There are many different certifications available and several designations that correspond to different niches within the events Industry. In our recent webinar: Why Get Certified, we spoke with Elizabeth Nutting, CSEP, Production Canada, Past President ILEA Toronto and Joanne Rockwood, CMP, CMM, Conference Manager, University of British Colombia, President of PCMA West, to help you understand what options are available and why they might be right for you.

Here are highlights from the webinar on 5 of the most popular industry certifications.

CMP: Certified Meeting Professional

What interested you about the CMP?

Joanne: “I had heard a lot about the CMP within the industry, as well as through MPI, who promoted and advocated for the designation. I was looking to validate myself as an event professional and elevate my qualifications. For me, I was doing a lot right, but there was so much more to the industry I didn’t know and had yet to explore.”

What is the process?

You need to have been in the industry for at least 5-7 years as a pre-requisite. Study the material, and then take an exam comprised of 165 questions.

The CMP certification is not only for planners, a variety of people in the industry come together to learn and certify themselves in a wholesome industry standard and a strong understanding of the meetings landscape.

CMP is an internationally recognized program, however, the curriculum is mainly US-centric.

The CMP designation brought Joanne a unique learning opportunity to make her a bigger planner, and support her with technical knowledge to plans and executes events.

CMP Re-certification

Recertification occurs every 5 years, you need to have worked for 36 months in the events industry. As well as have 25 education clock hours which can include certified EIC clocked hours or other educational content that meets the requirements of the model. Some associations log and track that for you such as PCMA to make the process easier.

CSEP – Certified Special Events Planner

The Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation recognizes event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a special event.

What interested you about CSEP?

Liz: I was a member of ILEA and was looking to immerse myself in the industry and elevate my qualifications.

What is the process?

CSEP is experience based, you need at least 3 years’ experience in the industry.

CSEP is an internationally recognized program with international designation reach.

What value has it given you?

Elizabeth: I would say it has given me a level of respect and opened opportunities for partnerships and connections in the industry. It also gives me a feeling of pride when I am on-site.

CSEP Re-Certification

Recertification occurs every 5 years. It is mainly centered on validating that you are participating in the industry, which includes speaking at conferences, participating in associations, and contributing to the development of the events industry.

DES – Digital Event Strategist

The digital event institute offers this designation, it is specifically for virtual events and those who create and work within that environment. It focuses on events such as webinars, webcasting, video conferences and these types of events, as they have become more prominent in the last few years. DES helps to create a consistent understanding of the world that surrounds digital events.

What is the process?

The process for obtaining a DES is largely online because it is a digital event designation, and learning digitally is within the same realm.

DES Re-Certification:

You need to hold 20 hrs of continuing education so you are up to date.

The value DES offers is that it helps demonstrate to associations that you are up to date and knowledgeable about the digital event spectrum, as well as organizations that stream their events online.

CMM: Certificate in Meeting Management

The CMM is not a certification designation, it is a certificate. There is no re-certification process, once you complete the certificate you become a CMM.

The content is centered on high-level concepts of event management and leadership such as, why you do an event, what’s your strategy, profit and loss reporting, and more event business topics.

What’s the CMM Process?

You are required to have 7 years’ experience, with 3 of those years spent in a management role, and 2 years spent with a P&L (Profit and Loss) responsibility.

All classwork includes leadership development and financing.

There is an essay exam that you complete and is sent back to determine if you move forward in the process. It takes months to complete and obtain the CMM certificate.

EDC: Event Design Certification

EDC is a certification that is based on event canvas and endorsed by MPI. The EDC centers on design and creating end to end experiences for your attendees through every stage of your event. It helps you understand and become more strategic in the elements you design within your events.

What is the EDC process?

You complete an application and if you are eligible you attend an onsite learning certification within a classroom environment.

The EDC is open to anyone of any role and skill level. It occurs 3 times a year in various locations.

What recommendations or advice would you have for someone considering certification?

Joanne and Elizabeth: Invest in yourself, invest in your career. Seek out council and which option to go with. Research the requirements and process, and go with the certification you believe would suit you best.

That could include just one or all that we talked about today.

Study Tips for the process:

Experience is your greatest asset. If you go through the experience of these events you are exposed to opportunities and environments. Connect with other professionals within a discussion forum. You can also use Quizlet App to help you study on the go. There are always going to be some things you need to memorize, but most of the critical thinking is more experiential. The more time you spend in the industry, the more you learn, which in turn helps you prepare.

Here is a snapshot of the certifications:


If you are unsure if you qualify, or how your situation works in the process, you can reach out to the organization that offers the designation to confirm if you in-fact qualify.

Overall, becoming certified delivers great value. You build a large rich network simply from the process of designating yourself that you can call upon, and you are well respected by your peers and clients in the industry.

Click Here to watch the webinar replay now.


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