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Top 11 Special Events Coordinator Certifications

This article outlines the top certifications for special events coordinators, including what each certification entails and how to obtain them.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications for a special events coordinator are important in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that the candidate has a certain level of knowledge, experience and expertise in the field. Certifications also show that a person is committed to their profession and is willing to invest time and money into furthering their education. This can give employers confidence that the candidate is dedicated to providing quality service and meeting deadlines. Certifications provide employers with evidence of an individual’s commitment to success, which can set them apart from other candidates.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Special Events Coordinators and explain how they can help advance a special events coordinator's career.

What are Special Events Coordinator Certifications?

Special events coordinator certification is a professional qualification awarded to those who have the knowledge and skills necessary to coordinate and execute successful special events. This certification is designed to provide individuals with the necessary competencies to plan, manage, and execute effective special events. It is geared towards professionals in the hospitality and event management industries, including private businesses, non-profit organizations, government entities, and educational institutions.

The certification program covers topics such as budgeting for events, marketing strategies, event design principles, risk management strategies, event security planning and implementation, project management techniques, customer service expectations for event planners, legal considerations for special event coordination, and more. The certification also includes an industry-recognized exam that allows individuals to demonstrate their knowledge of these topics.

Having a special events coordinator certification can help individuals stand out among other job applicants in the hospitality or event management field. It can also provide a level of credibility that may be beneficial when working with clients or vendors. Additionally, it gives holders a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work as well as recognition within their chosen field. Ultimately, having this certification can give individuals greater opportunities for career advancement within the hospitality or event management industry.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of the various special events coordinator certification programs available online or through local organizations. These programs can provide a great foundation for developing your skills and knowledge in planning, executing and managing successful events. They can also provide you with valuable networking opportunities and help you to stand out from the competition when applying for jobs.

Related: What does a Special Events Coordinator do?

Top 11 Special Events Coordinator Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Special Events Coordinators today.

1. Event Management Certification

Event Management Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in the field of event management. It is designed to help individuals become more successful in their careers by providing them with the tools and resources necessary for managing events of all sizes. The certification can be obtained through an accredited institution or program, and typically takes between 6-12 months to complete. To get certified, individuals must complete a series of courses, exams, and practical experience that cover topics such as budgeting, marketing, logistics, customer service, risk management, and more. The cost of obtaining the certification varies depending on the institution or program chosen but can range from $500-$3,000 USD.

2. Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) is a professional certification program recognized by the International Live Events Association (ILEA). It is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of experienced special events professionals.

It takes approximately 12-18 months to complete the requirements for CSEP certification. To become certified, applicants must first meet eligibility requirements, which include having at least three years of full-time experience in event planning or management. Applicants must then pass an exam that tests their knowledge of special events concepts and principles. Finally, they must demonstrate their commitment to continuing education in the field through approved courses or workshops.

The cost for CSEP certification varies depending on whether you are an ILEA member or nonmember. For ILEA members, it costs $395 USD; for nonmembers, it costs $495 USD.

3. Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a professional certification program which recognizes the expertise and experience of meeting professionals. It is administered by the Convention Industry Council, an umbrella organization that represents all facets of the meetings, conventions, and exhibitions industry.

To become a CMP, you must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an examination. The requirements include at least three years of full-time meeting management experience or five years of part-time experience within the past ten years. You must also have completed a minimum of 25 hours of continuing education in approved topics related to meeting management.

The CMP exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as event design, risk management, contract negotiation, budgeting, marketing and promotion, and more. The exam takes about four hours to complete and costs $395 for members of the Convention Industry Council ($495 for non-members).

Once you have passed the exam and met all other requirements, you will be awarded your CMP designation. This credential is valid for five years from the date it was awarded and can be renewed by completing additional continuing education credits.

4. Certified Wedding and Event Planner

Certified Wedding and Event Planner is a professional certification that is designed to provide wedding and event planners with the knowledge, skills, and credentials necessary to plan successful weddings and events. The certification is offered by the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), which is an international organization dedicated to providing education and resources for wedding professionals.

To become certified as a Wedding and Event Planner, you must first complete the ABC’s online course. This course covers topics such as budgeting, marketing, contracts, etiquette, customer service, event design, vendor management, and more. The course takes approximately six months to complete.

