Whether you are new to meeting planning or a seasoned pro, SDSU's Meeting and Event Planning Certificate offers you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills within the growing industry that includes meeting and wedding planning, as well as hosting and organizing various events. If you want to explore a new career opportunity or become more astute in your meeting and event planning abilities; if you're seeking help with planning a single meeting or event; or if you want to find out how to grow your career in the meeting industry; the meeting and event planning certificate program is for you! SDSU’s Meeting and Event Planning certificate program can help prepare you for industry certifications, like the CMP® from the Events Industry Council.

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Whether you’re planning your first events or you’re a seasoned event planner, SDSU's Meeting and Event Planning Certificate program will help you stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly-changing industry.

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About the Program

Planning meetings and events is a big responsibility, no matter what your scope is. Whether you’ve been tasked with hosting department-wide meetings at work, putting together conferences, planning a wedding, or building large-scale trade shows and conventions with an international audience, you’ll need to go above and beyond in order to create experiences that are exciting, engaging, and memorable for your attendees.

$2,345

Estimated Cost

6 Months

Min. Completion Time

Online

Course Format

Meet Your Instructors

Click to view Instructors

Annie Revel
Annie Revel, CSEP, Program Advisor
Effective Networking and Resumes, Nonprofits and Fundraisers
Revel Productions

Tim Altbaum
Tim Altbaum
AV Basics
CEO of Vario

Anthony Bollotta
Anthony Bollotta
Event Design and Production
President, Bollotta Entertainment

Kira Finkenberg
Kira Finkenberg
Festivals and Public Events
Owner and Founder of The Kira Co.

 

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
Event Marketing and Promotion
Sponsorship Program Manager, ITA Group

Gineen Fulton
Gineen Fulton
Food and Beverage Planning
Account Manager, Unbridled Solutions

Mandi Graziano
Mandi Graziano
Hospitality Performance Network Global
Vice President Global Accounts

Nicole Matthews
Nicole Matthews
Meeting Planning Basics
Founder, The Henley Company, LLC

 

John Rose
John Rose
Professional Development
ALTOUR/Internova

Staci Tiras-Jones
Staci Tiras-Jones
Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Galas, and Corporate Events
STJ Events

Elisa Trotter
Elisa Trotter
Event Technology Tools
Sr. Implementation Consultant, CVENT

Maria Saling
Maria Saling
Financial Management Partner
The Craft Beer Attorney

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Award of Certificate
To earn a certificate in meeting and event planning, students must complete all seven required core 100 level courses and 18 hours of 200 level elective courses within two years. Students must attend all class sessions of each course in order to pass the course.

SDSU Bachelor's Degree
Students who earn the Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning may request to have HTM 431 waived in the upper division Hospitality and Tourism Management major at SDSU. See an HTM advisor at SDSU for more information.

Whether you are new to meeting planning or a seasoned pro, SDSU's Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning Certificate will help you expand your knowledge and skills within a rapidly-changing industry. The program can also help you prepare for event industry certifications, build your professional network, and create immersive events that will keep your clients (and their guests) happy.

Brandi Langham photo and storyI felt that the information in all my courses was very relevant to the industry, as some of the examples were used in real time. Instructors were able to explain what situations they were dealing with on a day-to-day basis.”

— Brandi Langham, Former Student


Is This Program Right for Me?

Student Discounts

Are you an SDSU Alumni Lifetime Member? If so, click here to learn more about how you can receive 20% off registration for this program.

If you’ve already completed your Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning, you’re eligible to enroll in additional courses at a 10% discount. Please email registration at enrollment.global@sdsu.edu or call to apply a program alumni discount for 10% off the registration fee.

Discounts are not retroactive and cannot be combined. Only one discount can be applied.

Whether you want to become a wedding planner, get a refresher on current industry trends, learn how to host virtual and hybrid events, or launch an exciting career in meeting and event planning, this Meeting and Event Planning Certificate will help you learn what it takes to thrive in a fast-changing industry.

SDSU’s event planning program is designed for:

  • Opportunity-seekers who want to explore a new career or role
  • Event planning professionals who want to become more astute in their meeting and event planning abilities
  • Newcomers who are seeking help with planning a single meeting or event
  • Forward-thinkers who want to find out how to grow their current career in the meeting industry

The majority of our courses are fully-online and accessible from anywhere in the world. Instructors hold classes 2-3 nights per week, which makes it easier to fit the program into your busy schedule. You’ll be able to earn your Meeting and Event Planning Certificate in as few as six months, or take up to two years to complete the program from the year you begin the program.

