Event Planner Certification

How to Tell if an Event Planner Certification Program 
is a Scam; or at the Very Least the Wrong Course for You

If you hope to start a career in event planning, you might believe that getting an event planner certification is the best way to get your foot in the door.

However, that is not true.

There is a huge misconception of what event planner certification really is; and it's very important to understand the truth.  In my opinion, it's one of the biggest scams in the event planning industry; and the goal of this page is to help you see through the misleading information.  

Are you considering taking a certification course in the hopes of achieving any of the following?

  • You believe that certification is something anyone can achieve after taking a course in event planning.
  • You believe that if you pay for an event planner certification course, then potential employers will see that on your resume and it will help you get a job.
  • You believe that once you take a certification course, you will know everything you need to know to start your own event planning business.
  • You believe that all you need to get started on your new career is one certification course, and you'll be on your way.

** Then it's very important for you to know this: your understanding of every point listed above is wrong.**

You see, there are three types of certification in the professional world.  

  • Corporate or "Internal" Certifications: These certifications are created by a company to use internally; for example, a company might create a one-day sales training and the employees must pass the test to "get certified."  This certification means nothing to anyone outside the company.  
  • Product-Specific Certifications: This is used to show a person's understanding of a product; for example, if an IT person gets certified on certain software.  
  • Profession-Wide Certifications:  In this case, a certain organization must create a certification program that is universally accepted across that specific industry.  For example, there are universally-accepted certifications in real estate, aviation, or accounting.

However, in the event planning industry, the term "certification" is taken literally; you can't get "certified" in something you know nothing about.  You can't get "certified" just because you took a course, because although you may have learned a lot from the course, as a beginner you still have not planned any (or many) events.  

In order to receive any true, legitimate event planning certification, you must first have at least three to five years of experience in the industry.  You also must have planned a large number of events, and have a complete, thorough understanding of how to plan events.

And so, as a beginner, you can't become certified in event planning.

If at this point you're feeling a bit confused or frustrated, please don't!  There is a way around all this, and I am merely trying to open your eyes to the reality of this misconception of "event planner certification."  It's easy to sell these lies to people who aren't in the industry, and who are so determined to start their career.  

But as someone who's been in the industry for twenty years, and someone who's hired many assistant planners, I can promise you that the majority of these programs are a waste of your time and money.  Keep reading to find out more!

***In the event planning industry, true certification is not a short-cut to education;
but a measure of how much you already know.

Therefore, any company offering someone without any experience
a "certification" is a scam.***

So What About All of those Online
Certification Courses?

Now, when I say all event planner certification courses are a scam, I don't mean they won't give you anything in return. I don't mean to imply they are the fly-by-night scumbags who will take your money and you never hear from them again (although some of them are).

I simply mean that what they are selling you is a lie. These programs imply that if you take their program and get their certification, then your career is set.  They make it sound like all you have to do is take their course, and suddenly potential employers will be begging you to come work for them.  They make you believe that all you need to get hired is to list their certification on your resume, and you'll be on your way!

Your "event planner certification" will not mean anything to most potential employers, other than showing them that you took the initiative to learn the basics of the industry (which they will appreciate, but it's not enough to single-handedly land you a job). It doesn't make you an instant event planner, and it certainly doesn't mean you can open your own business.

Additionally, most event planner certification programs teach you things you don't really need to know to start a true career in event planning. Most of them focus mainly on wedding planning or party planning.  For much more on why I feel you cannot make a living as a party planner or a wedding planner, sign up for my free four-part video series, "Three Steps to Become an Event Planner." In this free series, I answer all the questions you may or may not have as you start to learn about the event planning industry.  Click on the link or keep reading below to learn more about this free course.  

Very few event planner certification courses teach you what you truly need to know to start a successful career; the nuts and bolts of special events and corporate meeting planning. Why? Because, quite frankly, it doesn't sound as "sexy" or attractive as "party planning" does. Good sales people play to the "fun" side of event planning, and that leads to sales.

But the reality is, that's not where the money is, or where the true event planning careers are.

So What Kind of Courses Should I Take?