Once you have completed the online course, you will be eligible to take the ABC’s Certified Wedding & Event Planner Exam. This exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering all aspects of wedding planning. You must score at least 70% on this exam in order to receive your certification. The cost of taking the exam is $195 USD.

Upon passing the exam, you will receive your Certified Wedding & Event Planner certificate from ABC along with a digital badge that you can display on your website or social media profiles. You will also be listed in ABC’s directory of certified wedding planners so potential clients can find you easily.

5. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is the most widely recognized and respected project management credential in the world. The PMP credential demonstrates that an individual has the knowledge, skills, and experience to lead and direct projects.

It typically takes between six months to one year to prepare for the PMP exam. To qualify for the PMP exam, you must meet certain educational and professional experience requirements. You must have either a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience or a four-year degree with at least three years of project management experience. You must also have 35 hours of project management education.

The cost of taking the PMP exam varies depending on your location and whether you are a member of PMI or not. In general, it costs around $555 for non-members and $405 for members.

Once you have completed all of the necessary requirements, you can register for the PMP exam online through PMI’s website. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions that must be completed within four hours. After passing the exam, you will receive your official PMP certification from PMI.

6. Certified Hospitality Sales and Marketing Executive (CHSME)

Certified Hospitality Sales and Marketing Executive (CHSME) is a professional certification for individuals in the hospitality industry who are interested in sales and marketing. It is administered by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

The CHSME certification requires applicants to have at least two years of experience in sales and/or marketing within the hospitality industry. The program consists of four courses: Introduction to Hospitality Sales and Marketing, Hospitality Sales Planning, Hospitality Sales Strategies, and Advanced Hospitality Sales Strategies. Each course must be completed with a passing grade of 70% or higher before an applicant can become certified.

In order to get certified, applicants must first register for each of the four courses through AHLEI. Each course costs $199 USD, totaling $796 USD for all four courses. After completing each course with a passing grade, applicants will receive their CHSME certification from AHLEI.

The entire process should take about two months to complete if all four courses are taken consecutively.

7. Certified Event Manager (CEM)

Certified Event Manager (CEM) is a professional certification program offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA). It is designed to provide event professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be successful in the industry. The CEM program consists of three levels of certification: Certified Event Manager (CEM), Advanced Certified Event Manager (ACEM), and Master Certified Event Manager (MCEM).

The CEM program takes approximately one year to complete. The program includes an online self-study course, a two-day workshop, and an exam. The self-study course covers topics such as event planning, budgeting, marketing, risk management, legal issues, and more. During the two-day workshop, participants practice their skills through hands-on activities and receive feedback from experienced instructors. Finally, participants take an exam to demonstrate their understanding of the material covered in the course and workshop.

To get certified as a CEM you must first become a member of ILEA by paying an annual fee of $225 USD for individuals or $425 USD for organizations. Once you are an ILEA member you can register for the CEM program which costs $1125 USD per person. This fee covers the cost of the self-study course materials, two-day workshop tuition fees, exam fees, and other related expenses.

Once you’ve completed all three components of the CEM program successfully you will be awarded your CEM certification which is valid for three years before it needs to be renewed.

8. Certified Event Designer (CED)

Certified Event Designer (CED) is a professional certification program offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA). The CED program is designed to recognize and validate the skills of event professionals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in the planning, design, and execution of events.

The CED program requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field through an online application process. Applicants must provide evidence of their work experience, education, and training related to event design. They must also complete an extensive written exam that covers topics such as event planning, design principles, budgeting and financial management, risk management, vendor selection, client relations, and more.

The CED designation is valid for three years from the date of certification. To maintain certification status, individuals must complete continuing education credits each year.

To become certified as a Certified Event Designer (CED), applicants must submit an online application which includes providing evidence of their work experience, education and training related to event design. The cost for the application fee is $350 USD plus applicable taxes. After submitting the application along with all required documentation, applicants will receive an email with instructions on how to take the CED exam within two weeks after submission. The exam fee is $250 USD plus applicable taxes. Once you pass the exam you will receive your official CED certificate via mail within four weeks after passing the exam.

9. Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE)

Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) is an internationally recognized certification program for fundraising professionals. It is designed to recognize and promote the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in fundraising. The CFRE credential is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to manage a successful fundraising program.