Fabiola Enciso photo and storyI’ve gone to so many schools and lived in so many places. It’s so rare to find that community and mentorship and receive help. This is the first time in my schooling career where I really enjoy each day with all of my peers and professors.”

— Fabiola Enciso, Former Student

 

SDSU is a State-approved provider for the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). If you’re unemployed or underemployed, you may be eligible to receive full or partial tuition assistance on this program. Equal Opportunity is the Law. Equal opportunity employer/program auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Click here to learn more.

What Can I Learn?

SDSU’s MEP Certificate program will help you take on the challenges facing our industry today and adapt to the changes that may come tomorrow. You’ll learn how to leverage the latest tools and technology to plan a variety of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events that excite your attendees and satisfy your clients.

The program covers a range of essential topics to help you grow your career as an event planner. You’ll build your foundation through a series of seven core courses that include focuses on:

  • Catering
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Contracts
  • Site selection
  • Finances
  • A/V tools and setup

In addition to the core courses, you’ll also be able to customize your curriculum with 10 different elective courses. In order to earn your Professional Certificate, you’ll need to complete 18 total hours of electives. Elective course topics include:

  • Weddings and social events
  • Event design
  • Technology
  • Planning for nonprofits/fundraisers
  • Festivals/public event planning
  • Conference planning
  • Event safety and risk management

The program will also prepare you for a variety of industry certifications, including the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP®) certification exam from the Event Industry Council.

If you’re interested in professional development, you’ll also learn how to grow your career through several courses that focus exclusively on career planning — including Professional Development, Effective Networking and Resumes, and Starting Your Own Business. Throughout the program, you’ll also have the opportunity to make meaningful connections with classmates, instructors, and other local industry leaders. By participating in the program, you’ll also receive exclusive opportunities for experience, volunteering, and jobs. You’ll even get discounted memberships to Meeting Professionals International (MPI®) and International Live Events Association (ILEA®).

Jenn Best photo and storyBeing in the program at the same time helped me launch my business. I had some professors look over my website, I’ve had 10+ peers volunteer for my business. The program is super collaborative and the instructors have a lot of hands-on knowledge they can provide.”

— Jenn Best, Former Student

 

Working Towards a Bachelor’s in Hospitality from SDSU?

When you successfully complete the program and your Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning, you can request to have HTM 431 waived in the upper division Hospitality and Tourism Management major at SDSU.

Please see an HTM advisor at SDSU for more information.

Career Outcomes

Labor Analysis
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners — Nationwide

Job Postings
16,400
Job postings in the last 12 months

Projected Growth
+18%
Projected job growth in the next 10 years

Salary Range
$29,240-$88,360
Average salary range of graduates


Source: Burning Glass/Emsi, 2022

The MEP industry is experiencing seismic shifts in the ways that business is conducted. In the absence of in-person meetings and events, event planning professionals have had to get creative and find new ways to create immersive experiences for their clients. Over the past two years, we’ve seen the rapid rise of virtual events, online meetings, and scores of digital planning tools. These new industry trends have led to an increase in demand for highly-trained, well-educated professionals who know how to create events with technology.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were around 125,900 meeting, convention, and event planners employed across the country in 2020. As the event industry recovers and demands for technologically-capable planners continue to grow, those numbers are projected to increase by 18% over the next decade — much faster than the national average employment growth rate.

Compensation can be extremely varied, and depends largely on your industry, location, and your level of experience. The nationwide median salary for meeting and event planners across all industries is somewhere between approximately $50,000 per year. In California, the average salary is nearly $55,000 per year.

Those who work in the meeting, convention, and event industries have many job titles, including:

  • Catering Directors
  • Conference Planners
  • Conference Planning Managers
  • Conference Services Directors
  • Conference Services Managers
  • Convention Services Directors
  • Convention Services Managers (CSM)
  • Event Coordinators
  • Events Managers
  • Special Events Coordinators

Why Should You Choose Us?

