The hospitality industry outlook is very promising this year and beyond. In the past decade we’ve seen a lot of change in terms of both exponential post recession growth and industry related technology. Hospitality professionals are now looking to receive certifications that further their education and increase potential opportunities in this dynamic new industry landscape.
What are hospitality certifications?
Hospitality certifications are awarded to the industry’s most accomplished, educated, and successful leaders for one or more career and department levels. Whether earned or awarded, they serve as a symbol of accomplishment and can often be used to advance the recipient’s career.
And while some certifications are more well known than others, having any hospitality certification is a great way to show your dedication to the industry.
Why are hospitality certifications important?
Given the sheer number of professionals involved in hospitality, it’s no wonder why a formal recognition of excellence is so desired. Hospitality certifications help those with high levels of industry expertise and job performance stand out from the crowd.
Those who are passionate about their chosen profession are more than likely to pursue one or more certifications. But not just anyone in hospitality can earn or be nominated for one, hence the prestige.
Who needs hospitality certifications?
Any hospitality professional interested in receiving documented proof of their industry success or expertise should pursue some sort of certification. While there are certifications that acknowledge those who have been in the industry for a long time there are also certifications available for newcomers interested in progressing within their chosen career path.
So really, hospitality professionals at all levels need a certification for one reason or another, depending on their career goals.
What are the benefits of having a hospitality certification?
As mentioned earlier, hospitality certifications add a certain level of prestige to any resume. They also reward a job well done for those who are highly accomplished. Overall, having a hospitality certification can help recipients become more competitive in the job market, get promotions, or transition to a new segment of the industry.
20 Must-know hospitality certifications
Administered by: Association of Destination Management Executives
Who it’s for: Anyone interested in both self-improvement and being informed about the latest industry standards, practices, and ethics.
- Minimum of 3 years experience in Destination Management
- Current employment in the hospitality industry
- Responsibility and accountability for the successful completion of Destination Management programs
To apply, submit an application online and email the required documents to the program administrator.
Administered by: Society of Government Meeting Professionals
Who it’s for: Event organizers and suppliers who follow the federal government’s guidelines for meeting planning.
- Must be a current member of SGMP for at least 6 months (or have documented proof of employment in the hospitality industry for at least one full calendar year)
- Complete the CGMP Class
- Successfully pass the CGMP Exam
Courses are available periodically and tuition reimbursement is available. SGMP also points out that this certification is now the industry standard for planners and suppliers working for the government.
Administered by: The Digital Experience Institute
Who it’s for: Hospitality professionals interested in the best methods for planning, producing, and measuring the success of digital engagement practices.
- Complete the DES Course
- Acceptance of DES application
- Recertification every two years
Both the course and exam cover 10 key areas of live stream and digital engagement events.
Administered by: International Association of Venue Managers
Who it’s for: Excellent managers of public assembly facilities including arenas, stadiums, convention centers and performance art venues.
- Review the One-Minute CVE Guide
- 7-10 years of industry experience
- Significant involvement with IAVM
In addition to these requirements, applicants are also urged to have at least one degree from an accredited university, leadership training, volunteer participation and a few other activities that fall under the “significant involvement” category.
Administered by: National Speakers Association
Who it’s for: The industry’s top 10% of speakers who perform at the highest level of professional platform competence internationally.
- Review the official CSP application guide
- Demonstration of the Four Es (Eloquence, Expertise, Enterprise, and Ethics)
- A successful application
Your next opportunity to apply for this certification will be Fall 2020.
Administered by: International Association of Exhibitions and Events
Who it’s for: Outstanding skill in the exhibitions and events management areas
- Complete the 9-part adult learning and certification program
- Have at least 3 years of professional full time experience in the exhibitions and events industry
- Successful completion of exam within 90 days of course completion
Since its creation in 1975, the CEM has become a globally recognized standard of excellence with education for both short and long-term career goals.
Administered by: The International Live Events Association
Who it’s for: Expert special event planners with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for all components of the process.
- Fill out the application
- Submit proof of three years of full-time events industry employment
- Pay $600 exam fee – credit card information is collected in the application
There are four exam windows available per year so plan accordingly.
Administered by: Destinations International
Who it’s for: Senior destination marketing professionals who have completed the highest educational achievement in their industry.
- Complete at least 5 classes about leadership, productivity, and business strategy
- Pass the final exam
- Recertification every 4 years
The program is heavily focused on vision, leadership, productivity, and business strategy.
Administered by: National Association of Catering and Events
Who it’s for: Those who have established a standard of excellence in hospitality and pursue or promote continued education within the field. It’s also for those who wish to easily find and collaborate with qualified caterers.
- Download the Policy Manual
- Gather your required documentation
- Complete your application and Supervisor Verification Form
- Pass the CPCE exam
Groups of 5 or more who apply together are eligible to receive a discount of $100 off each application! There are also scholarships available that you can apply for 4 times a year.
