event planner certification is one of the best and most productive ways of doing it.