Professional Certificate in Event Management

Night time event with fireworks

Meetings, community, music and film festivals, fundraisers, trade shows, conferences... whether it’s a spectacular celebration or a buttoned-up business meeting, coordinating the multiple moving parts of any event requires thorough research, planning, promotion and seamless coordination.

The GW School of Business (GWSB) Professional Certificate in Event Management prepares you to design, plan, and execute successful events. This program is a non-degree, non-credit program that provides continuing education units (CEUs). This is a professional certificate, not a certification. The program may be completed in the classroom, online, or in a blended format that combines both online and on-campus courses.

What can you expect to gain from the program?

After successfully completing the Core Course Series, which gives you the foundational skills of event management, you can choose a focus track: corporate event management or live event management.

  • Learn current and best practices in the design, planning, and execution of successful events and meetings.
  • Gain insight into the event and meeting industry by studying scenarios and completing activities involving seminars, conventions, conferences, expositions, trade shows and special events.
  • Learn how to conduct effective event and meeting management research, including needs assessments, site analyses, situation analyses and feasibility studies.

Is the program right for you?

The Event Management program is an ideal fit if you are:

  • Looking to enhance your existing skills and advance your event management career
  • Charged with handling event and travel duties for your company or organization

Not only is event management endlessly dynamic, but for the foreseeable future it’s headed on a growth trajectory. U.S. News & World Report ranks event planners #21 in Best Business Jobs, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts that event management employment will increase significantly over the next several years, growing 11 percent through 2026.

Event Management Certificate Requirements

The Professional Certificate in Event Management program is designed to be flexible and to meet the needs of individuals interested in professional development and career advancement. Take individual courses in specific areas of interest, or complete the full program to earn a Professional Certificate in Event Management.

To attain a Professional Certificate in Event Management, you must successfully achieve the following:

1. Complete and pass the following four required core courses worth 1.2 CEUs each (4.8 total CEUs overall).

Required Courses

501: Best Practices in Event Management (1.2 CEUs)

Students will examine professional meeting and event management and will study industry best practices as the foundation for the five phases of the event management model: research, design, planning, coordination, and evaluation. Students will learn how to:

  • Structure and manage an event planning schedule to improve profitability
  • Conduct comprehensive needs assessments and feasibility studies
  • Identify and prioritize event goals and objectives
  • Identify all potential challenges to a successful event and choose appropriate solutions
  • by using efficient planning scenarios
  • Conduct mid- and post-event evaluations
  • Create and present proposals and agreements that are advantageous to all parties of an
  • event
  • Appreciate the rewards of being in the Event Management profession

Learning Objectives:

To understand the complex and integrative phases of meeting and event management and acquire effective administration and communications skills such as:

  • Applying the 5 phases of the event management process to all events
  • Implement effective administration techniques
  • Use best practices in all phases of event planning
  • Demonstrate effective human resources management
  • Create a basic budget and understand fixed and variable expenses
502: Event Coordination (1.2 CEUs)

In the Event Coordination course, students will apply the skills learned in 501 – Best Practices in

Event Management and learn to identify, prioritize, secure and schedule every event element needed to ensure the successful coordination of a professional event. This course combines logic with creativity and teaches the details or “nuts and bolts” of event planning along with the design and décor that will communicate the visual message to attendees.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the components of an event element plan
  • Determine the feasibility of holding an event through SWOT analysis and existing resources such a time, money and human capital
  • Create a detailed timeline which integrates each element of the event into one chronological calendar
  • Develop and implement a site plan and conduct a thorough site inspection
  • Understand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), permit requirements and labor union issues and their impact on event coordination
  • Analyze and implement professional registration, admission procedures, security, and protocol.
503: Event Marketing (1.2 CEUs)

Event Marketing is about getting people to attend an event. The course highlights the difference between event marketing as compared to marketing an event. Event marketing is about using an event like the Super Bowl or NASCAR race to promote products, services and causes. Marketing an event is more about creating a cohesive, consistent and dynamic marketing plan that will encourage attendee, exhibitors and other stakeholders to register for an event.

Learn how to:

  • Conduct market research prior to the event
  • Identify and develop a promotional strategy, including the event proposal, invitations,
  • advertising, publicity, contests, promotional merchandise, sales promotions, packaging, and even personal appearances
  • Distinguish the relative strengths of print, electronic, and other advertising mediums
  • Analyze, establish, and implement a public relations strategy using video and audio news releases, as well as many other new tools
  • Incorporate social media
  • Formulate an effective event sponsorship program
  • Create a comprehensive marketing/sales measurement methodology

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand event marketing as a complex and integrative process requiring effective analysis, strategic planning, and communications skills
  • Determine ways to identify and segment a target market
  • Create an integrative marketing plan
  • Become familiar with the various types of advertising
  • Grasp the power, scope and efficiency of social media in event marketing
  • Learn how to calculate the effectiveness of your marketing campaign
504: Risk Management: Financial, Legal, & Ethical Safeguards (1.2 CEUs)

This course thoroughly and systematically analyzes potential threats to your events. As the final core course, this practical approach to risk management ensures that you understand and use every possible safeguard to produce safe and successful events.

