What do those Letters mean? The meeting and event industry has at least four certifications for corporate planners, and many more for the suppliers who serve them. Here's a glossary of the acronyms you'll find trailing behind the names of our industry's most dedicated and accomplished professionals.

CMP. The Convention Industry Council's Certified Meeting Professional designation is the most widely recognized in the industry. Started in 1985, meeting professionals — planners and suppliers — who have earned the CMP credential now number 11,269 in 27 countries. Candidates must have three years' experience and a full-time job in the industry; accrue a minimum number of points based on the scope of their responsibilities, education, professional contributions, and so on; and pass a written exam.

CMM. For meeting professionals — planners and suppliers — with at least 10 years' experience, Meeting Professionals International offers a Global Certification for Meeting Management program, focusing on strategic issues and executive decision making. Applicants must be accepted into the program and attend a five-day residency, after which they take an online exam and write a strategic business plan for either a new venture or their department. Now in its eighth year, the program has conferred 373 CMM certifications.

CITE. The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives launched its Certified Incentive Travel Executive certification program in 1980 to recognize high achievement in the field. Opened to non-SITE members in 2005, the designation requires incentive professionals to have a certain level of experience and involvement with SITE, work with a SITE member mentor, pass a three-hour written exam, and write a 3,000-word research paper.

CSEP. The International Special Events Society established the Certified Special Event Professional designation in 1983 to recognize competence and experience in the special event field. The requirements include an exam and portfolio review. Twice yearly exam dates coincide with the Special Event Show and ISES EventWorld.

DMCP. The Destination Management Certified Professional designation, established in 2001 by the Association of Destination Management Executives, is awarded to those who demonstrate expertise, experience, and ethical awareness in destination management. The first exams were held in 2002, and now 94 certified DMCPs are on the books; all but two are from the United States.

CDME. The Destination Marketing Association International, in conjunction with Purdue University, has a program in which convention bureau executives earn a CDME designation — Certified Destination Management Executive.

Sources: Convention Industry Council, www.conventionindustry.org; Meeting Professionals International, www.mpiweb.org; Society of Incentive & Travel Executives, www.site-intl.org; International Special Events Society, www.ises.com; Association of Destination Management Executives, www.adme.org; Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International, www.hsmai.org; Destination Marketing Association International, www.destinationmarketing.org; American Hotel and Lodging Association, www.ahla.com; Merriam-Webster Online, www.m-w.com

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CERTIFICATION (noun) 1. the act of certifying: the state of being certified