How to Become a Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner
Meeting, convention, and event planners typically need a bachelor's degree.
Meeting, convention, and event planners typically need a bachelor’s degree. Some experience related to event planning may be helpful.
Meeting, convention, and event planners typically need a bachelor’s degree. Although some colleges offer degree programs in meeting and event management, other common fields of study include communications, business management, marketing, and business administration.
Planners who have studied meeting and event management or hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than do those from other academic disciplines. Some colleges offer continuing education courses in meeting and event planning.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
A number of voluntary certifications are available for meeting and convention planners. Although not required, these certifications demonstrate specific knowledge or professional expertise.
The Events Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, which is widely recognized in the industry and may help in career advancement. To qualify for the CMP, candidates’ applications must include proof of experience and education. Those who qualify must then pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic planning, financial and risk management, facility operations and services, and logistics.
The Society of Government Meeting Professionals offers the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation for meeting planners who work for, or contract with, federal, state, or local government. This certification is helpful for candidates who want to show that they know government purchasing policies and travel regulations. To qualify, candidates must have worked as a meeting planner for at least 1 year and have been a member of SGMP for 6 months. To become a certified planner, members must take a 3-day course and pass an exam.
The International Association of Exhibitions and Events offers the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation, which demonstrates meeting professional standards for exhibitions and events management. Candidates obtain this credential by completing nine courses.
Some organizations, including the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, offer certifications in wedding planning that may be helpful for attracting clients.
Meeting, convention, and event planners may benefit from having some experience in meeting and event planning. Working in a variety of positions at hotels, convention centers, and convention bureaus provides knowledge of how the hospitality industry operates. Other beneficial work experiences include coordinating university or volunteer events and shadowing professionals.
Communication skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners exchange information with clients, suppliers, and event staff. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills to express the needs of their clients.
Interpersonal skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must establish and maintain positive relationships with clients and suppliers.
Negotiation skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to secure quality products and services at reasonable prices for their clients.
Organizational skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must multitask, pay attention to details, and meet tight deadlines.
Problem-solving skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to anticipate potential issues and prepare creative solutions that satisfy clients.