Article

Top 11 Event Specialist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for event specialists, including requirements and benefits.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for event specialists in the job market as they demonstrate to employers that the individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in the role. They provide evidence of a professional knowledge base, and show employers that the specialist has taken the time and effort to gain specific qualifications related to their field. Furthermore, certifications from recognized institutions can give an event specialist an edge over other applicants who may not have them. Additionally, certifications can help event specialists stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, which is essential for success in this competitive field.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Event Specialists and explain how they can help further an event specialist's career.

What are Event Specialist Certifications?

Event specialist certification is a type of professional certification that demonstrates an individual's knowledge and proficiency in the field of event planning. It is usually offered by professional organizations and can be obtained through completing a series of courses or workshops, passing tests, and/or having a certain amount of experience in the field.

Having event specialist certification can help individuals stand out from the competition when looking for employment in the event planning industry. It shows that they have a solid working knowledge of the principles and practices that are necessary to create successful events. Additionally, it can provide them with access to additional resources and networking opportunities within their chosen profession. Event specialist certification may also give them an edge when negotiating fees for services, as it proves to potential employers that they are knowledgeable and experienced professionals who know how to plan events properly. Finally, it can provide them with credibility when dealing with clients, allowing them to demonstrate their skills and expertise in event planning.

Pro Tip: When considering event specialist certification, look for a program that provides hands-on experience and real-world application. This will give you the opportunity to apply what you learn in a practical setting and develop your skills in a more meaningful way.

Related: What does an Event Specialist do?

Top 11 Event Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Event Specialists today.

1. Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) is a professional designation for event professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge and experience necessary to plan, manage, and execute successful special events. The CSEP designation is awarded by the International Live Events Association (ILEA), which is a global network of event professionals dedicated to advancing the art and science of live events.

It typically takes 3-6 months to complete the certification process. To become certified, applicants must first pass an online exam that tests their knowledge in 10 core competencies of special events management. After passing the exam, applicants must then submit a portfolio demonstrating their experience in event planning. This portfolio should include examples of past events they have planned, managed, or executed as well as any awards or recognition they may have received for their work. Once approved by ILEA’s Certification Committee, applicants will receive their CSEP designation.

The cost to obtain a CSEP certification varies depending on whether you are an ILEA member or non-member. For members, it costs $395 USD for the exam and $250 USD for the portfolio review fee. For non-members, it costs $495 USD for the exam and $350 USD for the portfolio review fee.

2. Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a professional certification program offered by the Convention Industry Council (CIC). The CMP certification program is designed to recognize meeting professionals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and experience in the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry.

It typically takes about two years to complete all of the requirements for CMP certification. To get certified, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria, pass an exam, and complete a portfolio review.

Applicants must have at least three years of full-time paid experience in the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry within the past five years prior to submitting their application. They must also be employed in a related field or have been self-employed for at least one year during that same time period.

The cost for the CMP certification program varies depending on where you live and which type of exam you take. The cost includes an application fee, exam fees, and any additional fees associated with completing the portfolio review process. The total cost can range from $400-$600 USD.

3. Certified Event Management Professional (CEMP)

Certified Event Management Professional (CEMP) is an internationally recognized certification program that provides event professionals with the knowledge, skills and abilities to plan, manage and execute successful events. It is designed for those who have a minimum of two years of experience in event management, marketing or public relations.

The CEMP program consists of a series of online courses that cover topics such as event planning, budgeting, risk management, and customer service. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a certificate from the International Association of Event Managers (IAEM).

It typically takes three months to complete the CEMP program. The cost for the program varies depending on the number of courses taken but can range from $500 - $1000 USD. To get certified as a CEMP professional, individuals must pass all required courses and exams with a score of 80% or higher.

4. Certified Wedding and Event Planner (CWEP)

Certified Wedding and Event Planner (CWEP) is a professional certification program designed to give aspiring wedding and event planners the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to succeed in the industry. The program is offered by the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), an international organization that provides education and resources for wedding professionals.

The CWEP program consists of two parts: an online course and a comprehensive exam. The online course covers topics such as event planning fundamentals, budgeting, contracts, marketing, customer service, and more. It takes approximately 40 hours to complete the coursework. Once you have completed the coursework, you will be eligible to take the comprehensive exam which tests your knowledge of all aspects of wedding and event planning.

