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Certification: The ABC's of a CSEP

Posted on August 07, 2007

By Gloria Nelson, CSEP

The hallmark designation of Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) is bestowed upon industry professionals who have gone through a similar process of other industry certification designations.  The CSEP is awarded by the International Special Events Society (ISES) after candidates have shown
industry commitment through education, performance, experience, service to the industry and also reflects their commitment to the profession of event planning and management through ethics and conduct.

Each candidate must qualify to apply with various criteria and then goes through a three part process including letters of recommendation proving experience and expertise; a multiple choice examination of industry terminology and a three-hour essay examination testing their knowledge by articulating the core competencies of Development, Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production within 47 areas of event management criteria.

One might ask, "Why is it important for me to have or hire a CSEP?", which then begs us to ask ourselves the question if we would prefer to go to a bookkeeper or a CPA at tax time, or a general surgeon or a surgical specialist if one needed to undergo surgery.

In our world of alphabet soup, by adding initials after your name, along with balancing the other acronyms in our industry, what does it really mean to garner your certification and what should it mean when you consider hiring a staff member or a third-party?  Here's a sampling as provided by ISES.

     *  Certification demonstrates commitment to the special events industry. Whether a CEO, department director or newcomer to the special events profession, garnering the CSEP shows your peers, clients, and the public your commitment to your career and your ability to perform to set

    * CSEP enhances professional image. The CSEP program seeks to grow, promote and develop certified professionals who can stand "out in front" as examples of excellence.

    * CSEP establishes professional credentials. Because the CSEP recognizes individual accomplishments, it serves as an impartial, third-party endorsement to your knowledge and experience. The designation defines you beyond your job description or academic degree.

    * CSEP improves career opportunities. Certification identifies you as one who can adapt to changes in work, technology, business practices and innovation. It gives you the edge.

    * Certification improves your knowledge and skills. Achieving your CSEP shows your competence by confirming proficiency and career involvement, thus assuring knowledge.

    * CSEP offers greater recognition from peers. As a CSEP, you can expect increased recognition from peers for taking that extra step in your professional development.

Robert Sivek, CSEP, CERP of The Meetinghouse Companies in Elmhurst, Illinois shares, "It is important to be recognized as one of the highly qualified people in my field. With many newcomers to the special events industry, I want my clients to know that I am dedicated to the profession." In essence, professionals who have garnered their CSEP in the industry have gone the "extra mile" to stand out amongst their peers after thorough examination with measurable psychometrics administered by a third party testing company. As with other certifications, the CSEP also requires re-certification every five years.

So as we look at all the "C's" in our industry, may this added bit of certification information help you to understand the process, as well as accomplishment, when looking at your own professional path as a planner and also what you may wish to consider when the need to outsource is required. The ISES website (www.ises.com) as a "Finder Service" located under the "Resource" tab also allowing you to search with a CSEP filter.

For those who are interested in the CSEP, visit the ISES website or call the Education Assistant at 1-800-688-ISES (4737).  So that's the ABC's of the CSEP!


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