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The 12 Meetings & Events Designations You Should Pursue Today

Ever wondered what the acronyms attached to your colleague’s names mean, or how they got there?

Interested in adding a , [INSERT ACRONYM HERE] to your resume to showcase your commitment to your craft?

Previously, we shared an article about 33 of the hospitality industry’s designations, and which associations offered them. This post dives into the following 12 meetings and events-focused designations, and the steps you need to pursue to earn them for yourself:

  1. Certified Meeting Planner (CMP)
  2. Certified Association Executive (CAE)
  3. Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP)
  4. Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME)
  5. Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM)
  6. Certified Facilities Executive (CFE)
  7. Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)
  8. Certified for Manager of Exhibits and Healthcare (CME/H)
  9. Certified Meeting Manager (CMM)
  10. Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE)
  11. Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)
  12. Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP)

Explore the Top Event Designations for Planners

1. Certified Meeting Planner (CMP)

About: The Convention Industry Council (CIC) launched the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program in 1985 to:

  • Enhance the knowledge and performance of meeting professionals,
  • Promote the status and credibility of the meeting profession, and
  • Advance uniform standards of practice.

Today, the CMP credential is recognized globally as the badge of excellence in the meeting, convention, exhibition, and event industry. The qualifications for certification are based on professional experience, education, and a rigorous exam.

How to Become a CMP: The CMP certification program is a two-part process in which you must complete the CMP application to demonstrate your eligibility, and then successfully pass a written examination covering the functions performed in meeting management.

You may apply for the CMP at any time. Once approved, you have one year to take and pass the CMP exam before you have to reapply. Eligible applicants are notified via email from CIC. Candidates have one (1) year from the time that they are notified of their eligibility to pay the exam fee and take and pass the examination.

The CMP exam is offered at secure testing centers four times a year (January, May, August and November) during 10-day testing windows. Prometric, CIC’s testing agency offers more than 450 testing centers around the world.

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2. Certified Association Executive (CAE)

About: The American Society of Association Executives offers the Certified Association Executive program to professionals looking to build competencies needed to manage their organization more effectively. The curriculum includes the following five core classes:

  • Essential Practices in Association Management
  • Effectively Managing Volunteer Committees and Task Forces
  • Membership Development
  • Communication and Public Relations
  • Developing Your Leadership Potential

How to Become a CAE: The CAE program is offered in ASAE’s Washington, D.C. office each year in January and June. Several domestic and global organizations have joined the ASAE University to offer course content in multiple locations at various times throughout the year. The CAE program consists of five one-day courses that can be taken individually or in a group setting. Courses are taught at the ASAE Building in Washington, D.C. Click here for upcoming program dates.

3. Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP)

About: The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International strives to achieve professional growth and distinction, which has been implemented to the ACCED-I Collegiate Conference and Events Professional Certification Program (CCEP).

How to Become a CCEP: The first step in the application process requires a current membership with ACCED-I and must meet one of the following options:

  • Option 1 – Professional Experience: Currently employed in the Collegiate Conference & Events industry with a minimum of 36 months qualifying full-time work experience


  • Option 2 – Professional and Educational Experience: Currently employed in the Collegiate Conference & Events industry with a minimum of 24 months qualifying full-time work experience and holds a Bachelors or Masters degree (or international equivalent) in a field related to collegiate conferences and events

If requirements are met, the next step includes sending your letter of application, explaining your experience in conference and events industry, why you are enrolling, what you hope to gain from the certification, and an electronic resume sent to Diana Hakenholz at Click here for a thorough overview of the program requirements. There is a non-refundable application fee of $375.00 USD required to enroll in the CCEP program that is put towards an electronic workbook with instructions, evaluation and administrative costs. This certification is not printed on paper; it’s engraved on a plaque recognizing completion of the program.

4. Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME)

About: Recognized as the highest educational achievement in the Destination Management Organization industry, the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) created the Certified Destination Management Executive program to assist experienced professionals for career advancement.

How to Become a CDME: DMAI is in the process of reinventing the CDME program that will be readily available in 2016. The application process for the redesigned program will be accepting applications in January 2016 and approved applicants will begin courses in July 2016. For further clarification contact Linda Andreani, VP of Education & Professional Development, at (202) 835-4201.

5. Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM)

About: The International Association of Exhibition and Events (IAEE) created the Certified in Exhibition Management program in 1975 to provide individual designations for professionals in the exhibition industry. It is a nine-part comprehensive course based on the Curriculum Blueprint, built of essential concepts required for a competent Exhibition and Events professional. It is offered globally including the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and Taiwan.

How to Become a CEM: The CEM Learning Program is first an educational program and second a designation program. The education program can be tailored fit to meet the needs of short- and long-term career goals. The program is completed over a set number of required courses in a classroom and online format.

New candidates must have three years of full-time experience in exhibition/event industry and must fill out the CEM Learning Program Application/Work History Verification form. There is an application fee of $100 for IAEE members and $125 for non-members put towards a copy of the 4th edition of The Art of the Show textbook. IAEE membership is not required to participate in this certification program. For more information contact the Education Team at

6. Certified Facilities Executive (CFE)

About: The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) offers the Certified Facilities Executive (CFE) designation to acknowledge you as an expert in all areas of venue management, your professional growth and others, and show dedication to the advancement of the venue industry as a whole. The certification provides:

  • Increased Marketability
  • Growth
  • Confidence

How to Become a CFE: IAVM has an online, 300-point, CFE Checklist serving as the starting point of mapping out your career path and an evaluation to determine if your personal involvement in the event industry qualifies you to apply for the CFE designation. Here are the steps to apply:

Step One: Application – Professional Development and Service.

  • Fill out the application, including the application fee ($150 USD; $200 USD non-members), submitted by November 1st.

Step Two: Written Essay

  • Essay outlining candidate’s knowledge of facility management due by February 1st to IAVM HQ.

Step Three: Written Examination

  • For individuals accepted, the Certification Board will require a written examination.
  • This examination covers basic knowledge on operations of public assembly facilities, including arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers.
  • Those who pass the written examination move onto an oral interview with a panel of the Certification Board members. They will evaluate the candidate’s knowledge of a series of industry topics and the ability to articulate those points.
  • Contact IAVM Headquarters for a list of suggested study material for the CFE written examination.

This certification is valid for three years due to the ever-changing need to stay-up-to-date with the public assembly facility management profession. Renewing your certification is an indicator of your dedication to this profession and industry by participating in continuing education.

7. Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)

About: In 2005, the Certified Government Meeting Professional course was a joint program developed by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) and the Graduate School at USDA. In 2010, SGMP took over the CGMP program and updated the content in 2013 to reflect the evolving nature of government meetings. It is designed for planners and suppliers whose work is governed by the rules and regulations of the federal government. This is considered the highest designation available for government meeting professionals.

Benefits for government or contract planners and suppliers include:

  • Recognition for extensive knowledge of government meetings
  • Increase the exposure/importance of the government market within the meetings profession
  • Bolster career advancement opportunities within your agency
  • Create a clear and thorough understanding of the rules and regulations that affect government meetings
  • Ability to better-position yourself to build more revenue for your company
  • Hold a competitive advantage over those without a designation for knowledge of government meetings

How to become a CGMP: Course material consists of seven sections with specific and thorough instruction in ethics, Federal budget and appropriations, acquisition and contracting, Federal travel regulations, RFPs, risk management and protocol. The eligibility to take this course include being a SGMP member in good standing for six months or have one year experience in the hospitality industry.

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8. Certified for Manager of Exhibits and Healthcare (CME/H)

About: The Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA) offers the Certified Manager of Exhibits/Healthcare (CME/H) certification, also known as The Seal of Professional Excellence of the Healthcare Exhibit & Event Industry. The E2MA Education Committee, associated with HCEA, designed the E2MA CME/H program to help professionals earn valuable industry recognition and career advancement. This designation is awarded based on four components:

  • Your Continuing Education Units (CEUs*) and life work experiences.
  • Completion of and CEUs earned for all specified required courses in the E2MA CME and CME/H Course Catalog, and education designated with continuing education credits at HCEA events, for which Required Course Exemptions have not been granted.
  • A letter of reference from your employer or direct supervisor.
  • Critical Analysis – Two original essays based upon a strategic case study and a tactical case study – related to health care exhibit and event management and marketing.

