Article originally appeared in the December issue of Corporate & Incentive Travel.
The Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) developed the Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) designation earlier this year to standardize and verify the skills of incentive travel professionals while promoting overall expertise across the industry and bringing validity to the profession. Since its debut in the summer of 2018, more than 75 industry professionals have earned their CITP designation. So, is certification right for you? Let’s explore some of the potential benefits of CITP certification.
When you take the time to become certified, it is a clear indication to your peers, colleagues, clients and others – in and outside of your industry – that you have taken significant measures to increase your knowledge and expertise in the field. Certification demonstrates commitment and dedication to your profession. This gold-star recognition validates a passion for your career and enables you to stand out in a sea of otherwise similar professionals. The addition of a certification acronym behind your title quickly denotes you are a thought leader and expert in your field – someone that others look to for guidance, input and recommendations.
Find Your Dream Job!
Certification can open doors and serve as a stepping stone to new career opportunities, including your dream job. Certified employee candidates are far more likely to be hired than non-certified professionals. Remember the above information about standing out in the crowd of industry professionals? Certification demonstrates to prospective employers that you are committed to the job and/or industry and will be an exceptional brand ambassador who will add value. Organizations love to boast about certified employees because they are a walking, talking, living “commercial” for the excellence of the organization.
The certified professional not only adds value to your career, but certification also adds value for your employer. We have seen a growing number of organizations that submit RFPs or bids for business inquire about the number of employees with a certification at the bidding organization. In many cases, business is awarded to organizations that have the most employees with certifications, which underscores industry knowledge, commitment, excellence and quality. This benefit is especially helpful when seeking approval for certification expenses and continuing education investments internally.
Keep Learning to Stay Current & Relevant
Certification keeps you current with industry skills and trends, while also making you extremely relevant. By having a valid certification, you are demonstrating to the world you are up-to-speed with the latest and greatest your industry has to offer. Plus, you’ve taken the exam to prove it! Certifications require the professional to obtain continuing education points or re-certifications in order to maintain a valid designation. This is especially important in the meetings and events industry where it is critical to be on top of the latest trends, compliance matters and ways to minimize risk – both financial and legal.
Research has shown that professionals with certification are typically compensated at a higher rate of pay than those without certification. In fact, results from a 2018 salary survey from the Professional Convention Management Association noted planners who hold the Certified Meeting Professional designation earned an average of $10,500 more per year than colleagues in the field without the designation. That is a substantial compensation increase! We anticipate higher wages are extremely promising with the newly established Certified Incentive Travel Professional designation.
It’s Always Worth Pursuing if it’s Something You’re Excited About
There are a number of reasons people choose certification; however, the most important reason is it’s something you’re excited to pursue and that you view it as more than just another item to check off the career checklist. Certification in the field you are passionate about allows you to demonstrate your capabilities, gain additional experience in the industry and work toward a higher salary.
Another way to think about certification is it’s like achieving a mini-degree without needing to head back to school. It can be one of the best things you do for your career as it readily shows others you have a high level of competence in your field and that you not only have an interest in your profession, but you take pride in your growth.
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*Article to appear in Corporate & Incentive Travel