Event Planning Certification
The Truth About Certification; It's Not What You Think!
The concept of "event planning certification" is perhaps one of the most misleading and confusing concepts in the entire event planning industry.
If you're like most people, once you decided that you wanted to become an event planner, you started to research what type of event planning training you need in order to begin your career. After all, it is vitally important that you learn as much as you can about event planning if you want to make this your career.
But as soon as you hit the internet and started researching, you got bombarded with websites offering "event planning certification." These websites convince you that you need "certification" in order to land a job or start an event planning business. They tell you that you need to take their program in order to "become a certified planner."
So, naturally, you start comparing all of the certifications; until soon you are completely confused, overwhelmed, and ready to give up. You want to make the right decision and get the right certification that will make the most sense for your career goals, but which one is the best? And, because of this confusion, you start to question whether any of these online courses are legit at all.
There are two reasons why you are confused (and rightfully so). First of all, in event planning, there is a very important distinction between the words "certification" and "certificate." It sounds like a tiny difference in semantics, but this concept is vitally important if you want to choose the right program for you.
Certification is an accredited designation that you have proved yourself to be an expert in event planning and that you have the experience to back you up. In other words, it is a title that a planner earns (via an exam) after years of experience in planning events. Therefore, 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.
Event planning certification is a designation earned after years of experience; therefore there is no such thing as legitimate "certification" for beginners.
In the event planning industry, there are only a handful of accredited, legitimate "certifications;" including the CMP, the CMM, and the CSEP (for more info on these, keep reading below). However, you can't even begin to apply to take these tests unless you have at least 3-7 years of experience (depending on the certification); and some of them require that you're currently employed as a planner.
So how is a beginner supposed to "get certified?" That's the thing....you don't.
Any program trying to convince you that you can become "certified," as a beginner, simply by taking their course, is either misleading you to make the sale or they just don't understand the industry enough to know any better.
Either way, is this someone that you want to trust with your time and money?
It's so important to understand that "event planning certification" is not a shortcut to success. Many beginners are led to believe that if they just take a "certification" course, potential future employers will automatically give them the job, or future clients will immediately trust you.
However, anyone in the industry sees right through these fake certifications, and therefore they are a waste of time and money.
So the alternative? take a certificate course
However.... what you can and should do is look into taking a certificate course or program.
A certificate (not "certification") is a document that proves you've taken a course for the knowledge and for the purpose of learning about event planning; and that you've passed that particular program's requirements for showing that you understand the material. There is no industry-wide requirements for certificate programs; anyone can create their own standards and requirements for passing.
However, what this does is show your potential future employers that you took the initiative to learn the basics of planning. It shows that you take the future of your career seriously enough to enroll in a course and learn about planning events. It shows future clients that you took a program and passed their particular test or requirements and received their certificate.
While event planning is not difficult to learn, you do have to learn the basics before starting your career; and taking a certificate course is the quickest, most affordable, and efficient way to do that.
Therefore, since you are choosing a program for the knowledge that it provides and not for the sole purpose of saying you're "certified," it's important to choose a program based upon your goals for your career.