How to Become a CME/H: Upon approval from E2MA, you can complete the E2MA CME/H Enrollment Form along with payment for application fee ($150 Members; $350 Non-members); download the E2MA CME/H Application to get started.

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9. Certified Meeting Manager (CMM)

About: Meeting Professional International (MPI) has joined forces with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to deliver a standard of excellence that will improve business management skills and advances in a career. This intensive study program provides individuals with insight and guidance from renowned business university professors. Topics include risk mitigation, business analytics and compliance, and strategic negotiation.

How to Become a CMM: The first and upcoming Certified Meeting Manager program in 2015, will be held in Puebla, Mexico, May 31st- June 3rd.  This program concludes with a final project addressing a real-life challenge you can face in your current professional role. Click here to apply!

10. Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE)

About: The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) offers the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) designation for individuals within the catering and events industry. This certification dominates the catering industry by incorporating these core competencies of the industry like accounting, beverage and event management, contracts and agreements, human resources, and sales and marketing. The goals of the CPCE program are to:

  • Establish a nationally recognized standard of competence in catering and events
  • Promote professional commitment to excellence in catering and events.
  • Endorse active participation in educational offerings that support the continued competency of Certified Professionals in Catering and Events.
  • Aid employers in identifying qualified catering and events personnel.
  • Enhance the professional image of the catering and events industry professionals.
  • Provide a sense of personal achievement for the advancement of one’s career

How to Become a CPCE: The first step in obtaining this certification is to download the drafting form in order to apply online. Applications, payment and documentation must be submitted 30 days prior to desired exam date. Rates are $395 for NACE members and $495 non-members. The second step is to purchase the required curriculum The Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Event Industry and Food Safety Management Principles. The third step is selecting you preferred study program format (self-paced, In-person, or fast track toolkit). The fourth step is registering for the exam on your desired date by emailing once your application is approved. The last steps are taking the exam and earning your CPCE!

11. Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

About: The International Special Events Society established the Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) in 1993 to recognize event professionals who have demonstrated the exceeding knowledge, skills and ability to perform essential components of a special event. The program was designed to:

  •        Increase the proficiency of event professionals
  •        Establish the level of knowledge and performance necessary for certification
  •        Promote the advancement of the special events industry

How to Become a CSEP: To become a CSEP, applicants must have a documentation with a minimum of three years of full-time professional employment in the special events industry. After set approval, applicants may submit an exam application along with a $600 USD registration fee. The CSEP exam is offered four times annually in a 15-day time span.

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12. Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP)

About: The members of the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADME) hold individuals committed to performing higher standards of excellence as superiors of expertise in the field of destination management. This resulted in the Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP) certification program with the mission to:

  • Increase the professionalism and effectiveness of destination management through member and industry education
  • Establishment of standard ethical practices
  • Raise the level of awareness of the value of destination management to the respective associations, corporations, and general public

How to Become a DMCP: First step is to fill out the application form and the instructions; it is no longer necessary to enroll prior to submitting an application form. The instructions will explain ALL steps in the process of applying related to payment of registration fee, application kit, and how to submit your application. DMCP Program’s will be held in Southern Florida in June 2015, Barcelona in November 2015, and Oklahoma City in February 2016.

Have more questions about meetings and events designations?

What is the best event planning certification?

The top certifications are CMP, CAE, CCEP, CDME,CEM, CFE, CGMP, CME/H, CMM, CPCE, CSEP, and DMCP.

How do you become a certified event planner?

Logistically speaking, most certifications are granted via an application and fee process through an association. Generally speaking, for most certifications you must have experience and/or education in the industry, pass an examination, and attend a series of courses.

What does CMP stand for after someone’s name?

CMP stands for Certified Meeting Planner, and is one of the top certifications in the industry.

Now You’re Ready to Get the Best Event Designation!

Do you have an industry designation? We’d love to hear why you chose to pursue it! Let us know on Twitter.

Up next, learn how to create the best event planning digital online portfolio.

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