Regardless of where you’re coming from, becoming an event planner certified professional has many benefits if you’re interested in working in events ongoing. It can help you gain the skills and knowledge necessary to plan events successfully. It can also help you build a solid reputation in the event planning industry. Additionally, certification can lead to career advancement opportunities. The right certification program can provide you with the tools and training you need to succeed as an event planner.
Even if you have been in the event planning industry for years, obtaining certification can give you an edge over the competition and demonstrate your dedication to the field. There are many different types of event planner certifications available, so it’s important to choose one that fits your specific needs.
In this article, we will explore what it takes to become a certified event planner and its benefits. We will also examine the different certification programs available to you.
What is an Event Planner Certification?
An event planner certification is a designation given to individuals who have demonstrated their expertise in the field of event planning. Most certification programs require applicants to complete an exam testing their knowledge of various aspects related to event planning.
These courses can help improve your skills as an event planner by providing information on topics such as safety, contract law, marketing, and financial management. Certification can also provide you with access to additional resources that can further enhance your skill set and allow you to offer more services to clients. For example, if you obtain a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation, you will gain access to valuable networking opportunities with other meeting planners.
How do I Become an Event Planner Certified Professional?
There are several different ways to become an event planner accredited professional. However, not all certification programs are created equal. The first step is identifying what type of certification meets your needs. While there are many different types of certifications available, not all of them should be pursued by every event planner looking to enhance their career. Some certifications may provide more value than others based on your work experience. Ascertaining which ones make the most sense for you will help ensure that you get maximum return on your investment of time and money into becoming certified as an events planner.
Many educational institutions provide courses and certifications that are appropriate for someone with little or no experience in event planning. These courses often include instruction about how to plan events from start-to-finish, common types of meetings and conventions, meeting management strategies, project management techniques, basic accounting practices for planning events, and the basics of catering services.
What to Look For in an Event Planning Certification Program
When searching for an appropriate certification, consider these three factors:
The first step is to determine the relevance of the certification to your current or future job goals. Some certifications may provide more value depending on what type of work you are currently doing or want to do in the future.
It is also important to consider how well-recognized a particular certification program is within the industry. Some certifications are more widely recognized than others, so it is essential to do your research beforehand.
The final step involves comparing the cost of different certifications available in your field. While some certificates may cost more than others, the fundamental variables to consider are how much time and money it will take you to obtain the certification. If your employer can pay for courses or testing, this will help offset some of the costs associated with obtaining professional certifications.
The Benefits of Event Planning Certification
There are a number of benefits associated with obtaining an event planning certification, including:
Better Pay and Advancement Opportunities
Having an event planning certification can help increase your salary and the likelihood of promotion within an organization. In addition to promoting your services, some employers may even offer financial assistance with the costs associated with getting certified.
Increased Mobility and Job-Security
Obtaining a certification can also help improve job mobility and reduce the risk of being let go from a position. If you have only been working in event planning for a short time or lack a college degree or formal training in this field, having a professional certification can provide confirmation that you are qualified for your current role. In addition to increasing your value to prospective employers, it will also make transitioning from one employer to another much easier if you decide to switch jobs.
More Career Opportunities
In order to get hired as an event planner, many companies prefer candidates who have completed education or training in this field. When searching for jobs, some companies will specifically mention whether or not they are looking for prospective employees who have obtained certification in this area of expertise.
You’ll Gain a Good Basic Understanding of Event Management
This is likely to include how to plan events from start-to-finish, common types of meetings and conventions, meeting management strategies, project management techniques, basic accounting practices for planning events, and much more to give you a solid foundation from which to build upon.
Prepares You for the Challenges Ahead
In addition to classes and hands-on training, an event planning certification may prepare you for a variety of challenges throughout your career. For example, courses in this field might include lessons on becoming a better presenter, self-marketing strategies, techniques for maximizing efficiency, and revenue opportunities. These lessons can help you develop the necessary skills to thrive in this competitive industry.
Getting certified in event planning is also an excellent way to network and develop contacts within this field through workshops, seminars, and other events. This networking can lead to job opportunities and provide many benefits throughout your career.
Types of Event Planner Certifications Available
Several different types of certification programs are available to choose from, depending on your interests. A typical event planning certification program involves a combination of online classes, textbooks, case studies, essays, and final examinations. The exact content of the curriculum may vary depending on the particular program.
