There are several paths you can take to become a convention manager. One includes obtaining a formal education on a graduate level and another is on an undergraduate level; however, most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and some may require you to have previous experience as well. Another path includes becoming a Certified Meeting Manager (CMM), which involves proving competency and passing an exam. No matter the path you choose to become a convention manager, you must be dependable, have a high level of initiative, and pay close attention to details. In addition to schooling and/or certification, you also need an assortment of skills, with customer and personal service being the most important.
There are many post-secondary schools that you can attend to become a convention manager. The undergraduate degrees are found at only a select few schools, but graduate programs are abundantly available. Courses involved in both types of degree programs include facilities planning, food service and management, and hospitality marketing. Graduate programs dig deeper into the industry of convention management and focus on managerial communications, legal issues in the industry, strategic planning, and more. You are also required to complete an internship when enrolled in the bachelor’s program.
There are other programs that you can attend to become a certified convention manager (CCM). These programs generally last 12 to 15 months, and two years of experience is required to take the final exam. This certification is not held in such high regards as a person who has a CMM. Both the CCM and CMM programs involve application and examination fees. It is due to the rigorous application and acceptance process that employers prefer a person to be a CMM instead of a CCM.
The CMM program lasts for five days and requires a person to pass a 165-question examination. To be eligible for the program, you must first fill out an application that consists of explaining your education, any previous experience, and references. Three years of experience of is required if you have no previous formal education, but only two years if you have an undergraduate degree. Those who are accepted into the program and pass the exam must renew their certification every five years.
You must exert large amounts of effort to reach challenging goals if you want to become a convention manager. Also included in your work style should be cooperation and an understanding of your obligations to any clients that hire you. Your sales and marketing skills should be top-notch, as well as your ability to effectively allocate resources. In addition, interpersonal and both oral and written comprehension skills are essential in this line of work.