Earning Your CMP Certificate; Everything to Know – Updated

Earning Your CMP

Written by Cara O'Neill

Cara O’Neill is a Project Manager at GCG Event Partners where she has happily set up shop for over 15 years. Her professional background may be in the meeting & event industry; however, she enjoys the multi-tasking involved in her day-to-day operations contributing to marketing GCG and the many services it provides.

June 18, 2019

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 if 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 who 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 CMP

So… are you ready to make that 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 is well worth the time investment to carefully review the eligibility requirements involved when considering pursing this designation.

Here are the most important considerations to think about:

Meeting The Requirements

To be eligible to sit for the CMP exam, your application must include proof of both experience and education. You will need 36 months of full-time employment in the meetings industry and 25 clock hours of continuing education. If you hold a degree in Event Management or Hospitality, you will need only 24 months of full-time employment. All activities must have taken place within the past five years. Also, if you participated in an industry-related internship, that may count for your 25 clock hours of continuing education. Proper documentation will be required to verify your attendance, participation and completion of applicable coursework.

Pay Submission & Application Fees

The non-refundable fee covers the $25o application submission. Within 2-3 weeks of having submitted your application to the Events Industry Council, you will receive the determination of the status of your application and whether your candidacy has been approved or not. If it has been denied, you have 14 days to file an appeal to the EIC Office.

If your candidacy has been approved, you are ready to move on in the process and decide which of the 2 remaining months in 2019 to take the exam works best for you. They are August 1-31 and November 1-30. The cost of the exam is $450. Once your application to take the exam has been approved, you are allowed one year to take and pass the exam before you are required to reapply.

Once you pass the application submission process, you will undoubtedly find that this next phase in preparing to take the exam demands quite a bit of time and dedication. Factor in that approximately 100 hours of study are required to prepare for the exam. This figure broken down represents an estimated 30 hours reserved for participating in an organized study group and 70 hours committed to independent study.

Pass the Exam with a Score of 55+

The exam consists of 165 multiple choice questions where only one answer is correct. They include 150 operational questions (scored) and 15 unscored questions (referred to as pre-test questions). The exam is scored as either a pass or a fail on a scale that ranges from approximately 20 to above 55. Candidates need a total scaled score of at least 55 to pass the exam.

Wait to Retake

If you fail the exam, you will have to wait to retake until the next quarterly exam window becomes available.

Pay an Additional $450

During your approval year, you may take the exam as often as you need to, but you will have to pay the $450 exam fee each time you take it.

Earning Your CMP Certification - A Game Changer
It is important to acknowledge if taking on this educational challenge at this point in time works for you. The dedication required to earn a CMP evokes the more obvious reasons this investment proves worthwhile. I’m sure there are many more, but here are just some benefits to consider right from the start.

Earning a CMP will:

  • Provide you with extensive knowledge of industry procedures and standards
  • Grant you established credibility as an industry professional among peers
  • Identify you as an expert in the field by clients and employers
  • Afford you financial benefits when negotiating contracts and/or salaries
  • Offer you access to industry networking events and industry related associations

I would venture to say that one of the most compelling reasons one should seek a CMP certification is their own personal choice. Experiencing the satisfaction in knowing you’ve continued your education in the field you’re so passionate about has its own sweet rewards and there’s certainly a lot to be said for pursuing and accomplishing professional growth. Be mindful, however, that only you can truly appreciate what it will mean to see that CMP designation following your name, so take your time and do your research. There’s an abundance of online resources available to assist you. As a first step, I recommend visiting the Events Industry Council website for a an in-depth overview of all that is involved.

After all that being said, should you decide to move forward in pursuit of your CMP certificate…. I’m here wishing you all the best! Please stay in touch. It would be great to hear about your experience preparing for and taking the exam.

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