Article

Top 11 Stage Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top stage manager certifications and their requirements.

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

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for stage managers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise. They can help to differentiate a candidate from others who may not have the same qualifications. Certifications provide evidence that a stage manager has been properly trained and is up-to-date on industry standards and practices. They can also help to open doors to new opportunities, as employers often prefer candidates with certifications when considering applicants for positions. Finally, certifications can help to increase a stage manager's credibility and reputation within the industry, making them more attractive for potential employers.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Stage Managers and explains how they can help further a stage manager's career.

What are Stage Manager Certifications?

Stage manager certification is an accreditation that recognizes the proficiency of a stage manager in their field. It is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in the practice of stage management. Stage managers who have achieved certification are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to effectively manage theatrical productions.

Certification can help stage managers gain credibility in their field and be taken more seriously by employers or prospective employers. It also provides them with an opportunity to network with other certified professionals and take advantage of professional development resources offered through certification organizations. Certification can also provide access to valuable resources such as job postings, workshops, seminars, and industry events. Additionally, it may offer financial benefits such as discounts on equipment or services related to production work. Ultimately, becoming certified can help stage managers gain recognition for their hard work and dedication while building confidence in their abilities.

Pro Tip: When seeking stage manager certification, be sure to research the requirements and qualifications of the certifying organization before beginning the process. This will ensure that you are adequately prepared and have met all necessary criteria to obtain the certification.

Related: What does a Stage Manager do?

Top 11 Stage Manager Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Stage Managers today.

1. Professional Stage Manager Certification (PSM)

Professional Stage Manager Certification (PSM) is a certification program offered by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). It is designed to recognize and validate the skills of professional stage managers. The program is open to individuals who have at least two years of professional experience in stage management.

To become certified, applicants must complete an online application and submit a portfolio of their work. They must also pass a written exam that covers topics such as theatre production, technical theatre, stage management, and safety. The exam includes multiple-choice questions and essay responses.

The entire process typically takes about three months from start to finish. After submitting the application and portfolio, applicants will receive an invitation to take the written exam within two weeks. Once they have passed the exam, they will be notified of their certification status within one month.

The cost of Professional Stage Manager Certification varies depending on whether or not you are already a USITT member. For non-members, the fee is $150; for members, it is $100.

2. Certified Production Manager (CPM)

Certified Production Manager (CPM) is a professional certification program offered by the Association for Operations Management (APICS). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to successfully manage production operations. The CPM credential is widely recognized as a mark of excellence in the field of production management.

The CPM program consists of four courses which cover topics such as supply chain management, materials management, production planning and control, and quality management. Each course must be completed within a two-year period in order to obtain the CPM designation.

In order to become certified, applicants must pass an exam after completing each course. The exams are administered through APICS' online testing system. Applicants must also demonstrate at least three years of professional experience in production management or related fields in order to qualify for the certification.

The cost of the CPM program varies depending on whether you are an APICS member or non-member. For members, it costs $1,495 for all four courses and exams; for non-members, it costs $2,195.

3. Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP)

The Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) is a voluntary industry-wide program that certifies professional technicians in the entertainment industry. It provides a standardized system of training, assessment and certification for technicians who work in the areas of rigging, audio, video and lighting.

The ETCP program was developed by a partnership between ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association) and PLASA (Professional Lighting & Sound Association). The program includes both written and practical exams to assess the knowledge and skills of applicants.

It typically takes about two years to complete the ETCP certification process. The first step is to become an ETCP Recognized Trainer which requires attending an approved training course or passing an exam. After becoming a recognized trainer, applicants must complete at least three years of experience in their chosen field before applying for certification. Once all requirements are met, applicants must pass both written and practical exams to become certified.

The cost for the ETCP program varies depending on the type of certification sought after but can range from $250-$600 USD per exam plus additional fees for materials and administration costs.

4. Certified Technical Director (CTD)

Certified Technical Director (CTD) is a certification program offered by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of technical proficiency in the motion picture and television industry. The CTD program focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in technical roles such as cinematography, editing, sound design, and post-production.

The CTD program consists of two parts: an online exam and a practical demonstration. To become certified, applicants must pass both parts with a score of 80% or higher. The online exam covers topics such as camera operation, lighting techniques, audio engineering, video editing, color correction, digital media management, and more. The practical demonstration requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to set up a production from start to finish using various pieces of equipment.

It typically takes about six months to complete the CTD program. Applicants should plan on spending at least 10 hours per week studying for the exam and practicing for the practical demonstration.