Learn how to:

  • Create a budget for your event using accounting principles
  • Develop a forecasting method to identify future income and expense and improve receivable collection
  • Understand the key components of event contracts
  • Comply with health, safety, and security regulations
  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment for every event
  • Understand and comply with copyright, trademark, and service mark protection requirements

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand event risk management issues, financial, legal, and ethical, as a complex and integrative process requiring effective analysis, strategic planning, and analytical skills
  • Learn to apply the four ways to manage risk: avoid, accept, manage and transfer
  • Implement a risk analysis balancing probabilities and consequences of various scenarios
  • Prepare a crises management plan
  • Identify liability issues arising from injury or loss or damage to property
  • Cite the basic principles of contract law
  • Distinguish the types of insurance need for an event

2. Complete three elective courses totaling 3.6 CEUs. 

Elective Courses

505: Meetings and Conferences

This course will arm you with the information that is not only useful for meetings and conferences but for all types of events including board meetings, seminars or workshops and educational events. The information provided in this course will outline a series of steps that should be taken when preparing to produce a meeting or conference.  

Learning Objectives:

  • Acquire strategic planning and analysis skills to assist in conducting research, a needs assessment and site selection
  • Learn budgeting and financial management of meetings and conferences
  • Identify and prioritize meeting goals and objectives
  • Gain knowledge in how to assess risk and potential conflicts
  • Determine evaluation processes and create a method for conduction evaluation
506: Corporate Event Management

Students will learn the most successful techniques for managing trade shows, sales promotion events, staff meetings and other corporate events. Corporate events can create awareness and bolster staff morale. Learn how to negotiate to get the best return on investment (ROI) for your organization while staying within a budget and producing events with creative flair.

Learn to:

  • Integrate corporate events within the overall communication strategy of an organization
  • Assess, inspect, and/or design sites for corporate events
  • Orchestrate large national and international events as well as small corporate meetings
  • Produce successful awards, recognition, and hospitality events
  • Design and effectively manage major corporate hallmark events, such as anniversaries and ground-breaking ceremonies
  • Develop and implement record-breaking corporate sales events
  • Reduce event costs and document the savings for your annual review
  • Demonstrate the added value of your corporate events as a means of receiving an increased budget and other support in the future
  • Identify and pursue career opportunities in this expanding field
508: Starting, Growing, and Managing an Event Business

This course covers the practical skills needed to launch, operate, and grow a successful Special Events business. Learn how to develop a business plan, manage finances, market, and approach special events as a profit-making business. Case studies will cover everything from start-up capital to managing employees.

Learn how to:

  • Discover the five forces that drive profitability
  • Apply the best practices of successful companies in Event Management
  • Develop an effective marketing strategy for new clients and to serve existing
  • accounts
  • Identify sources of financing
  • Perform market research
  • Avoid cash-flow problems that are the downfall of many profitable businesses
  • Use break-even and bottom-up analyses to make important decisions.
  • Provide legal option for establishing your business in the U.S.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will be able to assess whether owning an event management company is the appropriate choice for them and will have some of the basic tools necessary for planning, opening, and operating an event management company.

514: Wedding Planning, Consulting and Coordination

The wedding industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, which shows no signs of slowing down.  No longer are elaborate and glamorous weddings just for celebrities. Brides throughout the country are taking inspiration in designing their own weddings and in hiring wedding planners to assist them. It has become common for brides to hire a professional to assist them with some or all of the planning, especially in metropolitan areas. This course will help you assess if you should become part of this billion dollar business.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define the elements of a successful wedding
  • Discover the pros and cons of a wedding fee structure: hourly, flat rate or percentage
  • Learn the basics of setting up a wedding planning business, as well as how to work with various wedding vendors
  • Identify potential risks and how to troubleshoot as well as how to deal with issues on the wedding day
  • Incorporate the latest trends in wedding design and coordination to build your business
550: Event Production

Producing events of any format can be a precise art, especially when it comes to gatherings that involve equipment and elements not typically in the event manager’s wheelhouse. Throughout this course we will be discussing project management techniques, the coordination of audiovisual production, lighting, speaker management and many other components. This course is part of the live event track and pairs well with the Virtual/Online and Hybrid Event Management course. The combination of the two courses will empower you to understand what kind of equipment, staff, and set up your event needs to be successful and function properly, maintain the correct aesthetic, and stay within budget, no matter whether your event is in-person, virtual/online or a hybrid format.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain knowledge of audiovisual and lighting elements involved in producing most types of meetings and events – including virtual/online and hybrid
  • Determine the sound and visual inputs required, and how to address those needs from a technical standpoint
  • Learn the necessary skills of how to work with speakers in preparing presentation decks for an event – and tips for managing both in-person and remote presenters
  • Identify criteria for selecting the right venue and vendor(s) for your event, from a technical production vantage point
555: Virtual/Online & Hybrid Event Management

