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Convention Management Career Info and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a convention manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and travel demands to find out if this is the career for you.

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A bachelor's degree in hospitality or the Certified Meeting Professional certification are common requirements to be a convention manager. Convention managers plan conventions and ensure the plans are implemented to meet the clients' needs. They must have good leadership skills and the ability to multitask.

Essential information

Convention managers are responsible for the planning and carrying out of conventions in locations suited to the client's needs. While formal education in the field isn't necessarily required for employment, a bachelor's degree in hospitality or a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification, offered by the Convention Industry Council (CIC), can be helpful to those seeking a career as a convention manager.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in hospitality or CMP certification (recommended)
Education Field of Study Hospitality & Tourism
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%* (all meeting, convention, and event planners)
Median Salary (2015) $46,840 per year* (all meeting, convention, and event planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education Requirements and Certification

Undergraduate degree programs in event and meeting management are not too common, but they may be offered by universities that have a school of hospitality. Currently, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) offers a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. This certification isn't necessarily required for employment, but it is widely respected and could result in improved employment opportunities.

Bachelor's Degree

A Bachelor of Arts in Event and Meeting Management focuses on hospitality, management and general studies courses. Students in this major should have excellent communication and leadership skills. They should also be effective decision makers and be comfortable with multitasking. Event management programs involve enrolling in courses like food and beverage management, facilities planning, hospitality marketing, food service and tastings. Core business courses emphasize strategic planning and management, managerial communications, finance, marketing and the hospitality industry's legal issues. An internship or a final project concludes the degree.

Certification

The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential is highly regarded among employers of convention managers, says the BLS. The Convention Industry Council (CIC) awards the CMP designation. Candidates seeking to become CMPs must have three years of experience in the industry. However, if a candidate holds an undergraduate degree in event management, only two years of experience are necessary. University professors of hospitality management and related fields may also apply.

Besides the work experience requirement for eligibility, a candidate must also either have taken continuing education courses totaling 25 hours or completed an internship that has been approved by the CIC. Once a candidate has passed the exam, the CMP credential is awarded. The Certified Meeting Professional credential is valid for a period of five years, after which the holder must apply for recertification. This involves continuing education or participation in industry conferences.

Convention managers oversee all aspects of organizing and putting on a convention. The job growth for convention managers is expected to be 10% from 2014-2024, faster than average when compared to all occupations. A bachelor's degree and work is experience is required to earn the highly-respected CMP designation, and continuing education or conference attendance is required to renew the credential.

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