Online Certified Meeting Planner Courses and Certification Information
Meeting planner courses are generally offered through in-person instruction, due to the real-world experience needed to qualify for and successfully pass the certification exam; however, some online options are available as part of certificate or degree programs in event management. This article discusses the most common online meeting planner courses, as well as certification information.
Because of the significant amount of hands-on time students need to spend planning ideas under an instructor's supervision, online meeting planner courses are not that common. Nevertheless, some schools allow students to take some of the required coursework through distance learning, especially in self-paced programs.
Although not required as a prerequisite to certification, students who earn a professional certificate or associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in meeting and event planning have an advantage in career advancement and opportunities. Certified meeting planners often find employment with professional and community organizations, corporations and federal, state and local government programs. Self-employment is also an option.
List of Online Meeting Planner Courses
The following course descriptions profile the most common online meeting planner courses.
Introductory Meeting Management Course
This course provides students with a general overview of the core skills needed to plan a successful meeting. It covers timelines, checklists, contract negotiations, site selection, menu planning, budgeting and on-site management. Students also learn the importance of networking and dealing with clients and vendors effectively.
Meeting Coordination Course
This course investigates the numerous managerial duties a meeting planner must perform to create a well-designed and smooth-running conference, convention or educational event. Students learn to assess the intended audience, choose an appropriate venue and select the presenters and presentation media. This course also covers staging and production issues, utilization of audio-visual equipment and coordination of transportation, catering and security services.
Budgeting for Meetings Course
To produce a successful event, students explore the steps required to develop a realistic and well-constructed meeting budget. They learn proven techniques, such as per person methodology and break-even analysis, to project and control the budget. This course highlights the budgeting processes that are particular to the meeting industry only.
Registration and Housing Course
Students in this course learn the importance of the registration process, which often sets the tone for the meeting. The importance of fulfilling the housing needs and exact personal requirements of the attendees is also covered. Students explore ways to create a more harmonious meeting experience for everyone involved by preparing rooming lists and controlling sleeping arrangements to reduce friction among attendees.
Although a college degree is highly desirable in this field, it is not necessary for certification. To become a certified meeting professional, an applicant must show that he or she has had three years of practical work experience or a degree in meeting planning with two years of experience. Additionally, students must have completed 25 hours of continuing education courses or have completed an approved meeting planner internship. Individuals who qualify must then pass an exam given by the Convention Industry Council covering topics in facilities and services, logistics and meeting programs.
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