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Five steps to earn your CMP

By: Kate Shea, CMP, CNO Financial Group | May 5, 2020

CMPYeast is sold out from the stores with additional time for baking, happy hours are now virtual, and yoga classes can be streamed through a computer in your family room. During the past few weeks, it seems like all the days just blend together and we are trying to find our new normal. With all this additional time on your hands, it’s suggested to find a routine in order to be productive. This might be the perfect time to advance your career in the Meetings & Events Industry by earning your CMP. According to recent industry recent conducted by PCMA, meeting planners who hold the CMP earn (on average) more than $10,000 annually than their non-certified counterparts. Here are five steps in becoming a Certified Meeting Professional:

1. 25 Hours of Continuing Education

In order to first apply for your CMP, you must meet the requirement of earning 25 hours of continuing education within the past five years. If you have a degree in Event Management or Hospitality and participated in an industry-related internship, this may count for your 25 continuing education hours.

Industry webinars, conferences, and networking events with learning objectives that align with one for the nine domains in the CMP International Standards are all examples of CE hours. You can keep track of your hours on the Events Industry Council CMP Portal. Each event will need supporting documentation with an event description and its learning objectives (Invitation, Registration Confirmation, etc.). Once you have earned your 25 hours and are ready to apply for the CMP, you will submit your application through the CMP Portal. By utilizing the CMP Portal, all your CE supporting documentation is in one place which makes it easy to apply. 

2. Apply

In order to apply, you will need 36 months of full-time employment in the meetings industry as well as 25 clock hours of continuing education. If you have a degree in Event Management or Hospitality, you will only need 24 months of full-time employment. All applications will be submitted through your CMP Portal. There is a $250 CMP application submission fee. Applications normally take 3-5 weeks to review and you will be notified via email once you have been approved. After you have been approved, you then have 12 months to sit for the CMP exam.

3. Study

I recommend studying for about three to six months for the exam. First by reading the following textbooks which the exam is based off. Click here to purchase the texts.

  • Events Industry Council Manual 9th Edition
  • Events Industry Council Glossary
  • Professional Meeting Management 6th Edition

The exam mainly focuses on the Events Industry Council Manual 9th Edition and the 10 CMP International Standards – Strategic Planning, Project Management, Risk Management, Financial Management, Human Resources, Stakeholder Management, Meeting or Event Design, Site Management, Marketing, and Professionalism.

The exam is based on problem solving and situational multiple-choice questions so it’s suggested to study with a group or partner to discuss various vocabulary terms and how they can be applied in different event scenarios. Ellen Maiara, Chief Solutions Officer at Event Solutions Management, created a helpful CMP Preparation YouTube Channel with example test questions and explanations of each CMP domain. Maiara also has a full 12-week study group course which includes 25 CE hours. Practice tests are also available on the Events Industry Council’s website.

4. Schedule Your Exam

Once you have been approved to sit for the CMP, you have 12 months to take the exam. The exam is offered four times throughout the year in January, May, August and November. The exam must be scheduled at a Prometric testing center in your local area. The exam fee (non-refundable) is $475. To reschedule an exam, there is a $75 fee.

5. Take the Exam

On Exam Day, arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to allow time for check-in procedures. You will be provided with an on-screen calculator, two erasable note boards and dry erase markers. Upon your arrival you must have your Prometric Confirmation Number, Exam Eligibility ID number, and a valid government issued photo ID (drivers license or passport). The name on your ID must match the name the Events Industry Council has on file and is associated with your records. All personal items (purses, cell phones) must be placed in a locker during the exam. No jewelry outside of a wedding ring is prohibited. You will be asked to go through a metal detector. Finally, relax and find your right pace throughout the exam. You will have three hours to answer 165 multiple choice questions. Good luck! Your hard work while studying will pay off!

If you would like to learn more about the CMP process, visit the Events Industry Council website.

About the Author: Kate Shea is a corporate meeting planner at CNO Financial Group since 2016. She has been a part of MPI-CAC for the past four years serving on the Leadership Development and Marketing committees. She earned her CMP Certification in May 2019. Feel free to reach out to her at with any questions while studying for your CMP Exam.



Kate Shea, CMP, CNO Financial Group
CNO Financial Group

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