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Industry collaborates on new standards for meeting planner certification

On June 7, the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Board of Directors announced the approval of a revised CMP Blueprint, which will now be known as the CMP International Standards. The new standards, also known as a “body of knowledge,” will redefine the skills and abilities a CMP candidate must possess to be a successful. These competencies are identified through a job analysis process and will become the guides that comprise a new CPM examination, which will go in effect in 2012.

Karen Kotowski

Karen Kotowski, CEO of the Convention Industry Council

“Our standard practice is to update the blueprint every five years,” said Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, CEO of the Convention Industry Council (CIC), the industry body that administers the program and awards the CMP certification. “The resulting CMP International Standards are much more detailed than the previous blueprint, so it was really a matter of re-weighting the topics and adding updates that have occurred in the industry over the five years since the previous analysis.”

To produce the International Standards, the CIC partnered with the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC), which had recently completed a job analysis of their own, entitled Event Management – International Competency Standard.

Alignment with the CTHRC’s competency standard, which has been adopted by several countries, is an important part of a global strategy for the CMP program as other countries look to the CMP certification as a means to qualify their work force.

“The process of making the CMP globally applicable has been under way for some time,” said Martie Sparks, CMP, Chair of the CMP Board. “The first major change was implemented last year with the introduction of the new CMP application. The new application places the emphasis on industry experience and education. The next step was to conduct an international analysis of the skills and competencies required of today’s meeting professionals. That has now been completed and is embodied in the new CMP International Standards.”

Adoption of the International Standards is part of a large-scale project.

“The next steps will include development of additional exam questions to address any new competencies in the standard, and taking a look at study materials to see if additional materials need to be developed,” said Kotowski.

Until then, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) will be working closely with the CIC to align its CMP Online Prep Course and the Professional Meeting Management textbook with the new International Standard for meeting professional certification.

The sixth edition of the PMM will jointly address the educational needs of college faculty and students, those seeking to recertification and meeting professionals seeking a definitive resource on a comprehensive array of industry topics.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and CEO

“We couldn’t be more supportive of the good work of the CIC and the CMP Board of Directors in updating core competencies and globalizing the CMP designation,” said Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and CEO. “We’re looking forward to working with them to update our industry resources to represent the new content areas and organization of the new CMP International Standard.”

Historically, 98 percent of those who complete PCMA’s CMP Online Prep Course have passed the CMP exam on their first try. Those who complete the course also earn seven CEUs.

“PCMA’s CMP Online Prep Course is an extremely effective tool for those preparing for the CMP exam and remains the only online course for CMP exam prep officially endorsed by CIC,” said Kotowski.

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has also announced the public distribution of the Meeting & Business Events Competency Standards (MBECS). The standards were collaboratively created and designed to quickly help a meeting professional discern which areas in their professional development they need to pursue to advance their career. The job analysis used to create the CMP International Standards included the MBECS.

Bruce MacMillan

Bruce MacMillan, MPI president and CEO

“These standards are arguably one of the most important resources we have ever had in terms of professional development and career enhancement,” said Bruce MacMillan, MPI president and CEO, “By using the MBECS as a field guide to success, professionals in any role and at any stage of their career can now follow a reliable path to career advancement by developing key skills and mastering competencies that will get them to the next level.”

As with the CMP International Standards, the MBECS were jointly developed with the CTHRC. The MBECS also received additional contributions from hundreds of academic advisors and senior meeting professionals around the world through various task forces and committees.

“The mission of the MPI Foundation is to support the prosperity of the meetings and events industry,” said Didier Scaillet, MPI chief development officer, MPI & MPI Foundation. “By funding the development of the standards, we are supporting the strengthening of our industry on a global scale. I’m proud of the work done by all contributors.”

Beyond the formal certification process, MBECS is also a relevant tool in the day-to-day professional development of meeting and event professionals.

“It is one thing to call ourselves professionals and another thing altogether to be regarded and respected as professionals by organizations and employers outside the meeting industry,” said Carol Krugman, CMP, CMM with Metropolitan State College of Denver. “Having recognized standards will provide the necessary framework and increased credibility we have been seeking for decades.”

According to data released in the Convene Salary Survey 2011, respondents who were CMPs earned on average 10 percent more than those without the designation.

“These results are keeping with the most recent CMP Census conducted by CIC,” said Kotowski. “The Convene survey underscores the fact that obtaining the CMP enhances a meeting professional’s earning potential.”

According to the report, 45 percent of respondents had earned their CMP. The average salary for those with a CMP was $76,255, compared to $68,605 for those without.

“The CMP is recognized as the mark of professionalism, commitment and attainment of a high level of knowledge and competency,” said Sparks. “Obtaining the CMP can help set the stage for career advancement and improved compensation.”

Candidates planning to take the CMP exam up until the January 2012 date will prepare and test against the outgoing CMP Blueprint. The CMP Board has plans to move to computer-based testing in the second quarter of 2012 under the new International Standards.


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