How Do I Become a Certified Meeting Planner?

Learn how to become a certified meeting planner (CMP). Discover education and CMP exam requirements, meeting planner training options, essential job skills and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Certified Meeting Planner?

Meeting planners perform a wide range of tasks to ensure an event goes off without a hitch, from locating event spaces to booking support services and managing budgets. A planning project first starts with meeting clients to determine what they want from their meeting and what budget they have to work with. Following this meeting, planners make arrangements with venues, caterers and other meeting and event services. During a meeting event, they often oversee services to ensure clients and their guests are taken care of. After an event they arrange the payment of the various services they hired.

Individuals in this profession may choose to pursue roles as wedding planners, conference planner, or a corporate planner, among plenty others.

Certified meeting professionals have acquired an industry-recognized CMP certification. Learn about the general Certified Meeting Planner requirements below:

Education/Training Requirements Bachelor's degree and/or 2-3 years of experience; sufficient continuing education
Key Skills Negotiation, customer service and organizational skills
Certification Professional certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2016-2026) 11% (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 is CMP Certification?

CMP credentials are intended for professionals in the meeting, event, exhibition and hospitality tourism industries. It was established by the Convention Industry Council (CIC) to create a body of knowledge and standard of performance to maximize the value of meeting professionals (www.conventionindustry.org). In order to obtain the certification, you'll need to pass an examination and meet eligibility requirements. Detailed below is all you need to know on how to become a certified event planner/meeting professional.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for the CMP designation, you'll need to meet industry experience and continuing education/internship requirements. You'll need either three years of experience and recent employment in the field, or two years of professional experience and a bachelor's degree in a related field. While there are no specific CMP degrees, candidates can take CMP courses through programs in event management and planning.. College instructors with at least three years of industry experience are also eligible to take the exam.

The second component of eligibility requires a 200-hour internship in the industry or completion of 25 hours of continuing education within the past five years.

What is the CMP Exam and How Can I Prepare?

The CMP exam includes 165 multiple-choice questions assessing your knowledge of professional practice standards. You'll need several texts in order to prepare for the exam, including the CIC Manual, Accepted Practices Exchange Glossary, Professional Meeting Management and International Association for Exhibition Management Guidelines for Display Rules and Regulations.

Additionally, preparatory CMP certification classes are offered by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and Meeting Professionals International are recommended by the CIC (www.pcma.org). The PCMA course offers both online and book study options. Finally, the CIC offers a practice exam to help you understand the structure of the exam.

The CMP certification cost includes a $450 fee to take this test.

Maintain Your CMP License

CMPs must recertify on a 5-year cycle. You'll also need to maintain employment in the industry or work as an educator for three of the previous five years. Other requirements include either a bachelor's degree, 25 hours of continuing education or 15 hours of continuing education. If you meet the 15 hour continuing education requirement, you'll also need to prove that you've participated in industry activities during your certification cycle.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Fundraisers do almost the same tasks as meeting planners when organizing events; the largest difference being that a fundraiser's goal is to have an organization profit from an event. Administrative services managers work with companies' and organizations' budgets when directing and coordinating supportive services within an organization. Individuals in this field may also choose to pursue food service manager training or become lodging managers - both are responsible for operating their business within a budget, while providing service that satisfies their customers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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