Accessibility

All courses are online and accessible from anywhere in the world, which makes this meeting and event planning program ideal for working professionals and busy students. You can complete the program in as few as six months, or take up to two years to complete all your courses from the year you begin the program.

Relevant Curriculum

Learn from a panel of highly-experienced industry professionals who are passionate about training the next generation of event planners to succeed. You’ll learn from a curriculum that’s continuously updated by your instructors, which means that you’ll learn what it takes to meet the demands of today’s meeting and event planning industry.

Networking Opportunities

An event planner is only as successful as his or her network. You’ll get the chance to make professional connections with your fellow classmates, instructors, and other local industry leaders. You’ll get access to exclusive volunteer and job opportunities to help you build your experience. You’ll even get discounted memberships to the San Diego Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI®) and International Live Events Association (ILEA®). The MEP program is also a proud member of MPI® and the San Diego Tourism Authority.

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To earn the Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning, you’ll need to successfully complete seven (7) core courses and 18 total hours of elective courses.

View the schedule below and click on the red course names to register.

Course List

Core Courses Schedule (All seven required.)

Core Courses List Cost SP SU FA
MP 0101 Meeting Planning Basics $224    
MP 0102 Food and Beverage Planning $189    
MP 0103 Event Marketing and Promotion $189    
MP 0104 Site Selection and Contract Negotiation $245    
MP 0105 Financial Management of Meetings & Events $189    
MP 0106 Audio/Visual Basics $189    
MP 0107 Professional Development $189    

Elective Courses Schedule (complete 18 hours)

In order to successfully pass one of our meeting and event planning courses, you'll need to attend each class session. Please ensure that you're able to attend all class sessions and complete all necessary coursework before you sign up for a course.

Finished all the required courses?
Click the button below to receive your certificate.

Request Your Certificate

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Registration Instructions

To register for courses in the Meeting and Event Planning program, please complete the following steps:

  1. Choose your courses in the "Courses" tab
  2. Click “Register”
  3. Check the dates and times to ensure that you can attend all sessions of the course
  4. Click “Add to Cart”
  5. Add more courses to your cart or click “Checkout”
  6. Log into your SDSU Global Campus Account, if you haven’t already done so
  7. Pay for your course(s)
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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I check my progress in the program?

Students in the meeting and event planning certificate program can check their progress by logging into their SDSU Global Campus student account. If you need assistance with your account, contact our Registration staff at 619-594-5152 or enrollment.global@sdsu.edu.

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How is the program structured?

The majority of our courses are fully-online and accessible from anywhere in the world. Instructors hold classes 2-3 nights per week, which makes it easier to fit the program into your busy schedule. You’ll be able to earn your Meeting and Event Planning Certificate in as few as six months, or take up to two years to complete the program from the year you begin the program.

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What is the program format?

Classes are held via live (synchronous) Zoom sessions, usually held in the evenings for students who may work or have family commitments during the day.

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How do I receive my professional certificate once I’ve finished the program?

Once you’ve completed all the program requirements, fill out a certificate request form. SDSU Global Campus will verify that you’ve completed all the required courses and assignments. Once you’ve been verified, you’ll receive a digital copy of your certificate.

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I’m interested. How do I get started?

Ready to take the next step? Connect with SDSU Global Campus by submitting the contact form at the bottom of this page.

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The Meeting & Event Planning program is a proud member of:

San Diego Chapter MPI     San Diego Tourism AuthoritySan Diego Chapter MPI

Follow the Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning on Facebook.

Facebook Link

Keeping Our Community Safe

Please ensure that you’re in compliance with all current COVID-19 guidelines when you take courses with SDSU Global Campus.

Related Links

MEP Blog Stories

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Enroll in the program at any time, even before registering for a course. It’s free, and offers many benefits:

  • Secure your curriculum (should the requirements change in the future).
  • See upcoming courses when you log into your student account.
  • Track your progress.

Enrolling in a program doesn’t mean you’re registered for courses. You’ll still need to register and pay for each course you wish to take.  

Want to Learn More?

Submit this web form and we’ll be in touch to answer all your questions and explain the next steps in the process. Or, you can reach a program recruiter by emailing recruiter.global@sdsu.edu or by calling (619) 594-7700.