The cost for the CTD program varies depending on where you take it. In most cases, it costs around $1,000 USD for both parts of the program. This includes all materials needed for studying and taking the exam as well as any fees associated with taking the practical demonstration.

In order to get certified as a CTD you must pass both parts of the program with a score of 80% or higher. Once you have passed both parts you will receive your official certification from SMPTE which will allow you to work in various technical roles within the motion picture and television industry.

5. Certified Event Manager (CEM)

Certified Event Manager (CEM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize event professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to successfully plan and execute events. The CEM program is offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA).

To become a Certified Event Manager, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having at least three years of experience in the event industry. Applicants must also have completed an ILEA-approved training program or have equivalent education or experience in event management.

The process of becoming a CEM typically takes between one and three months. To begin the process, applicants must submit an application form to ILEA along with proof of their education or experience in event management. Once approved, applicants will be required to take an online examination that covers topics such as event planning, budgeting and risk management. Upon passing the exam, applicants will receive their CEM designation.

The cost of becoming a Certified Event Manager varies depending on where you are located and which training course you choose to take. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1,000 USD for the application fee plus any applicable training fees.

6. Certified Professional in Event Management (CPEM)

Certified Professional in Event Management (CPEM) is a professional certification program for event management professionals. It is offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA). The CPEM program is designed to provide recognition to those who demonstrate a high level of knowledge, skill and experience in the event management field.

The CPEM program consists of two parts: an online exam and a practical assessment. The online exam covers topics such as event planning, marketing, budgeting, risk management, customer service, and more. It must be completed within three hours and can be taken at any time from anywhere with an internet connection.

The practical assessment requires applicants to submit a portfolio of their work that demonstrates their ability to plan, manage and execute events successfully. Applicants must also participate in an interview with an ILEA-certified assessor who will evaluate their performance.

To become certified as a CPEM, applicants must pass both the online exam and the practical assessment with a score of at least 70%. Once certified, CPEMs have access to exclusive resources and networking opportunities through ILEA’s global network of members.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete the CPEM program, depending on how quickly you are able to complete the requirements.

The cost of the CPEM program varies depending on your membership status with ILEA. Non-members pay $1,500 USD while members pay $1,000 USD. In addition to this fee there may be additional costs associated with taking the online exam or participating in the practical assessment.

7. Certified Venue Manager (CVM)

Certified Venue Manager (CVM) is a professional certification program for venue managers. It is the only industry-recognized certification program for venue management professionals and provides an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to excellence in the field. The CVM designation is awarded by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge, experience, and expertise in managing venues.

The CVM program requires applicants to have at least three years of full-time experience in venue management or related fields. Applicants must also complete an application form, provide references, and pass a written exam that tests their knowledge of venue management principles and practices. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as facility operations, marketing, finance, customer service, human resources management, event planning, safety and security, and legal issues.

The entire process from application to certification typically takes about six months to complete. After submitting the application form and passing the exam, applicants must attend an IAVM-approved training course on venue management before they can receive their CVM designation. The cost for the application fee is $200 USD plus any applicable taxes or fees; the cost for the training course varies depending on location but typically ranges from $1,000-$2,000 USD plus taxes or fees.

8. Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is an international certification program for meeting professionals. It is designed to recognize the knowledge and experience of those who plan, manage, and execute meetings and events. The CMP program was created by the Convention Industry Council (CIC) in 1985 as a way to ensure quality in the field of meeting management.

To become a Certified Meeting Professional, candidates must meet certain criteria including having at least three years of full-time professional experience in the meetings industry, completing a minimum of 25 hours of continuing education related to the meetings industry within five years prior to application, and passing an examination covering topics such as finance, risk management, contracts/agreements, and event design.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete all requirements for CMP certification. Candidates may begin their application process at any time by submitting an application form along with a nonrefundable fee of $450 USD. Once approved, candidates will be required to pass an exam administered by Prometric Testing Centers or Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide. After passing the exam, candidates will receive their official CMP certificate from the Convention Industry Council.

The cost of becoming a Certified Meeting Professional includes the $450 USD application fee plus any applicable fees for taking the exam at a Prometric or Pearson VUE testing center.

9. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognized professional certification for project managers. It is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and demonstrates an individual’s expertise in the principles and practices of project management. PMP certification requires knowledge, experience, and education in the field of project management.

It typically takes between three to six months to prepare for the PMP exam, depending on how much time you are able to dedicate to studying. To become certified, applicants must meet specific educational and professional experience requirements as well as pass the PMP exam.

