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Do we need standards?

Julia Rutherford Silvers, CSEP, argues in this article that the meetings and events industry needs to have some standard level of competence for those looking to get into the field. A snip:

    Although this will likely generate heated opposition, my contention is that we need standards of entry into this occupation. Without such standards of entry (a degree, certification, licensing or other form of credentialing) wherein one has to demonstrate at least a certain breadth of knowledge — an awareness of the scope of responsibilities associated with these endeavors, we will not move to the status of a genuine profession that clients and consumers can trust. As long as we remain a business-card entry occupation (one only needs to have business cards printed to become a “professional”) the industry will continue to be stalled at the “trade” stage, unable to garner the respect for and value placed on the specialized knowledge and skill required to perform at a capable and accountable level.

While the Convention Industry Council has been hacking away at standardizing things like terminology and contracts, it doesn't go this far. I tend to think Julia's right--there aren't too many recognized "professions" that don't require some demonstrated level of competence for entry. Electricians and lawyers need licensure; even journalists usually (but not always) need the right degree or at least some internship experience to get a foot in the door. Julia also thinks it should be up to the industry associations to set the bar. Somehow, I can't imagine the level of cooperation that would take to actually happen, but it's a good idea. What say you, PCMA, MPI, ASAE, et al? If not you, who?

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