20 Hospitality Certifications You Should Know

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.  

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20 Must-know hospitality certifications

1. DMCP: Destination Management Certified Professional

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

2. CGMP: Certified Government Meeting Professional

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

3. DES: Digital Event Strategist

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

4. CVE: Certified Venue Executive

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

5. CSP: Certified Speaking Professional

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

6. CEM: Certified in Exhibition Management

Administered by: International Association of Exhibitions and Events

Who it’s for: Outstanding skill in the exhibitions and events management areas

Requirements

  • 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.

7. CSEP: Certified Special Events Professional

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

8. CDME: Certified Destination Management Executive

Administered by: Destinations International

Who it’s for: Senior destination marketing professionals who have completed the highest educational achievement in their industry.

Requirements:

  • 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.

9. CPCE: Certified Professional in Catering and Events

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

10. CCEP: Collegiate Conference and Events Professional

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

Hospitality certifications you need to know. Planning outside.

11. CMP: Certification in Meeting Management

Administered by: MPI

Who it’s for: Event industry specialists educated in the best practices of corporate meetings worldwide.

Requirements

  • 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.

12. CAE: Certified Association Executive

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

13. BVOM: Business Value of Meetings

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

14. CRDE: Certified Rooms Division Executive

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

15. CHSP: Certified Hospitality Sales Professional

Administered by: CHA International

Who it’s for: Internationally recognized sales experts who stay up-to-date with trend and hospitality protocols.

Requirements

  • 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.

16. CHDT: Certified Hospitality Department Trainer

Administered by: AHLEI

Who it’s for: Hospitality employees responsible for skills training.

Requirements

  • 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.

17. CHDM: Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer

Administered by: HSMAI

Who it’s for: Hospitality marketers demonstrating expert level industry knowledge.

Requirements

  • 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.

18. CHS: Certified Hospitality Supervisor

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

19. CHA: Certified Hotel Administrator

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.

Requirements

  • 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.

20. CHRM: Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager

Administered by: AHLEI

Who it’s for: Hotel and casino managers interested in demonstrating their integrity and competence.

Requirements

  • 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.

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