To get PMP certification, applicants must first submit an application through the PMI website. The application includes information about your educational background and professional experience related to project management. After submitting your application, you will receive notification from PMI regarding whether or not you meet the requirements for taking the exam.

The cost of getting PMP certification varies depending on whether or not you are a member of PMI. For non-members, it costs $555 USD to take the exam; for members, it costs $405 USD. Additionally, there may be other fees associated with preparing for and taking the exam such as training courses or study materials that can add up over time.

10. American Theatre Wing's National Theatre Conference and Institute for Stage Managers

The American Theatre Wing's National Theatre Conference and Institute for Stage Managers is a week-long program that provides participants with an opportunity to develop their skills as stage managers. It is designed to help stage managers learn the latest techniques, gain valuable experience, network with other professionals, and become better prepared for the demands of their job. The program consists of workshops, lectures, and panel discussions led by experienced professionals in the theatre world.

The National Theatre Conference and Institute for Stage Managers takes place over one week in July or August each year. Applications are accepted from February 1st through April 15th each year. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have at least two years of professional experience as a stage manager or assistant stage manager.

The cost of attending the National Theatre Conference and Institute for Stage Managers is $1,500 per participant. This includes tuition fees, lodging, meals, materials, transportation to/from New York City (if necessary), and access to all conference activities.

11. National Association of Schools of Theatre Accreditation

The National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) is a professional accreditation organization for schools, colleges, and universities that offer degree programs in theatre and related disciplines. The purpose of NAST accreditation is to ensure the quality of education provided by these institutions.

In order to receive NAST accreditation, an institution must demonstrate that it meets certain standards. These standards include curriculum requirements, faculty qualifications, student services, library resources, administrative policies, and financial stability. The process typically takes two years from the time an institution applies for accreditation until it is granted.

To apply for NAST accreditation, an institution must submit a self-study report that outlines its compliance with the standards set by NAST. This report should include information about the school’s mission statement; its curriculum; faculty qualifications; student services; library resources; administrative policies; and financial stability. Once this report is submitted, a team of peer reviewers from other accredited institutions will visit the school to evaluate its compliance with the standards set forth by NAST.

The cost of applying for NAST accreditation varies depending on the size and scope of the institution's program. Generally speaking, however, most schools can expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000 in fees associated with the application process. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with hosting peer reviewers during their visit to evaluate the school's program.

Do You Really Need a Stage Manager Certificate?

The short answer is no, you do not need a Stage Manager Certificate to work as a stage manager. However, having a certificate in stage management may be beneficial in some situations.

A Stage Manager Certificate can be obtained through various training programs or courses offered at universities, colleges, and other institutions. It provides an individual with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the field of stage management. The certificate also demonstrates that the individual has taken the time to learn the basics of this profession and has obtained a basic understanding of how things should be done on stage.

Having a Stage Manager Certificate can provide an individual with more credibility when applying for jobs or seeking new opportunities in the field. It may also make them stand out from other applicants who do not have such credentials. Additionally, it may lead to higher wages or better job opportunities since employers often prefer individuals who are certified in their field.

In addition to providing an individual with more credibility and better job opportunities, obtaining a Stage Manager Certificate can also help an individual gain access to additional resources that may not be available without certification. These resources could include industry contacts and resources, specialized software programs or other tools used by professionals in the field, and even networking opportunities with experienced professionals.

Overall, while it is not necessary to have a Stage Manager Certificate to work as a stage manager, obtaining one may offer several benefits that could prove invaluable over time.

Related: Stage Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Stage Manager Certifications

1. What is a Stage Manager Certification?

A Stage Manager Certification is a professional credential that recognizes an individual's knowledge and skills in the field of stage management. It demonstrates to employers, peers, and other industry professionals that the holder has achieved a certain level of competence in the craft.

2. Who offers Stage Manager Certifications?

Several organizations offer Stage Manager Certifications, including the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology), ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association), and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).

3. How do I become certified as a Stage Manager?

Requirements for certification vary depending on which organization you choose to pursue certification through. Generally speaking, most require applicants to have experience in stage management and/or related fields, pass an examination, and submit documentation proving their qualifications.

4. What are the benefits of becoming certified as a Stage Manager?

Becoming certified as a Stage Manager can give you an edge when applying for jobs or promotions in the entertainment industry. It also demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and sets you apart from other applicants who may not have gone through the process of achieving certification.

5. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining my certification?

Yes, some organizations require that holders of their certifications complete continuing education credits or attend workshops periodically in order to maintain their certifications. Be sure to check with your chosen organization for specific requirements regarding this matter.