To get certified as a CWEP, you must first register with ABC and pay a fee of $495 USD. This fee includes access to the online course materials and one attempt at the comprehensive exam. If you do not pass on your first attempt, there is an additional fee for each subsequent attempt.

Once you have successfully passed the exam, you will receive your official CWEP certification from ABC along with a digital badge that can be used on social media profiles or websites to demonstrate your expertise in wedding and event planning.

5. Certified Festival and Events Executive (CFEE)

Certified Festival and Events Executive (CFEE) is a certification program developed by the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA). It is designed to recognize professionals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge, skill, and expertise in the field of festival and event management.

The CFEE program consists of three levels: Certified Festival & Event Professional (CFEP), Certified Festival & Event Executive (CFEE), and Master Certified Festival & Event Executive (MCFEE). The CFEP is the entry-level certification, while the CFEE and MCFEE are more advanced certifications that require additional experience and education.

To become certified at any level, applicants must complete an online application process which includes submitting their resume, references, work samples, and an essay on why they are interested in becoming certified. Applicants must also pass a written exam covering topics such as event planning, budgeting, marketing, legal issues, risk management, customer service, and safety.

The cost for each level of certification varies depending on the type of membership you have with IFEA. For non-members it can range from $250-$500 per level. Additionally there is an annual renewal fee of $50 per year to maintain your certification status.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the entire certification process depending on how quickly you can complete all requirements.

6. Certified Event Coordinator (CEC)

A Certified Event Coordinator (CEC) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in the field of event management. The CEC certification is offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA).

In order to become a CEC, an individual must complete an online training program that covers topics related to event planning, such as budgeting, marketing, logistics, and risk management. Once the training is completed, a final exam must be taken and passed with a score of 75% or higher.

The online training program typically takes between 10-20 hours to complete, depending on the individual's learning style and pace. The cost of the training program ranges from $195 - $295 USD. Upon successful completion of the course and passing of the final exam, individuals will receive their CEC designation and can begin using it professionally.

7. Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE)

Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) is an international certification program that recognizes professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to manage successful fundraising programs. The CFRE credential is a mark of excellence in the field of philanthropy and is recognized by employers across the globe.

The CFRE program consists of a comprehensive application process and a rigorous examination that tests one’s knowledge of fundraising principles and practices. To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass the exam, agree to abide by the CFRE Code of Ethics, and commit to ongoing professional development.

The application process can take up to six months or longer depending on when you submit your materials. The exam is offered twice a year in June and December. It takes approximately four hours to complete and consists of 175 multiple-choice questions based on topics such as ethics & accountability, resource development planning & implementation, volunteerism & board governance, donor relations & stewardship, public relations & communications, financial management & reporting.

The cost for obtaining the CFRE credential varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), which administers the program. For AFP members it costs $350 USD for initial certification or $250 USD for recertification every three years; for non-members it costs $550 USD for initial certification or $450 USD for recertification every three years.

8. Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM)

Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in the field of trade show marketing. The CTSM program is administered by the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA), an international organization dedicated to advancing the trade show industry.

The CTSM program consists of three levels of certification: Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM), Advanced Certified Trade Show Marketer (ACTSM), and Master Certified Trade Show Marketer (MCTSM). To obtain any level of certification, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as trade show strategy, planning, budgeting, logistics, measurement, and more.

It typically takes between 8-12 months to complete all three levels of certification. During this time, applicants must complete coursework and pass exams for each level. The cost for the entire CTSM program varies depending on the level being pursued; however, it typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD. Additionally, there are fees associated with each exam that must be paid separately.

Overall, obtaining a CTSM certification is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field of trade show marketing. It can also help you stand out from other job candidates when applying for positions in this field.

9. Certified Association Executive (CAE)

Certified Association Executive (CAE) is a professional credential offered by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). It is the highest level of certification for association professionals and demonstrates a commitment to excellence in the field. The CAE credential requires applicants to demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of association management, including governance, finance, operations, and public policy.

It typically takes one to two years to complete the requirements for the CAE credential. To get started, applicants must have five years of experience working in an association environment or related field. They must also pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic planning, financial management, legal issues, marketing and communications, technology management and more.

