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11 Best Event Planning Certifications

Industry News
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Remo Staff

Hoyin Cheung

7 mins



June 18, 2024

List of top 11 Event Planning Certifications
Table of Contents

Looking to elevate your career in event planning? Are you unsure about the process of becoming an event planner? Look no further! Getting certified in event planning could be the answer you're looking for.

Continue reading to learn more about the best event planning certifications that can take your career to the next level.


Event Planning Certification - What is it?

An event planning certification is a credential that arms event planners with professional credibility and keeps them updated on the latest industry best practices. 

Event Planning is a creative process that involves orchestrating events like meetings, parties, and trade shows. Event planners oversee the entire preparation process and take care of budgeting, locating venues, and insurance coverage to ensure that the event is successful.

Top 11 Event Planning Certifications

1. Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP)

Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) certification

Launched in 1985, the Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) certification is highly recognized among professionals in events management worldwide. More than 11,000 professionals from 55 countries have earned the CMP credential.

The Events Industry Council (EIC) established the CMP program to improve services and maintain high standards in the events industry. Being a CMP-certified event planner gives you an edge over non-certified competitors. To get certified, you will need to take an exam. 

Program/ Exam coverage:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management
  • Risk Management
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Event Design
  • Site Management
  • Marketing

The EIC recommends that applicants use three reading materials: the PCMA Manual, the Events Industry Council Industry Glossary, and the Events Industry Council Manual. All recommended materials are available from the EIC's online store. The application for the exam usually takes 6-8 weeks. There is also also a variant of the CMP credential for professionals in healthcare meeting management specifically.

Pricing: The program costs $875 (Application fee of $350 per applicant and exam fee of $525)


  • Professionals who want to get certified must have a minimum of 36 months working experience in the meeting industry 
  • At least 25 hours of education
  • Score a minimum of 55 on the final exam 

Recertification: Candidates need to renew the CMP certificate every five years.

2. Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM)

Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) certification

The Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM), created in the mid-1990s, is a reputable credential that equips professionals with better meeting management skills. 

The certificate provider, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), is a standard association in the events management industry. 

Program/ Exam coverage:

  • Business management
  • Leadership
  • Meeting management 

The program lasts for 15 weeks, after which you get certified.

Pricing: The program costs $4400 per applicant


  • A minimum of seven years of experience in the meeting and event industry.
  • At least three years of experience in management
  • At least two years of profit and loss responsibility
  • Copies of a Personal Statement, Letter of Recommendation, and Résumé
  • Complete the program successfully 

Recertification: The certificate is permanent; hence, you do not have to renew it.

3. Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) certification

The Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) is a highly recognized credential worldwide, held by reputable professionals in the meeting and events industry. Founded in 1993, by the International Live Events Association (ILEA), this certificate aims to improve industry standards and advance professionals' careers.

Program/ Exam coverage:

  • Strategic Outlook and Alignment
  • Project Management
  • Risk Management
  • Event Management/Design and Execution
  • External Communication
  • Professional Conduct

Candidates can also access practice tests that simulate the final exam. Candidates will take the CSEP exam online via Meazure. The exam consists of 115 multiple-choice questions and has a 150-minute time limit. 

Pricing: The program costs $700 ($350 for application and $350 per exam attempt). The practice exam costs $59.99.


  • A minimum of five years of proven professional experience in the event industry. 
  • Candidates with less than five years of experience can also apply after providing necessary documents, such as a letter of recommendation and transcript.
  • Score a minimum of 74.77% on the final exam.

Recertification: The certificate requires renewal every three years. Recertification is either by documentation or by writing an exam.

4. Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)

Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) certification

Launched in 2005, the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) certificate is the highest designation for professional planners in the public sector. The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) offers this credential to increase the credibility of professionals in the event planning industry.

Program/ Exam coverage:

  • Federal budget and appropriations
  • Acquisition and contracting
  • Federal travel regulations
  • RFPs
  • Ethics
  • Risk management and protocol.

Applicants take a course and write an exam before they receive the CGMP certificate. The exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions. SGMP also provides a manual to assist in the examination.

Pricing: The program costs $649 and covers the course, exam, and manual


  • You must be a member of SGMP.
  • You must have a minimum of 12 months of full-time experience in the planning industry.
  • Score at least 85% on the final exam

Recertification: The certificate is not permanent and will require renewal every three years. Recertification requires a payment of $100 and a minimum of 15 hours of continuous education. If you do not meet the 15-hour requirement, alternative recertification is available for a fee of $250.

5. Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE)

Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) certification

The Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) is another reputable credential in the event planning industry. The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) provides this certificate to professionals. 

CPCE certification aims to increase the credibility of professionals in the catering and events industry.

Program/ Exam coverage:

  • Accounting
  • Beverage Management
  • Catering and Operations
  • Contracts and Risk Management
  • Event Design Execution
  • Human Resources and Administration
  • Sales and Marketing

NACE recommends the "Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Events Industry" as a study guide for the CPCE exam.

Pricing: The program costs $525 per applicant


  • Candidates must have completed 30 professional development hours.
  • Score a minimum of 70% on the CPCE exam.

Recertification: You will need to renew the certificate every four years after completing a minimum of 30 educational hours. A fee of $295 is also required.

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6. Digital Event Strategist (DES)

Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification

The Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification is excellent for professionals who wish to step up their game in digital events. The DES course, offered by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), aims to equip professionals with strategies to organize virtual and hybrid events effectively.

Interested candidates must write an exam. In addition to the certificate, DES applicants can also enjoy access to live and pre-recorded Q&A sessions, learning resources, and networking with other DES professionals.

