Did you know that according to the US Department of Labor, occupations within the meeting and conventions industry are projected to undergo the highest percentage of growth compared across all industry types within the next decade? Incredible news, right? Well, maybe it’s time to consider whether or not you’re ready to start preparations for earning a CMP certification.

Having been created by a group of meeting professionals located around the world in 1985, the CMP certification was designed to identify a way to unify the meeting planning industry by implementing standard operating procedures. In doing so, the certification promotes and further enhances the meeting planning profession and simply said, its credibility.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ellen Maiara, CMP, and a distinguished member of the GCG Event Partners Network and Chief Solutions Officer at Event Solutions Management, to get her take on recent trends in CMP test enrollment. According to Ellen, the state of the economy directly affects the number of candidates that apply for certification. When business is booming, meeting planners are busy and preoccupied managing their workload. When the economy slows down, its proven to be a reflective time, a time when meeting planners are afforded an opportunity to think about updating their resumes, continuing their education and perhaps adding a CMP designation to their professional credentials.

Thinking about earning your CMPSo… are you ready to take the leap? Do you possess the professional and practical experience required in order to apply to take the exam? Applying for approval to take the CMP test is a process in and of itself! It’s wise that you carefully review all of the prerequisites required when applying. As a qualified Lead Study Group Instructor for the CMP Exam, Ellen advises that the CMP application consists of 2 sections. The first section relates to professional experience whereby a candidate must fulfill qualifications that fall into one of these 3 specific scenarios:

  • completed 36 months of full-time work experience within the meeting planning industry
  • facilitated 36 months of full-time experience working as an instructor of meeting management at an educational institute
  • hold a degree in hospitality and have 24 months of full-time work experience within the meeting planning industry

In order to meet all the requirements in the application’s second section, a candidate must have completed 200 hours of work in an industry related internship as well as successfully completed 25 hours of continuing education coursework. You will be required to provide proper documentation proving your attendance, participation and completion of applicable coursework as defined by the CMP International Standards.

Within 2-3 weeks of having submitted your application to the Convention Industry Council, you will receive the determination of the status of your application and whether or not your candidacy has been approved. If it has been denied, you have 14 days to file an appeal to the CIC Office. If it has been approved, you are ready to move on in the process determining which of the four dates per year that the CMP exam is offered works best for you and then preparing for the exam.

You will undoubtedly find that this next phase demands quite a bit of time and a lot of dedication. Hopefully you have made the thoughtful consideration that taking on this challenge now works for you at this particular point in time. Factor in that approximately 100 hours of study are required to prepare for the exam. This figure can best be broken down by 30 hours reserved for participating in an organized study group and another 70 hours committed to independent study.

Follow these steps to earn your CMP Certification

The dedication required to earn a CMP brings to mind the more obvious reasons this investment proves worthwhile. I’m sure there are many more, but here are some benefits to consider right off the bat. Earning a CMP will:

  • provide you with extensive knowledge of industry procedures and standards
  • grant you established credibility as an industry professional among peers
  • recognize you as an expert in the field by clients and employers
  • afford you financial benefits when negotiating contracts and/or salaries
  • give you access to industry networking events industry related associations

I would venture to say that the most compelling reason one should seek a CMP certification is a personal choice. Feeling the satisfaction of knowing you’ve continued your education in the field you’ve worked so hard in and are passionate about has its own sweet rewards and there’s certainly a great argument for accomplishing professional growth. Be mindful, however, that only you can know what it will mean to see that CMP designation following your name, so take your time and do your research. There’s an incredible amount of online resources to assist you. Begin by visiting the Convention Industry Council Website and should you decide to take that leap…. I wish you all the best!

 

Cara O’Neill is a Project Manager at GCG Event Partners where she has happily set up shop for the last 10 years. She considers the key role she plays as the intermediary between her clients and network members as her favorite component of what she does on a daily basis. Cara’s professional background may be in the meeting planning industry; however, she has a strong penchant for writing too! You can connect with Cara on LinkedIn here.

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