by Lisa Grimaldi | December 01, 2003

IMA's Karen Renk

Beginning next year, incentive professionals will be eligible to obtain a new career certification. At the same time, the only existing incentive-specific certification, the Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) will undergo a major overhaul.
   The new designation, Certified Professional of Incentive Marketing (CPIM), is being launched by the Naperville, Ill.-based Incentive Marketing Association and is spearheaded by Steve Maselko, CITE, a member of IMA’s board.
   “We’ve reached the point where we can invest people and time into overseeing certification,” said Karen Renk, executive director of the five-year-old IMA.
   In addition to a section of comprehensive questions, the test will include a record of contribution to the incentive industry (five years of professional experience and attendance and/or presentations at industry meetings) and the development of an educational seminar or thesis relevant to the incentive field.
   Candidates for the CPIM  do not have to be members of IMA; recertification will be required every two years.
   The association officially will launch the certification program next month and will award the first CPIMs at the Motivation Show, managed by Hall-Erickson Inc., next October. Testing dates and costs had not been finalized as of press time.
   Meanwhile, the Chicago-based Society of Incentive & Travel Executives is revising its CITE. According to Todd Dunlap, CMP, CITE and chair of the CITE task force, the first step in overhauling the certification process is to simplify the written test so questions have one correct answer; grading will be handled by SITE’s staff.
   Dunlap also is creating a bank of 500 test questions, so CITE candidates who fail the test the first time can retake it with new questions. His committee has recommended to the board that the CITE designation be offered to non-SITE members, and that CITEs should be required to be recertified every few years.
   “We want more CITEs out there to raise the profile of the certification and increase its prestige within the meetings industry,” said Dunlap.