When I decided to take a flying leap into the wonderful world of event planning professionals, there were a quite a few decisions I had to make as a career change.
I thought carefully about the steps I needed to take in creating a successful event career, and one of the first things that came up was whether or not I needed an event planning certification.
To Certify or Not To Certify?
Becoming a certified event planner seems like the easy – and obvious – choice to make. But for me, the question of ‘to certify, or not to certify‘ was a bigger decision than I anticipated.
While I certainly saw the advantages to becoming certified, I wasn’t sure if I *needed* an event certification.
Whenever I’m unsure about what to do next, I like to gather as much information as I can to make an informed decision. I researched the program options available to become certified as an event planner.
I also created a list of the pros and cons to help me decide.
The Pros and Cons
With all the research, I came to the following conclusions:
- It’s a nice mark of achievement. For the certified event planner, a certification sounds like a guarantee of that person’s qualifications and a valuable marketing tool for someone who wants to establish themselves in a new industry and as a professional.
- It’s a good way to get event credentials. For any event professionals who are passionate about growing their event career, it’s important to have a set of professional accolades that you can easily share with your clients. Given the number of talented industry professionals out there, the planner with an event planning certification could use it as a means to distinguish his or her work. It can also serve as a vital component in developing relationships with clients. I imagine that if I were certified as an events planner, I could use it as a talking point with potential clients to create a sense of comfort in my abilities as a professional.
- As an avid learner, I might actually enjoy the process of becoming certified. I know this may not be the most typical advantage for a pro and con list, but learning is a big factor for me because I love learning new things. Plus, I’ve always been a pretty ‘by-the-book’ kind of girl, which in a way makes me the perfect candidate for getting an event planning certification.
Event Planning Certification – Do I Really Need One?
At first glance, these seem like pretty strong arguments in favor of certification.
However, I still wasn’t convinced that becoming a certified planner was the right path for me.
Where was all this uncertainty coming from, and why wasn’t I sold on the idea of becoming a ‘certified’ event planning professional?
Well…. A day or two later, I got clear about what I needed as an up-and-coming event planner.
I Decided No. Here’s Why…
Here’s the thing: I am very committed to becoming successful in this industry.
I believe that part of this commitment includes mastering industry skills; developing great relationships with my clients, and collecting stellar credentials for a job well done.
But from a practical standpoint, I think hands-on experience can teach a planner the same things that are taught in an event planning certification program.
In other words, I realized that I can reap all of the benefits on my list with or without a certificate.
Certification For New Event Planners
Here’s what I’ve learned, event planning certifications are earned after years of experience (through professional designations) and there’s no such thing as a legitimate ‘certification’ for new event planners.
I know this rings true for me, because it was hands-on experience that helped me discover my passion for this work. I worked behind the scenes as part of a team, and I’ve taken the lead more than a few times as the event manager.
In every case, the process of ‘learning by doing’ helped me to create and plan the next successful event.
As an added bonus, practical experience allowed me to work with more experienced, professional event planners. I’ve met, and connected with some amazing folks who have become invaluable to me as mentors; and most of these professionals developed successful businesses without an event planning certification!
All in all, I think the question of certification comes down to a personal choice.
If you’re the kind of planner that sees the value in becoming certified, then maybe that is the right path for you. But I intend to do something different, because I learned first-hand that a passionate industry professional with a portfolio of satisfied clients is more qualified than the certified industry professional.
And since I already have the tools and resources for success, certification is no longer a priority for me.
Instead, I plan to grow my event career organically, which means more practical experience, more working with great mentors, and the continued education through the courses offered at Event Planning Blueprint.
Written by Karmen F. – a student in Event Academy
as a future event planner this article was very helpful to me!
glad to hear Susan!
Great honest perspective. It’s not an easy question to answer as I’ve met event planners with no certification that are world class and then I’ve met new event planners that just decided to go the certification route. Thanks again for this post.
You’re welcome David, thanks for your comment!