Administered by: The Association of Collegiate Conferences and Events Directors-International
Who it’s for: Individuals who show exceptional skill in the areas of collegiate conference and event planning.
- Must be an ACCED-I member
- 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
After you’ve been accepted to ACCED-I, you must complete the certification requirements within 3 years of joining.
Administered by: MPI
Who it’s for: Event industry specialists educated in the best practices of corporate meetings worldwide.
- 7+ years of professional experience in the meeting and event industry
- 3+ years of management experience
- 2+ years of profit and loss responsibility
- A solid resume, personal statement, and recommendation from a professional colleague or supervisor
Scholarships are available through the foundation. And your first year of membership to MPI is included in the cost of the certification course.
Administered by: American Society of Association Executives
Who it’s for: Industry leaders who exhibit high professional and personal standards. They should also actively pursue continued industry education.
- Completion of a written exam prior to receiving the honor
- 5 years experience at the staff level OR 1 year employed as an executive at a qualifying organization
- A bachelor’s degree OR eight years of professional work experience
You must also complete 100 hours of qualifying professional development studies. But don’t worry, the categories are pretty broad. As long as the courses you completed were finished within the last 5 years of your application date you’ll be good to go.
Administered by: Meeting Professionals International & The Global Business Travel Academy
Who it’s for: Professional meeting planners who are interested in learning how to set and measure business goals for more effective meetings.
- Be a member of MPI in good standing
- Successfully complete their course
The BVOM is more cost effective and has a lower barrier for entry than many certifications on this list, making it ideal for young professionals or those just starting out.
Administered by: American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Who it’s for: Room divisions executives at every level, including but not limited to bell staff, front desk staff, and reservation specialists.
- Current employment in an executive or management-level position with a hospitality lodging company
- 1 current AHLEI supervisor, management, department head, or executive certification
- A degree from an accredited academic institution
This industry-validated certification will get you up to speed on every new management strategy for modern rooms division.
Administered by: CHA International
Who it’s for: Internationally recognized sales experts who stay up-to-date with trend and hospitality protocols.
- There are 3 different program options, each with its own requirements
- Option A emphasizes educational background while Option B leans on industry experience and Option C is based on early entry
As long as you are currently employed full time in a relevant position, this certification offers a variety of ways applicants from diverse backgrounds can apply.
Administered by: AHLEI
Who it’s for: Hospitality employees responsible for skills training.
- Attend a facilitated workshop and submit an application
- Complete the Trainer Development Program
- Pass the CHDT exam
If you don’t pass the exam on your first try you can retake it up to two more times, depending on your initial score.
Administered by: HSMAI
Who it’s for: Hospitality marketers demonstrating expert level industry knowledge.
- Complete an online application
- Study the provided guide
- Take the exam whenever you’re ready
Another highly flexible certification, CHDM is one of the few that do not require in-person classes or exams.
Administered by: United States Hospitality and Tourism Academy
Who it’s for: Students and professionals in hospitality who are skilled in a variety of broad subjects within this topic.
- Training with the USHTA
- Pass the required exam
Once you successfully complete the program and test, you will be certified for life with no other recertification requirements or fees.
Administered by: American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Who it’s for: Hotel general managers and executives who have achieved a high level of expertise through experience and education.
- 2+ years of related higher education OR 3+ relevant work experience
- Completion of the online diagnostic assessment
- A passing score on the exam
Those who achieve this certification are rewarded a new, jeweled lapel pin every time they recertify.
Administered by: AHLEI
Who it’s for: Hotel and casino managers interested in demonstrating their integrity and competence.
- Must be professionally employed in the hospitality industry in a role that deals with revenue management at least 50% of the time
- A college degree or minimum required work experience
This certification is great for anyone who is interested in learning best practices for day-to-day operations of hospitality finance.
In conclusion hospitality credentials can grow your career
While you have lots of options available to you, these 20 best hospitality certifications are a great starting point for any career level. Choose the ones that best align with your long term goals.
And make sure to keep an eye on class, exam, and recertification dates since they vary so much program to program. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be almost guaranteed a successful hospitality certification experience! If you’re looking for technology to help drive your career, in addition to education, be sure to check out Social Tables easy-to-use event diagramming software.
Want to learn more about hospitality certifications?
Hospitality certifications are designations that are awarded to hospitality professionals who demonstrate certain proficiencies or those who go above and beyond in the course of their jobs. A hospitality certification recognizes industry leaders and sets them apart from their peers.
A certification can often serve as a jumping block to advance your career. Those with certifications may be more qualified for positions in operations or sales management, event planning, culinary leadership, or advancement in any sector of hospitality.
According to CHA International, the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) is the most prestigious certification available to hotel general managers and executives. It is awarded to the most exemplary hotel executives who qualify via education or professional experience.