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Core Courses

2022 Spring2022 Summer2022 Fall2023 Winter
MP 0101 Meeting Planning Basics
You've been given the responsibility of planning an event. Where do you begin? By learning just a few of the basic concepts involved in planning or coordinating a meeting, you can ensure a smooth running event. This course provides you with valuable resources for finding information, checklists, and other aids. The course also gives you information about career opportunities in the meeting planning industry.

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Nicole Matthews
MP 0102 Food and Beverage Planning
Learn how to enhance your programs with successful food and beverage planning. This course will explain policies and guarantees. It will also provide formulas for order pricing, tips on menu planning, and how to plan for special menus and theme parties. It offers lessons on catering off-site events, how to effectively communicate with catering staff, how to read contracts and confirmations, and on-site coordination guidelines.

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
MP 0103 Event Marketing and Promotion
Effective marketing and promotion to your audience is critical to your event's success. In this course, you will learn several marketing tools and techniques, and how to use them to your organization's advantage. You will get practical strategies and hands-on experience in creating an event marketing communication action plan for before, during, and after your program.

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Mark Fisher
MP 0104 Site Selection, Negotiation and Legal Issues
Selecting a location is a complicated process involving more than just booking rooms or choosing menus. This course will cover how to make that initial contact with a site, what to negotiate, effective site inspection, how to contract with a site, cancellation clauses, and ADA requirements. Included in this course is a virtual hotel site inspection and mock negotiation.

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Mandi Graziano
MP 0105 Financial Management of Meetings and Events
Creating a budget and developing a plan to implement it are essential for the success of any meeting or event. This class teaches you the management tools necessary to minimize the chances of cost overruns and eliminates surprises that affect your bottom line. Participants will learn how to forecast revenues and expenses, how to prepare spreadsheets, cost control, and profit and loss analysis. Bring your calculator for this dynamic hands-on course!

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Elisa Trotter
MP 0106 Audio/Visual Basics
This course is a basic but comprehensive overview of the design and application of presentational technology for meetings and events. Content covered in this course will include audio visuals and their support mechanisms, common terminology, strategies for selecting the proper technology, as well as recommendations for selecting technology-based vendors and/or suppliers. It will provide instruction in the basic set up of AV and other technical advancements for the meetings and events industry.

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Timothy Altbaum
MP 0107 Professional Development
You are an experienced meeting and event planner, now what? With the multi-faceted meetings industry, planners are challenged with making the right career moves, or knowing when to move at all. This course will help you decide where to take your career, and create an attainable plan for getting there. Students will be able to:

  • Identify different career options for experienced meeting planners
  • Understand if the CMP, CSEP, or CMM credentials are right for them
  • Define their own personal brand
  • Gain skills for personal presentation and public speaking
  • Find solutions for the challenge of work/life balance
  • Create a career plan that fits their personal goals and strengths


Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
John Rose

Elective Courses

2022 Spring2022 Summer2022 Fall2023 Winter
MP 0203 Starting your Own Business
How do they do it? When is the best time to start your own business? Think you have what it takes to succeed? This introductory class will explore the basics in building an event business, from building your reputation and potential client base, to effective marketing, available resources and the necessary steps to help you succeed.
Course Date(s)

Register
MP 0207 Event Design and Production
This course is an introductory but comprehensive overview of the conceptual and creative applications of design as they apply to modern experiential meetings and special events. Content covered in this course will include theme selection, color and its application to the overall design process, decor, specialty lighting and special effects. It will provide basic instruction in the application of design technology and the parameters that govern both available space and budget. This is a project-oriented course that focuses on the vital components of event design and production that are the most challenging but most rewarding.
Course Date(s)

Register
MP 0209 Weddings and Social Events
This is considered an entry level course for people considering changing careers or wanting to acquire the knowledge of what it takes to be a successful planner in the wedding and social event arena. You will learn how to identify your own personal market; what skills are needed to succeed; pricing, job responsibilities and types of themes and styles of parties and weddings. You will understand who and why people seek the skills of a professional party planner, and learn how to assess your client's needs, especially religious and cultural values that could affect the protocol of your event. You will learn how to identify the resources necessary for your event, and become familiar with the industry professionals that can provide you with those resources.

