Certified Meeting Planner: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Training Requirements
Explore the career requirements for certified meeting planners. Get the facts about education requirements, professional certifications, career outlook and job responsibilities to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Certified Meeting Planner?
Certified meeting planners handle the logistical aspects of gatherings, including objectives, invitations and printing. Prior to an event they are often tasked with making arrangements for venues, transportation and catering. This may involve meeting with hosts, inspecting venues and soliciting bids. During an event they may oversee operations to ensure clients and attendees are satisfied. Following an event they review bills and approve payments. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a certified meeting planner.
|Degree Required||Associate's degree, bachelor's degree for advancement|
|Education Field of Study||Meetings management, hospitality management, marketing, public relations|
|Key Responsibilities||Oversee all aspects of large meetings; assess needs of clients and sponsors; reserve hotels, convention centers or other large sites; ensure meeting necessities are set up on time|
|Certification||Certification is voluntary|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||7% (for all meeting, convention and event planners)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$49,370 (for all meeting, convention and event planners)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Are My Responsibilities as a Certified Meeting Planner?
Certified meeting planners oversee every aspect of a large meeting. You'll first meet with clients and sponsors of the event to assess their needs and wants. After a budget has been agreed upon, you'll seek the venue and vendors necessary to carry out the event. You'll find and reserve hotels, convention centers and other sites while you work closely with venue staff to ensure audio/visual equipment, chairs, tables, caterers, refreshments, booths and other requirements are available and set up in time.
During the meeting, you'll help your client remain on schedule and suggest ways to maximize the agenda and dialogue so objectives are met. You'll need to remain organized while handling multiple tasks.
What Is the Career Outlook?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the employment of meeting, convention and event planners is slated to rise by 7% between 2018 and 2028 due to the growth in international conventions and meetings (www.bls.gov). You'll find these global conferences allow businesses, their representatives and others an opportunity to gather together to learn face-to-face about important changes in their industry. The BLS noted that industries that experience sharp growth similarly experience a greater demand for conferences and meetings.
Because of the fast-paced environment of the meeting management industry, meeting professionals are highly recruited and frequently transfer between companies and industries. The BLS reported the median annual income of meeting, convention and event planners as $49,370 in May 2018.
What Training Will I Need?
According to the BLS, many companies hire meeting planners who have an associate's degree or a certificate as a meeting planner. As the work in this field grows more complex and demanding, however, many employers prefer individuals who possess a bachelor's degree in meetings management, hospitality management, marketing, public relations or a related field. These programs allow you to gain training in areas such as hospitality management, communication, business and accounting. You'll also need to possess other desired qualities, including strong communication, negotiation and networking skills.
There are several certification programs available for experienced meeting planners. Meeting Planners International offers a certification in meetings management (www.mpiweb.org). To qualify, you must have at least ten years of experience.
The Convention Industry Council offers a Certified Meeting Professional program, while the Society of Government Meeting Professionals offers a Certified Government Meeting Professional title to individuals who have at least one year of experience planning government meetings and who have completed the required course.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Given the variety of duties assigned to a certified meeting planners, there are many related occupations. Administrative service managers do many of the same managerial and administrative tasks, but for an organization or business as a whole. Food service managers specialize in food services, managing the staff and daily operation of establishments that prepare and serve food. Fundraisers specialize in managing and overseeing events that are assembled with the intent to raise funds for organizations and charities. These alternative careers usually require a bachelor's degree, but food service managers may secure their role through work experience or through the completion of a postsecondary award or degree program.