There is a huge misunderstanding about what event planning certification is, who needs it, and what it can do for you. Understanding the TRUTH about event planning certification is one of the most important first steps you can take toward your success!
The biggest misconception is that "getting certified" is required to begin your career. Many event planner hopefuls believe that all it takes to break into the industry is to take a course, become a "certified event planner," and you'll automatically land a job thanks to your certification alone.
This is not true; mainly because there is no such thing as certification for beginners. The very concept of event planning certification for people just starting out in the industry is contradictory; because you can't get certified in something you've never done before.
True "certification" is a statement of someone's knowledge and expertise in a particular field or area of specialty. You can't become an expert in event planning just from taking a course, and you can't be an expert in planning events if you've never planned an event before!
While many online courses make such promises, the reality is that there aren't any reputable "certifications" for beginners or anyone hoping to start their career in event planning. These "certifications" are created by these companies who just want to make a sale off you; but everyone in the industry, including the people who are in a position to hire you, see right through these "certification" programs. There is not one "beginner's" certification program out there that will automatically open doors for you by taking the course alone.
Most of the schools promising you a "certification" are just hoping to make some money off you; and the certification will mean nothing in the meeting and event planning industry.
So what does "certification" mean? Event planning certification is a measure of what you already know about the industry; it's a badge of honor to show that you do know the field and you are an expert. Once you become certified, it is a designation you can put after your name and title to show your expertise and years of experience in the field.
Therefore, most legitimate event planning certifications require that you have at least three to five years of experience before you can even attempt to take the test to become certified!
See, that's the point. That's part of the misunderstanding. You don't need to be "certified" to start a career in event planning. Yes, you need to learn the basics of how to plan events. Yes, you need to get some hands-on experience. Yes, you need to network like crazy. But don't confuse those with the need for event planning certification. Don't think that a certification is a short-cut to learning, getting experience, and networking.
What you DO need to do is, as I mentioned, learn the basics of how to plan events. You can't get a job without knowing how to do the job, right?
And therein lies the catch-22 that you might be experiencing: employers want you to have knowledge and experience before they'll hire you (even for an entry-level position); but if you can't get certified, how are you supposed to start?
The most important thing to understand is this: employers will never hire you and then train you how to plan events. You must take it upon yourself to first learn everything you can about how to plan an event - the lingo, the process, the legalities. Only then, once you have a basic understanding of event planning, will they hire you; even for entry-level positions.
That is a very, very good question!
I am not saying that you shouldn't take a "certification" course; but you need to take it for the knowledge you will gain from it, and not just the certification you'll get at the end. Therefore, that means that you need to take the course that will teach you the most applicable information for what you want to do.
Almost every course out there teaches courses that focus on "party" planning (birthday parties, anniversaries, small office parties) and wedding planning. If you hope to go into special events, such as fundraisers, festivals, or corporate events, then these courses are a waste of your time and money.
For the first three years of running this website, I spent countless hours investigating courses to recommend to my readers; until I realized a very sad fact. There simply aren't any online event planning courses out there that I felt comfortable recommending to my readers.
Sure, there are plenty of "certification" courses that teach you how to plan weddings and parties. But trust me, you'll never make a living as a party planner, and wedding planning is a very difficult path to choose (I'll explain more in a minute).
If you truly want to make a living as an event planner, you need to go where the money is. And the money lies in two areas of event planning: special events, and corporate meetings, events, and incentive trips.
So why can't I find a single course out there that actually teaches you what you need to know to start your career?
Honestly, I don't know.
And so, I created my own online event planner course. It pushes past the BS and teaches you what you truly need to know, at a fraction of the insane cost that these other courses charge you.
To read more and to start your career in event planning today, please visit the Planning Events Course page.
If you'd like to read more about event planning courses and education, read the following pages:
As I mentioned before, there are only a few reputable, legitimate certifications in the event planning industry. However, since you can't become "certified" as a beginner, these programs all require that you have at least 3-5 years of experience before taking the test. Once you gain a few years of experience, then these are the certifications you should consider:
Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
The CMP is the most recognized certification n the meeting and event planning industry; and is the only certification that is widely recognized and reputable. Candidates must have three years of event planning experience and currently have a full-time job in the industry in order to apply.
Certified Special Events Professional
The CSEP is the only other openly recognized certification in the event planning industry; and focuses more on special events than meeting planning. Just like with the CMP, candidates are required to have had three years of experience in the industry and must be currently employed or have been employed in the special events industry in the last twelve months.
….and that's pretty much it! Yes, there are a few other certifications for other areas of speciality; hospitality, catering, etc; but these are pretty much the most recognized event planning certification programs.
** Therefore, any program that promises you that you can "become certified" simply from taking some online courses and passing a test, without having years of experience actually planning events, is merely trying to sell you their course. **
In summary, remember that you DO need to take some sort of course or class to learn about event planning before you will ever be considered for even an entry-level position.
However, you need to take the right kind of course that will offer applicable information in order to start your career. I talk much more about this in my free four-part online video series…...
Video #1: How Do
I Get Started?
Video #2: Top Three Mistakes
Video #3: Certification & Experience
Video #4: How to Find Work