Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Digital Event Strategist (DES) Certification Program?
- Why become DES certified?
- How does the certification process work?
- What are the prerequisites for certification?
- If I am certified in event planning and management, will this satisfy the application prerequisites?
- How much does it cost to become certified?
- What are the scholarships that are available?
- When and where can I take the final exam?
- Once I receive my DES designation, do I need to be re-certified?
- When can I get started?
- How long does it take to complete the certification?
- How can I partner with VEI to offer the Online Learning Program for multiple people in my association/corporation?
- What if I don’t want to be certified, but I’d like the education?
- Who are the authors of the Online Learning Program?
Since 2008, there has been tremendous growth within digital meetings and events, yet there is no step-by-step approach to help organizations, marketers and meetings & events practitioners understand how to successfully plan, design, build and execute digital engagements and environments to achieve their business objectives.
As the only organization dedicated to digital solutions for meetings, events, learning and community, the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) has created the DES certification program to address this need. The DES program will provide individuals with real-world knowledge and skills to incorporate digital engagements and environments within their marketing, events, learning and community strategies. Through the training and certification program, VEI seeks to:
- Establish standards of practice within the industry;
- Increase professionals’ virtual expertise; and
- Enhance the caliber and status of digital engagements.
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Why become DES certified?
By completing the DES program, VEI-certified individuals will have gained the highest-level of proficiency and achievement within the digital events industry. DES certification imparts several advantages:
- Improve Skills: Get the skills you need to excel in our increasingly digital industry. With DES certification training you’ll learn to extend and increase the value of your events and initiatives.
- Industry Recognition: DES designation demonstrates your professional expertise, knowledge and experience – and your commitment to professional development.
- Career Advancement: You’ll be uniquely qualified to lead the industry into the future. The certification validates your capabilities to plan, build, design and execute successful digital engagements and environments, opening new career opportunities within your organization and the larger meetings, events, conventions, exhibitions and learning industries.
- Peer Recognition: DES certification demonstrates your commitment to the industry and will be instantly recognized by your peers.
- Professional Growth: The DES program keeps you current on all digital technologies and techniques available to augment physical programs and launch online programs.
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How does the certification process work?
The DES certification program is a three-part process including professional experience, an online learning program and a final exam.
- Professional Experience: Each DES candidate will complete an application affirming a specific level of professional experience required to sit for the certification exam. Candidates may submit prior and ongoing learning courses and continuing education units (CEUs) toward their qualification for the certification. Twenty-five hours of qualifying education must be completed to be eligible to take the exam.
- Online Learning Program: The DES Online Learning Program covers the 16 key “areas of focus” on the exam. Each module is comprised of a PPT presentation, along with various other educational materials in a variety of media, and a short self-assessment to test your new knowledge. Each module earns approximately one continuing education credit, based on the length of the program. The curriculum covers topics such as: Needs Assessment, Strategy, User Experience, Engagement Mapping, Content Development, Monetization Techniques, Project and Resource Management, Audience Acquisition, Hybrid Strategies & Tactics, Product Launches, Partner Events, Online Community & 365 Virtual Environments, Education & Learning, Mobile Apps, and Measurement & Reporting.
- DES Exam: Once a DES candidate has met the prerequisites and completed the Online Learning Program, he/she is qualified to take the written exam. The examination is composed of multiple choice questions based on the Online Learning Program.
To qualify for the DES credentials, a candidate must demonstrate the following:
- Applicant must be currently or recently (within 12 months) working in events, meetings, marketing, conventions or learning industries.
- Applicant must have three years’ experience in events, meetings, marketing, conventions, or learning industries or be a member of a professional association in one of the above fields – such as PCMA, MPI, IAEE, ASAE, AMA, CEMA, VEI, etc.
- Applicant must have experience in various virtual and digital environments. Experience may include attending, producing or exhibiting in online events or meetings. (If applicant has no such experience, VEI can assist in arranging for such experience.)
- Applicant must have completed (or will complete) 25 credits worth of digital-related continuing education in 16 key “areas of focus” within 12 months of application. Programming may include online and/or onsite education programs through the Virtual Edge Institute or other event management organizations as approved by VEI.
While event planning and management certification demonstrates an individual’s high standard of professional achievement within the meeting, event, convention and exhibition industries, VEI recognizes the unique attributes required of digital event strategists. As such, there are no exceptions to the DES program prerequisites. Digital-related CEUs earned in the process of achieving the meeting or event-planning certification may qualify for use toward the DES prerequisites, if they’re approved by VEI and within the stated time frame.
The application fee is $175; the cost of the Online Learning Program is $595; and the exam fee is $325.
For a limited time, and to show their commitment to the future of digital events, Freeman and bxb Online are offering scholarships to pay all, or a portion of the DES certification fees.
The first exam has not yet been scheduled, but you will be able to take it online and/or in person, at various industry events. Once you’ve completed your application, more information on the final exam will be forthcoming.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of technology in general, and virtual and digital events specifically, re-certification will be required for all participants every three years. Re-certification will require 30 hours of “new” virtual/digital-related continuing education programs, with an average of 10 hours per year. Programming may include online and/or onsite education programs through the Virtual Edge Institute or other event management organizations as approved by VEI. No exam will be required if certification is not allowed to lapse.
Right now! Complete and submit your application today. Once VEI has verified your prerequisites (and approved your scholarship, if applicable), you’ll be able to log into the Online Learning Program environment and get started with your education.
The speed of certification will depend upon the applicant’s speed through the 16 modules in the Online Learning Program, but the 25 continuing education credits needed to sit for the final exam must be earned within 12 months of application for DES certification.
VEI is committed to advancing education on digital solutions for events, meetings, learning and community. To discuss how VEI can collaborate with you to offer the DES coursework for your organization, contact Michael Doyle at email@example.com.
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What if I don’t want to be certified, but I’d like the education?
You don’t have to be seeking certification to enjoy the benefits of the Digital Event Strategist Online Learning Program. For the same course fee of $595 you can have access to the 16 learning modules and self-assessments.
Each module is taught by a subject matter expert currently working in the digital industry. Their work has been supervised by VEI staff and outside advisers.