The Professional Convention Management Association’s annual salary survey shows a widening salary gap between those meeting professionals who have their Certified Meeting Professional designation and those who don’t.

The average salary of meeting professionals with a CMP in 2011 was $76,225, while those without a CMP earned $65,609, according to PCMA data. The salary for meeting professionals without a CMP actually went down, on average, in 2011. In 2010, planners without the designation earned $68,605. The salary for planners with a CMP remained about the same.

“The certification continues to prove its value in a competitive marketplace,” said Karen Kotowski, CMP and chief executive officer at the Convention Industry Council, which administers the CMP exam. The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents were satisfied with their career choice. The full salary survey will be published in the June issue of PCMA’s Convene magazine.