I urge you to be very, very cautious when searching for event planner certification courses to take. If you find an online course that promises that you, a beginner, will be "certified" at the end of the course, proceed with caution and carefully research the course. These "certifications" are often just companies trying to take your money. Sure, you might learn some basics of the industry, and you might receive a piece of paper from that company claiming you have reached their certification requirements; but will it mean anything to anyone else in the industry? Probably not.

Even if it is a legitimate course, you need to be aware that this "certification" alone will rarely get you in the door or get you a job. Having this certification on your resume is not an automatic "shoo-in" to land you a job, despite what the creators of the course tell you.

On the other hand, if you know absolutely nothing about the industry, then you do need to take an event planning course. As I say over and over again, nobody is going to hire you if you don't understand the basics of how to plan an event; even for an entry-level position.  Employers just don't have the time or the resources to train you.  Therefore, you must take it upon yourself to learn everything you can about planning events; and so taking an online course can be a fantastic way to do this.

All I'm saying is to take the course for the right reason; to learn everything you can, not just to have a line item for your resume.  And so you must choose your course carefully, to make sure it teaches you what you need to know for your specific goals.  

If you want to get into special events, then taking a course on party planning or wedding planning is a waste of your time and money. If the course truly teaches you the basics of special events, on the other hand. such as working with meeting room space, online registration, contracts, flow of space, working with vendors, audio visual basics, and what insurance and permits you need for your events, then this can be an imperative step toward your career.  

Help!  Then How do I Learn About Event Planning?

If you're at the point where you're ready to commit to pursuing your career, then it's time to take the next step.  The most important step is to learn everything you can about how to plan an event.  And, as we've discussed in great detail, the majority of courses out there either have dishonest intentions or teach the wrong topics for people who want to get into "true" special event planning.  

There's an expression that says, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." The first three years after I started this website, I struggled with what to tell my readers who are honestly needing guidance on what courses to take. I struggled because I know they need to learn the basics, but I couldn't, in good conscience, recommend any of the courses out there....and so I created my own online Complete Event Planner Course to teach you how to plan events.

It's not full of fluff. It's not going to tell you that at the end of the course, you can plan the next Olympics Opening Ceremony. I'm not going to say you are "certified" (although I do include a Certificate of Completion to prove that you took the course), and I certainly will not tell you that you are suddenly qualified to open your own business (for more on why I don't recommend starting your own business right away, sign up for my free four-part video series, Three Steps to Become an Event Planner.

But I will teach you the foundation of special event planning; including the extensive lingo you need to learn, how to create contracts, how to do site inspections, how to select venues, how to find entertainment, the importance of food & beverage, the importance of decor, and the basic elements to plan any special event. This will enable you to head out into the field, armed with the knowledge and terminology you need to start a successful career.

For more on this course, click here to go to the Complete Event Planner Course.  

I've had dozens of "students" apply what I have to teach, and then land jobs within weeks or months of finishing the course.  I've even had a number of people land jobs before they even finished the course.  

If you are serious about breaking into the industry, you owe it to yourself to look beyond the lies of event planner certification, and invest in your future and get started…..today!


Still Have Questions?  
Sign Up for this FREE Four-Part Video Series,
"Three Steps to Become an Event Planner"
and Get All Your Questions Answered

Video #1: How Do
I Get Started?

  • "Where do I begin?"
  • Understanding why all event planning is NOT the same
  • The single most common misunderstanding about event planning

  • The differences between "party" planning, wedding planning, and special event planning
  • The types of events which you will be planning

Video #2: Event Planning Jobs & Careers

  • What is a "niche" and why do you need to choose one as soon as you decide to become a planner

  • The five main ways in which you will find work as an event planner
  • Determining your career goals and what event planning means to you
  • Important factors to consider when choosing your career path

Video #3: The Top Three Mistakes that Beginners Make

  • The Top Three Mistakes 99% of beginners make that will kill your chances before you even begin

  • The simple and obvious reason you're not getting any return calls on your resume

  • The three steps you MUST take if you want to succeed in event planning

Video #4: Certification & Experience

  • The mind-blowing yet pervasive lie about "certification" and how to sift through the conflicting information about certification

  • Do you need to go back to school for an event planning degree? 

  • How to get past that "catch-22" of needing experience before you can get experience