Whether you started as an administrative assistant who now plans the company picnic or team building, or a florist who designs events in addition to floral arrangements, there’s something new to learn about event planning every day.
For more than 20 years, our industry has seen a formalized education system at colleges and universities, which now addresses what we already knew – event planning is a business.
To that end, you could earn a business degree. Alternatively, you may want to consider how professional certification might enhance what you already have to offer.
When I joined the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of the International Live Events Association over twenty years ago, I did so because I had no formal education in special event planning and wanted to learn more about the industry. At this time I also joined the local chapter of Meeting Professionals International, to learn more about meeting planning.
Along the way, I have not only acquired many resources from which to draw upon in my professional life but also forged relationships that ran deep – ones I knew I could count on – that would eventually open the door to start my own business.
I challenged myself even futher by getting involved in chapter leadership. It tested the way I approach events and my ability to think strategically, while deepening my commitment to the industry.
In a time when planners are battling to prove ROI, certification is an excellent way to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to the industry.
Tips for Certification Preparation
1. Commit. Earning certification is a commitment to yourself, the industry and your marketability as an employee or service provider. Do it.
2. Document. Develop a hard copy or electronic filing system for collecting completion certificates from industry meetings, letters of recommendation from clients, records of accomplishments, etc. Keep it updated regularly.
3. Help. Volunteer at industry and non-profit events where your skills will be appreciated and you’ll learn something new. Additionally, consider taking on an internship no matter what your age or skill level.
4. Review. Visit www.ileahub.com for CSEP information and a list of recommended materials or www.mpi.org for CMP information. Also, consult the Events Industry Council's career page to learn about certification options www.eventscouncil.org/career-centre/certification. But don't limit yourself to just these few. Instead, read, read, read.
5. Join. Organize a discussion/study group. A support system will help you remain accountable to yourself as well as develop relationships that help you in the future.