As businesses continue to recognize the value of face-to-face events, the demand for experienced and qualified planners is projected to grow significantly. While a number of industry associations offer education focused on meeting planners, SITE is the only global organization dedicated to providing education and certification specific to the “I” in MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.)
MICE Employment Growing Faster Than Other Occupations
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of meeting, convention, and incentive planners is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
And, a recent study by the Event Industry Council and Oxford Economics shows that in 2016 the meetings sector supported more direct jobs (5.9 million) than many large manufacturing sectors, including machinery, food, auto, and chemicals and sustained more jobs than the telecommunications and oil and gas industries. Compared to the same study conducted in 2012, “Incentive Meetings” showed the greatest growth increase, a 12% higher spend and a significant increase in participant numbers than all other types of meetings.
Up Your Game
No matter where you are in your career, quality training and certification programs can be a major boost, positioning you as a knowledgeable and highly committed incentive professional. While real-world experience is still one of the most important factors to getting a job, incentive professionals seeking to advance their careers should look for ways to augment their experience. Gaining certifications is a great way to demonstrate expertise and may help you secure higher-paying and more rewarding work.
In 2013 SITE launched the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) program as an entry-level certificate designed to provide incentive travel professionals with the elements and rudiments of the trade and accelerate their onboarding into the industry. Today, more than 1300 professionals from 48 countries are CIS certified.
SITE has recently added a new program to its education portfolio with the launch of Certified Incentive Travel Professional, a certificate specifically for mid level / middle management planners of incentive travel program in corporations and agencies, but open, too, to senior managers on the supplier side – DMOs, CVBs, DMCs, Hotels, Cruise Companies, Venues.
The CITP certificate is awarded upon successful completion of a two hour test designed to measure and validate the candidate’s performance against typical requirements of an incentive travel professional: strategic case-making around the business benefits of incentive travel, finance and budgeting, operations and execution, program design and delivery, CSR and sustainability. The test may be taken by any incentive travel professional who can demonstrate (a) 5 years full time employment in the Business Events /MICE industry and (b) 40 hours of Continuous Professional Education (of which 25% must be specifically produced by SITE and related to incentive travel.)
If you are interested in becoming a CITP candidate, but feel you need to brush up on your knowledge before taking the exam, SITE is offering an Online Certification Preparation Course consisting of 9 modules (3.5 CE credit) on topic areas mapped to the CITP Exam Content Outline. These credits can be applied to the 10 hours of SITE education required to qualify for the CITP exam, or for re-certification of your CIS credential.
Accelerate Your Career
Once you have earned your certification, it's time to use the new credential to full effect. Displaying your CIS or CITP certifications in the header of your LinkedIn profile, in your e-mail signature and on your business card is a credible way to signify your professionalism and attract attention from potential clients or employers.
By honing your skills, networking with other pros and gaining valuable industry insights and tactics you’re making yourself not just more marketable but, also, more adept at tackling the unique challenges incentive professionals face every day.