It typically takes about two years to complete the requirements for the CFRE credential. To become certified, applicants must pass a written exam that covers topics such as donor relations, financial management, major gifts, planned giving, grant writing, research and evaluation, volunteer management, and more. Applicants must also submit documentation proving they have at least five years of professional experience in fundraising or related fields.

The cost of becoming a CFRE varies depending on where you take the exam. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 USD for the application fee plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam in your area.

10. Convention Industry Council’s CMP-HC – Certified Meeting Professional – Healthcare

The Convention Industry Council’s CMP-HC – Certified Meeting Professional – Healthcare is a professional certification that recognizes the knowledge and expertise of meeting professionals who specialize in healthcare meetings. It is designed to help healthcare meeting professionals demonstrate their commitment to the industry, increase their value to employers, and stay current with best practices.

The certification process typically takes three to four months from start to finish. To become certified, applicants must first complete an application form and submit it along with a nonrefundable fee of $250. After the application is reviewed and approved, applicants must pass an online exam covering topics such as healthcare regulations, risk management, event planning principles, budgeting, and more. Upon passing the exam, applicants will receive their CMP-HC designation.

The cost for the CMP-HC certification includes the $250 application fee plus any applicable taxes or fees associated with taking the exam. Additional costs may include travel expenses for attending training sessions or conferences related to healthcare meetings.

11. International Live Events Association’s CSEP – Certified Special Events Professional

The International Live Events Association’s CSEP – Certified Special Events Professional is a certification program designed to recognize and reward the knowledge, skills, and experience of event professionals. It is designed to demonstrate that an individual has achieved a certain level of mastery in the field of special events.

To become certified, individuals must pass a written exam that covers various areas related to special events including planning, budgeting, marketing, risk management, legal issues, and more. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

In order to be eligible for the CSEP certification program, applicants must have at least three years of full-time professional experience in the field of special events or equivalent part-time experience. Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation from industry professionals who can attest to their experience and expertise in the field.

The cost for taking the CSEP exam is $495 USD for members of ILEA and $595 USD for non-members. Once certified, individuals must renew their certification every three years by completing continuing education courses approved by ILEA or passing another written exam.

Do You Really Need a Special Events Coordinator Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and what they hope to achieve in their career. Some people may find that a special events coordinator certificate is beneficial, while others may not need one.

For those who do choose to pursue a special events coordinator certificate, it can provide additional knowledge and skills necessary for success in the field. A certificate program can help professionals better understand event planning, budgeting, marketing and communications, customer service, and other areas related to managing successful events. It also provides an opportunity for networking with other professionals in the industry.

On the other hand, some people may find that their existing experience or qualifications are enough for them to become a successful special events coordinator without having to obtain a certificate. Depending upon the individual's current skillset and goals, they may find that simply developing an understanding of best practices and techniques through research or on-the-job training is enough for them to excel in the field.

Therefore, whether or not you should pursue a special events coordinator certificate depends on your own personal situation and ambitions. If you feel that obtaining certification would be beneficial for your career development then it could be worth considering; however if you already have the necessary skills or experience then it may not be necessary.

Related: Special Events Coordinator Resume Examples

FAQs About Special Events Coordinator Certifications

1. What are the requirements for Special Events Coordinator Certification?

Answer: The requirements for Special Events Coordinator Certification vary depending on the certifying body. Generally, certification requires completion of a training program, and/or passing an exam.

2. How long does it take to become certified as a Special Events Coordinator?

Answer: The length of time required to become certified as a Special Events Coordinator depends on the certifying body, but typically ranges from 3 months to 1 year.

3. Is there a fee associated with obtaining a Special Events Coordinator Certification?

Answer: Yes, there is usually a fee associated with obtaining a Special Events Coordinator Certification, which varies depending on the certifying body and type of certification sought.

4. Are there any prerequisites for becoming certified as a Special Events Coordinator?

Answer: Yes, most certifying bodies require some form of prior experience or education in event planning or related fields in order to be eligible for certification.

5. What are the benefits of becoming certified as a Special Events Coordinator?

Answer: Becoming certified as a Special Events Coordinator can provide several benefits including increased job opportunities and higher salaries. Additionally, certification can help demonstrate expertise in event planning and management and help differentiate yourself from other event professionals in the industry.