The list of event planning certifications listed below are some of the most popular but are by no means exhaustive.
Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) offers one of the most prestigious and well-respected event planning certifications available. The CSEP qualification is widely considered a benchmark of excellence, achievement, and recognition within the special events community. Applicants must have three years of experience in the special events industry and pass a comprehensive examination.
Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
The Events Industry Council (EIC) offers another popular certification. The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a globally recognized qualification for meeting and event professionals. This certification program covers essential knowledge of meetings, conventions, tradeshows, exhibitions, and other events. Applicants must have at least three years of experience in this field to be considered.
Certification in Meeting Management (CMM)
This certificate from the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is for event planners with seven years or more professional experience in the events and meeting industry and at least three years of management experience combined with two years or more profit and loss responsibility. The program takes 15 weeks to complete and consists of advanced-level online coursework and a final project focused on addressing a real-world work problem.
Certified Quality Event Planner (CQEP)
Developed exclusively by the Management and Strategy Institute (MSI), this certification focuses on core competencies that include managing events, planning, and budgeting, timing and risk management, strategic planning, and more. The CQEP certification is an online, timed test. The passing score is 65%. There are no prerequisites to enroll for this certificate. However, a background in the event industry is beneficial.
Sustainable Event Professional Certificate (SEPC)
This unique program provides the skills and knowledge needed to plan, deliver and evaluate sustainability initiatives in any type of event. If you’re looking to make a difference, leave a smaller environmental footprint and join a growing community of environmentally responsible event professionals, this certificate is for you.
The Sustainable Event Professional Certificate is a 16-module program that covers such topics as the business value of sustainability, meeting, and event environmental performance improvement, and innovative methods for achieving social impact goals.
Virtual Event and Meeting Management (VEMM)
Due to the recent Global pandemic, many of us were forced into a virtual environment where much of our everyday interactions were performed. However, many have now embraced the idea of this new virtual world.
This certificate from the Event Leadership Institute (ELI) is designed to prepare students with all of the necessary skills and knowledge for planning and managing events in a virtual environment. Event Planners who can successfully navigate these new challenges will be ready to take on the growing number of virtual events and meetings now being planned.
Digital Event Strategist Certification (DES)
The PCMA Digital Experience Institute offers Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification. On successful completion, you will be a globally recognized expert in leveraging business events to connect people to brands, ideas, and possibilities in the digital world. The course comprises six modules and gives you access to the top experts in the digital events field.
Certified Wedding Planner (CWP)
If you want to niche down a little in the event planning industry, you could consider becoming a certified wedding planner.
This certification from the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP) is designed to test your knowledge of the basic concepts, terminology, and processes used in the wedding industry. Topics included are design, logistics, and procedures for services such as entertainment, photography, flowers, and seating. Providing you with a set of skills and knowledge to plan great weddings. They provide in-house and online training courses.
Event Planners Certification – In Summary
At the end of the day, certification provides you with a great opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that will help you succeed as an event planner. While it is not mandatory for this line of work, obtaining certification can provide you with benefits such as increased job opportunities and security, higher salaries and advancement prospects, better mobility between jobs, and more.
FAQs About Event Planning Certifications
Is certification necessary to become a successful events planner?
No, although certification can benefit you if you decide to pursue it. There are no set entry requirements to become an events planner, but the right education can help give you an extra edge. It can also set you apart from the competition and build your credibility in the industry.
How much do event planning certifications cost?
There is a wide range of certification costs, and each entry-level certification will be different. However, a general rule of thumb is to expect to pay at least several hundred dollars for the first year and often annual fees to retain membership.
Is certification worth the money and time?
This will depend on your unique situation as each certification is different and tailored to suit specific career needs. If you assess your options and decide it’s something you want to pursue, weigh up the benefits of what you can gain from it compared with its costs before making a final decision.
How much time does it take to complete certification?
Again, this will depend on the individual and how much time you can devote to studying. Most online courses will allow you to study at your own pace, so if you want to fit it around a work schedule and other commitments, nothing stops you from completing certification within a few months.
How long do certificates stay valid?
Certifications are valid for varying lengths of time, depending on the issuing organization. Some may require an annual renewal fee if they wish to keep your certification active, while others will retain it indefinitely. Do not assume that your certificate is still valid simply because no date has expired. Check with the issuing body before applying for jobs or continuing education credits.