I think the only three letters I dread more than TBD are CMP. The CMP stands for Certified Meeting Planner, a highly regarded designation in the events industry. I often tell others that it is similar to a PhD in the events world due to the level of work and dedication it takes to achieve.
The CMP is administered by the Convention Industry Council (CIC) and has provided a standard certification for meeting professionals for the past twenty-five years. To qualify to take the test, you must be employed (currently or recently) in the events industry for a minimum of two years and meet a required number of continuing education credits through classes or an internship. I feel that over the past five-ten years, as more corporations are hiring event professionals, more people in the industry are getting their CMP.
But is a CMP right for you?
I ask myself this question quite often; the time and financial costs are not small, but the payoff can be huge. Every time, I circle back to these same questions:
- How many of my events colleagues have a CMP?
- What opportunities am I missing out on by not having a CMP?
- What opportunities or advantages will having a CMP create?
- Do I have the resources to devote to this?
Every time, I leave the conversation secure in my choice not to have one at this moment. But a CMP is not the only event professional education out there. Emory and UGA both offer a certification program in event planning. (For options that are not locally based, visit George Washington University.) One can also look into the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) or a plethora of other programs and degrees in event planning now being offered.
No matter which road you choose, remember to always do your research. Anyone can claim to be a meeting planner and host a certification or training course. Programs backed by accredited universities or with the support of nationally know groups such as MPI and ISES will be your best bet for a successful education to your events future.