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
MP 0213 Effective Networking and Resumes
This intensive class will help you to map out a strategy for a successful career in the meetings and events industry. Learn how to develop a winning resume, explore business ethics, best practices, and sharpen your interview and networking skills. You will discover the importance of building relationships as well as the use of mentors, colleagues, and associations. Research and prioritize volunteer and employment opportunities that will best help you build your reputation and career. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity, and this workshop will offer tips and real-life experience to help you launch your dream career!

Note: Students must attend all classes in order to pass the course.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Annie Revel
MP 0216 The Art of Selling
Selling and persuasion are critical skills to business success. Whether you're on the sales or operations side of the meeting and event industry, you need to know how to sell something - an idea, a point of view, a product or service.

In this six-hour course, you’ll learn the art of selling in the hospitality industry. We’ll cover:

  • The different types of sales positions and structures in our industry, both internal and external, and property level versus general and national sales office levels.
  • How to prospect, how to convey a unique value proposition, and how to close a deal. You’ll also learn how to craft and present a sales proposal.
  • How to understand your competition and differentiate your product or service.
  • How to sell to other meeting markets, including the SMERF groups: Social, Military/Other Reunions, Educational, Religious & Fraternal.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Marla-Jo Harr
MP 0217 Nonprofits and Fundraisers
Working with nonprofits or adding a fundraising element to a special event can be rewarding, challenging, and life-changing to a charitable cause or social purpose. This course explores all the elements involved in using special events as a fundraising tool for nonprofits.

Topics Include
  • Creating unique and memorable events on a limited budget
  • Setting realistic goals based on an organization's mission
  • Developing sponsorship packages and deliverables
  • Working with boards, committees, staff, and volunteers to support the event
  • Creating and maintaining budgets, timelines, and production details
  • Negotiating tips and techniques to improve profitability
  • Multiple revenue streams: auctions, raffles, donations, ticket sales, in-kind or trade agreements, etc.
  • Public relations, marketing, and more.
This course will inspire and give you the tools necessary to embark on a fulfilling career in philanthropy.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Annie Revel
MP 0219 Festivals and Public Events
Large-scale public events require a specific set of tools. We’ll cover the things you’ll need to know relating to planning and logistics, including San Diego city permits, county health permits for food and beverage, alcoholic beverage licenses, and more. Learn about the challenges of and solutions for closing city streets; and working with police and fire departments, city business improvement districts, and more. Class will include a panel of festival organizers and an interactive project. Your takeaway will be a solid understanding of the basics of planning and operating large festivals.
Course Date(s)

Register
MP 0211 Event Technology Tools

Now more than ever, meeting and event professionals are relying on technology to create engaging, interactive events for their clients. In order to stay competitive in today’s industry, you need to know how to use these digital tools to turn your events into experiences.

This interactive course will show you how event planning technology can help you create efficiencies in logistical planning and attendee management, enhance attendee experience through engagement, and evaluate your ROI. We’ll cover a variety of digital meeting and event planning tools, including Microsoft Office, Google Sheets, and select products within the Cvent product suite. We’ll also explore new trends in event production and host lively panel discussions on the rapid rise of virtual/hybrid events.

Formerly: Technology Tools

Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Elisa Trotter
MP 0220 Event Safety, Security and Risk Management
Recent world events have shown the vulnerability of events to safety and security incidents. Often serious in nature, these incidents can result in injury and loss of life, damage, loss of revenue, cancellation, and ultimately failure of an event. However, through effective pre-planning and correct application of resource, many risks can be mitigated or avoided altogether. Students will learn to recognize the importance of risk management planning, and the steps that can be taken by event management teams to identify and prepare for incidents that could occur. An emphasis is placed on team training concepts – particularly in situational awareness (SA) – and practical exercises that can be utilized to improve emergency response in event teams.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
John Rose
MP 0221 Conference Architecture: Creating Engaging Experiences for Today's Audience

Today’s event attendees expect more from their time and money investment – they want experiences they can share, unique learning formats, and tangible tools to accelerate their career. As conference organizers, we need to use cutting edge CX (customer experience) tools, neuroscientific learning techniques, and nontraditional settings and activities to elevate their experience.

Students will learn how to:

  1. Use foundational experience design tools, persona mapping, and experience journey mapping
  2. Create effective agendas based on how neuroscience affects learning
  3. Identify unique settings and audience tools to enhance the conference experience
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Anthony Bollotta

Courses

2022 Spring2022 Summer2022 Fall2023 Winter