In the current pandemic environment, event management professionals are expected to have the necessary skills to successfully design, plan and execute live virtual/online and hybrid events. This course is designed for industry professionals who are looking to enhance their existing event management skillset and experience by learning the fundamentals needed to successfully design, plan and manage virtual/online and hybrid events.

Learning Objectives:

  • Articulate the key differences between planning a live event and virtual event
  • Develop a virtual event strategy that includes key components unique to planning virtual events
  • Explore requirements for human resources, vendors, public relations, digital platforms, related technology, data collection & analytics, and data security
  • Develop a virtual event plan and program that provides return on investment to key stakeholders while also providing an engaging digital experience for attendees
586: (During and Post) Pandemic Event Strategy, Design and Implementation

Safety, risk and crisis management has always been an integral part of designing and planning events, but the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to safely planning in-person, on-site events during and eventually post pandemic. As live events begin to come back into in-person formats, rethinking the on-site event strategy and design is crucial to the success of having the continued ability to have in-person and on-site events during the pandemic and looking into the future, many of the new protocols associated with post pandemic will continue into the event management process for the future.

This course will assess the current environment and map new ways to prepare your event strategy, design, execution, and evaluation – no matter what comes next. From risk management to venue protocols; contract clauses to user experience; food and beverage to marketing, we cover the areas most impacted by the pandemic to help you develop and design well-informed, future-forward sustainable events.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to construct an elevated event strategy that meets the needs of events in a post/pandemic environment.
  • Participants will be able to implement resources for safer event design.
  • Participants will be able to execute research-informed event strategies.
  • Participants will discover event tactics to deploy at their events to assist in risk reduction.
  • Participants will be able to distinguish event sites that meet their risk mitigation needs.

3. Submit the Certificate Request Form (please email [email protected] to receive this form).

Upon successful completion of the four core courses and three elective courses (totaling 8.4 CEUs), you will receive a Professional Certificate in Event Management from the George Washington University School of Business. 

About Online Courses

You can start online courses at any time, making them a convenient way to enhance your career or complete your professional certificate program. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with complete instructions for attending an online class. Each online course is worth 1.2 CEUs and costs $450.

About Professional Certificates vs. Professional Certifications

The Event Management program is a professional certificate, not a certification. A professional certificate is a way to advance in your career, gain knowledge, and stay competitive in your field. Professional certificate completion demonstrates a desire to develop professionally, learn more and stay up to date in your field.

Professional certification typically involves an exam administered by a third party professional group. One of the more popular examples of professional certifications in the events industry is the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP). These designations exhibit advanced skills and training.


You must hold the equivalent of a high school diploma in order to enroll in the Professional Certificate in Event Management program. International students not fluent in English must have a TOEFL PBT score of 600 or a TOEFL CBT score of 100.

Program Fees & Financial Aid

  On-campus course fees:

  • Core Course Bundle (four courses, 4.8 CEUs) – $1,995
  • Elective Course Bundle (three courses, 3.6 CEUs) – $1,500

  Online course fees:

  • Self-paced online courses (1.2 CEUs) – $450 each

Because the Professional Certificate in Event Management program is a non-degree program, federally funded student loan programs are not available and the program is not eligible for deferment of such loans.


The grading system is Pass or Fail. Course completion letters will be emailed to students to indicate the completion of each course. A paper certificate signed by the university will be mailed to students upon the completion of the entire certificate program. Paper certificates will not be mailed for individual courses. All financial obligations to the George Washington University must be met in order to receive a certificate.

Refund Policy

If you cannot attend an on-campus Event Management Certificate Program course as planned, you may transfer into a future course or receive a course credit as long as you let us know five business days prior to the first day of class. If you contact us with less than five business days’ notice, you are entitled to a course credit valued at 50% of the course fee. If you contact us on or after the first day of class, you are not entitled to a course credit or transfer of any kind.

Course credits may be applied toward the cost of any future course within a year of the date of issue.

Refunds are given only if we cancel a course, although we encourage you to transfer into a future course so you can complete your required course work. We will not issue refunds for courses which have been postponed due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond our control. Refunds are processed within thirty days of the approval of the refund request. Please note: online courses are non-refundable.


*Please note: the program is currently only offering self-paced online courses


For more information about the Professional Certificate in Event Management, please email us at [email protected].