The cost for the CAE program varies depending on whether you are an ASAE member or non-member. For ASAE members, it costs $1,100 plus applicable taxes; for non-members it costs $1,400 plus applicable taxes. This fee includes access to online study materials and practice exams as well as the actual exam itself.

10. International Live Events Association Certification Program

The International Live Events Association (ILEA) Certification Program is a comprehensive education and certification program designed to recognize the professional achievements of those in the live events industry. The program is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to excel in their field.

The ILEA Certification Program consists of 4 modules: Core Competencies, Event Management & Production, Business Practices & Financial Management, and Professionalism & Ethics. Each module includes an online assessment that must be completed in order to receive certification.

In order to get certified, applicants must first register for the program and pay a registration fee of $250 USD. After registering, applicants have up to 12 months to complete all four modules. Once all four modules are completed, applicants will receive their ILEA Certified Professional certificate.

In addition to completing the four modules, applicants must also submit proof of at least two years of experience in the live events industry as well as references from two current or former employers or clients who can attest to their professionalism and competence.

The ILEA Certification Program is an excellent way for individuals working in the live events industry to demonstrate their commitment to excellence and gain recognition for their professional achievements.

11. International Special Events Society Certification Program

The International Special Events Society (ISES) Certification Program is a professional development program that provides recognition to event professionals who demonstrate a commitment to their field and have achieved a certain level of expertise. The program is designed to recognize the highest standards of professionalism in the events industry, and provides certification for those who meet the criteria.

To be eligible for ISES certification, applicants must have at least three years of experience in the events industry and must demonstrate proficiency in areas such as budgeting, marketing, and operations. Applicants are also required to pass an exam that covers topics such as event management, legal issues, risk management, and customer service.

The certification process typically takes between four and six months to complete. After submitting an application and passing the exam, applicants will receive their certification within two weeks.

The cost of the ISES Certification Program varies depending on whether or not you are an ISES member. For non-members, the cost is $500 USD; for members, it is $400 USD.

Do You Really Need a Event Specialist Certificate?

Whether or not you need an Event Specialist Certificate really depends on your career goals and the type of event planning that you are interested in. If you are looking to work as a full-time event planner, then having a certification can help you stand out from other applicants and show potential employers your commitment to the profession. Additionally, many event planning certifications offer specialized knowledge in areas such as budgeting, marketing, or catering which can be helpful if you are looking to specialize within the field.

On the other hand, if you are only considering working part-time with events or volunteering your time, then having a certification may not be necessary. You can still gain valuable experience and learn new skills through volunteer opportunities or part-time jobs which may be more beneficial than taking classes for a certification.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not pursuing an Event Specialist Certificate is worth it for your particular situation. Consider what kind of work you want to do in the future and what skills would be most beneficial for that position before making any decisions.

Related: Event Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Event Specialist Certifications

1. What is an Event Specialist Certification?

Answer: An Event Specialist Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the event planning and management industry. It is typically earned by completing courses related to event planning, marketing, budgeting, and other aspects of event production.

2. Who should consider getting an Event Specialist Certification?

Answer: Anyone who works in or wants to work in the events industry should strongly consider pursuing an Event Specialist Certification as it will demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field. This certification can also be beneficial for those looking to advance their career within the events industry.

3. How long does it take to earn an Event Specialist Certification?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to complete an Event Specialist Certification varies depending on the program and type of certification being pursued. Typically, these programs range from six months to two years in duration, but some may be shorter or longer depending on the specific requirements of each program.

4. What are the benefits of having an Event Specialist Certification?

Answer: Having an Event Specialist Certification provides numerous benefits for those working in or wanting to work in the events industry including increased job opportunities, higher salaries, greater respect among peers, and more credibility when dealing with clients. It also allows event professionals to stay up-to-date with trends and best practices in the industry while demonstrating their commitment to professional development and growth within the field.

5. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining an Event Specialist Certification?

Answer: Most programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent as well as prior experience working in the events industry or related fields such as hospitality or marketing. Additionally, many programs also require applicants to pass certain exams or demonstrate certain competencies prior to enrolling in order to verify their knowledge base and ensure they are ready for more advanced coursework associated with earning a certification.