Program/ Exam coverage:

Candidates have to go through an 8-module online course that covers:

  • Introduction/ Industry Overview
  • Strategy/ Event Business Models
  • Monetization/ Exhibitors and Sponsors
  • Experience Design/ Audience Engagement
  • Platform/ Technology Selection
  • Production/ Live Event Management
  • Marketing/ Communities
  • Reporting/ Measurement/ ROI

Pricing: The program costs $695 for non-PCMA members versus $595 for PCMA members. Note that there is a discount of 10% or more for teams of more than 2 members.


  • Candidates must score a minimum of 80% on module quizzes
  • Candidates must score a minimum of 70% on the final exam

Recertification: Professionals must renew the DES certificate every two years. Recertification costs $150, and applicants must have completed 10 educational hours.

7. Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM)

Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) certification

Back in 1975, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) launched the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) certification as a hallmark of professional standards in the events industry.

The CEM credential equips event planners with the knowledge and credibility to stay relevant in the industry.

Program/Exam coverage:

The CEM program is a 9-course module taught by industry professionals with the CEM badge. Topics include:

  • Consumer Show Management
  • Digital Events Management
  • Event Operations
  • Event Marketing
  • Strategic Planning and Management
  • Finance, Budgeting, and Contracts

The program is available virtually, in person, or on demand.

Pricing: The program costs $2791 for IAEE members and $4060 for non-members, but prices vary depending on the program format you select. For reference, IAEE members taking the on-demand course pay around $3250.


  • Candidates must have a minimum of 3 years of full-time professional experience in the events industry.
  • Candidates have to select 9 out of the 12 courses available.
  • Candidates must pass the exam after the 9-course module.

Recertification: Professionals need to renew the certificate every three years. The renewal fee is around $150. Professionals must have at least 15 hours of credit hours from leadership activities, educational hours, and formal education.

8. Certified Event Planning Specialist (CEPS)

Certified Event Planning Specialist (CEPS) certification

The Certified Event Planning Specialist (CEPS) certification is an entry-level designation for individuals pursuing a career in the event planning industry. This certificate from the National Career Certification Board (NCCB), aims to equip event planners with increased professional credibility in the industry.

Program/Exam coverage:

The CEPS exam consists of 80 questions with a time limit of two hours. There are practice questions available in preparation for the main exam. The NCCB also recommends two books, "Special Events: The Brave New World for Bolder and Better Live Events" and "The Freelancer's Guide to Corporate Event Design: From Technology Fundamentals to Scenic and Environmental Design."

Pricing: The program costs $175 per candidate. Applicants can also pay $19.95 for the practice exams.


  • All event planners with formal training, self-training, or work experience in the events industry can get the certification.
  • Score a minimum of 70% on the final exam.

9. Certified Quality Event Planner (CQEP)

Certified Quality Event Planner (CQEP) certification

The Certified Quality Event Planner (CQEP) certification is a high-level credential that validates planners' expertise in organizing and supervising events. Provided by the Managing and Strategy Institute (MSI), the CQEP certification process is flexible. 

Program/Exam coverage:

  • Event Management
  • Planning and Budgeting
  • Timing and Risk Management
  • Event Promotion

The course and exam are online. Candidates have up to one year to prepare for and write the final exam. The MSI also provides certified candidates with 30 Professional Competency Units.

Pricing: The program costs $299.95 per candidate. This fee covers the study materials, exam, and certificate.


  • Anyone interested in event planning can get the CQEP certification. The study materials cover all you need to pass the final exam.
  • Pass an online exam made of multiple choice questions in under three hours.

10. Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM)

Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) certification

The Exhibitor Group put the Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) credential in place to empower planning professionals with the mastery of trade shows and event marketing.

Program/ Exam coverage:

The program involves 7.5 hours of electives and 23 sessions. Topics include:

  • Measurement and Analytics
  • Planning and Execution
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Management and Leadership
  • Global Exhibit Marketing
  • Exhibits, Experiences, and Events
  • Personal and Career

Candidates have unlimited time to earn the CTSM credential.

Pricing: The program costs $6490 per candidate ($6000 tuition fee, $245 exam fee, and $245 portfolio fee).


  • Candidates should have a bachelor's degree and a minimum of two years of experience in events.
  • Candidates without degrees should have a minimum of three years of experience in events.
  • Score a minimum of 75% on the final exam and build a portfolio that showcases your application of what you learned from the sessions.

Recertification: The certificate is permanent. However, upgrades are available after getting the CTSM certificate.

11. Global Travel Professional (GTP)

Global Travel Professional (GTP) certification

The Global Travel Professional (GTP) certificate is the only credential that covers event planners in business travel management. Provided by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the GTP is highly recognized among professionals in the travel industry.

Program/ Exam coverage:

  • Travel Program Administration 
  • Strategic Business Planning
  • Buyer/ Supplier Engagement
  • Data/ Analytics/ Finance 

The GTP exam takes place twice a year and consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. GBTA has various online resources to help candidates pass the exam.

Pricing: The program costs $350 for GBTA members, while non-members pay $450.


  • A minimum of three years of experience in the business travel industry
  • Pass the final exam

Recertification: Candidates must renew their certificates every three years. The fee is $200 for GBTA members and $250 for non-members. Professionals must also have a minimum of 50 credits.

There you go! Now that you have gone through our list of the best event planning certifications, we have no doubts that you are well informed about the best choice to go for.

Ready to boost your career in event planning? Choose from any of the certifications above and join the industry's league of certified professionals.

Hoyin Cheung

Hoyin Cheung is the Founder & CEO of Remo, where he focuses on enhancing the authenticity of connections at virtual events. With a wealth of experience in event planning, he translates his insights into compelling content aimed at improving virtual interactions. His mission is to empower event professionals with practical tips to foster genuine connections in every virtual gathering.

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