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How to Become a Certified Meeting Planner

Becoming a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) takes dedication and a few important steps. If you're interested in receiving a CMP designation, here are five steps to help you acquire certification. Research What Kind of Meeting...

Certified Meeting Planner, CMP, CMP Examination, meeting planner certification, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Becoming a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) takes dedication and a few important steps. If you're interested in receiving a CMP designation, here are five steps to help you acquire certification.

Research What Kind of Meeting Planner You'd Like to Become

Before embarking on the CMP certification program, it's crucial to consider all aspects of the job. Meeting planners often work long hours and are required to travel frequently. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Certified Meeting Planner in 2014 was $46,490. Once you've determined that being a certified meeting planner is for you, decide whether you want to be a generalist event planner or specialize in a specific type of event management, such as corporate events, sports events, medical events, and more.

Complete a Formal Education Program

Most certified meeting planners have a bachelor's degree in marketing, public relations, communications, or business. Pursuing a degree program that focuses on hospitality and event coordination will provide you with essential skills, such as budget management, client relations, contract review, and problem-solving. Additionally, having a degree will lower the minimum work experience requirement to meet Section I of the CMP Application to only 24 months, compared to the 36-month requirement for those without an industry-specific degree.

Gain Experience & Build a Portfolio

If you didn't pursue a degree specific to hospitality or event coordination, interning or apprenticing with a professional event planner is an excellent way to gain valuable experience. To meet Section II of the CMP Application requirements, you must complete a minimum of 200 hours of supervised internship experience or accumulate 25 clock hours of industry-related continuing education within the past five years. An internship will also help you establish a network of contacts and build a portfolio of events you have assisted in planning. Remember to keep records, such as photographs and professional references, which can attest to your job performance.

Apply to Become a CMP

Once you meet the requirements of Sections I and II of the CMP Application, you can proceed to fill out the application and pay the fee to take the CMP exam. Within four to six weeks of submitting your application, you will receive an email confirming whether you have been approved as a CMP Candidate. If approved, you will have one year to take the CMP examination.

Take the CMP Examination

To take the CMP examination, you need to register and pay the exam registration fee by the deadline specified in the candidate notification email. The exam is computer-based and evaluates the skills and knowledge of meeting professionals. It is recommended to dedicate several months to preparation, and you can use the CMP International Standards as a study guide. Results are typically released eight weeks after taking the exam, and passing candidates will receive their certificates via mail four to six weeks after receiving their results.

Becoming a Certified Meeting Planner requires dedication, education, experience, and passing the CMP examination. By following these steps, you'll be on your way to achieving this esteemed certification and advancing your career in the meeting planning industry.

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