Topics Magazine Find It EXHIBITORLIVE eTrak FastTrak CTSM Certification Awards News Advertise
Steps to
and Staff
For Bosses
Enroll in
Submit Quiz
The Program

Certification is for All Levels of Experience
New To The Industry
Industry Veterans
CTSM education is designed to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge, giving those tasked with on-the-job-learning the tools, education and support needed to excel. Expand on your hard-won 5+ years
of trade show experience. This
option allows you to swap out core
education for approved electives,
which are labeled CTSM5.
As a CTSM graduate you have the unique option of adding onto your core certification 4 different levels of upgrades: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond.
Certification is a Three-Step Process
Classroom training. Final exam. Portfolio.
We work with you, when you are ready. Take as little or as much time as you need to complete the process. Classroom training consists of 23 required sessions and 5 electives. You must apply classroom knowledge to real life projects in order fulfill graduation requirements. After completing the course curriculum, candidates must pass a comprehensive exam with a score of 75 percent or better. Finally, candidates will build a portfolio that is based on and outlines real life projects for which the candidate has been responsible. Learn more about the three steps
Outstanding Support & Learning
Advisors & Mentors
The CTSM Team
The Faculty
No two CTSM candidates travel the exact same path to certification. The journey is yours but you're never alone. CTSM provides program advisors and mentors to guide, assist and teach you along the way.
Meet Jan Nelson. Jan is the CTSM Executive Director. Jan is also a CTSM graduate and an expert at answering questions about the curriculum, portfolio development, exam questions and procedures. Jan's put together a crack team dedicated to assisting you in your pursuit of CTSM certification.
Meet the rest of the CTSM crew
Katharine Chestnut Klang
Diamond Level CTSM

With 25+ years experience, Katharine started as an ad agency art director before transitioning to client-side marketing communications. She brings a practical working knowledge to every project.
Meet the rest of the faculty
Common Questions
What are the benefits of earning the CTSM designation?
Training in the disciplines of trade show and event marketing.
  • Networking with industry peers, veterans and suppliers.
  • Demonstration of valuable knowledge and skills you've gained.
  • Increased confidence in your skills and ability to manage
  • Credibility among your peers
  • Continuing Education Units document training. CEU fees are paid by EXHIBITOR.
CTSM recipients are not just "surviving" the merger and downsizing trends of this decade; they are thriving. Many CTSM candidates experience a career advancement either during or shortly after certification.

Who makes up the EXHIBITOR CTSM Faculty?
The faculty is comprised of university academic professionals and seasoned, recognized experts in the field of trade show and event marketing. Session content is designed and delivered by this group of the industry's most experienced individuals. Meet the CTSM crew

What are the requirements for certification?
CTSM candidates must attend 23 required sessions in the following areas:
  • Measurement and Analytics
  • Planning and Execution
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Management and Leadership
  • Global Exhibit Marketing
  • Exhibits, Experiences, Events
  • Personal and Career
  • An additional 5 elective sessions, offered at EXHIBITOR conferences, are required
Upon completion of the session component, a written comprehensive exam is required. This three-hour exam is comprised of multiple choice and true/false questions. It is offered at EXHIBITOR Conference in Las Vegas, and at the regional EXHIBITORFastTrak conferences.

Candidates also demonstrate skills gained by completing a Candidate Portfolio based on a real-world situation to document program improvements.

Are there any pre-requisites for the program?
In order to be eligible for the CTSM program, the following educational and job experience qualifications are required (these requirements may be completed concurrently with the program):
  • Bachelor's degree and 2 or more years of work experience related to trade shows and events
  • No degree with 3 or more years of experience related to trade shows and events

How often are the sessions held?
A complete offering of CTSM sessions occurs annually at the EXHIBITOR Conference in Las Vegas. Portions of the CTSM sessions are offered throughout the year at EXHIBITORFastTrak regional conferences, and many are offered online through EXHIBITOR eTrak. View the upcoming schedule at EXHIBITOR eTrak and EXHIBITORFastTrak.

How long will it take me to finish the program and earn the CTSM designation?
Candidates can work at their own pace. Some finish in the minimum amount of time, and others progress more slowly through the program. Completing the program requires that the candidate attend three conferences, or a combination of conferences and EXHIBITOR eTrak online sessions.

Most candidates are busy professionals with many other business and personal obligations and take more time to finish. There is no maximum time limit for receiving certification. Average time frame is 2-3 years.

How much does the program cost?
Costs for certification depend on how candidates complete the classroom training component. Candidates will attend at least three EXHIBITOR Learning Events to earn the required session hours. Click here for more information.

How do I enroll?
Simple - Complete the enrollment form. You will hear from us soon regarding your acceptance into the program. Registration for an EXHIBITOR conference does not automatically enroll you in the program. The official CTSM enrollment form needs to be completed online.

Can I get credit for work experience?
Work experience is a requirement for the program, not something for which you get credit. Prior to receiving certification, you will need a minimum of two years experience if you possess a bachelor's degree or at least 3 years if you do not hold a degree. Job experience may be completed concurrently with the program. All candidates will still need to complete 28 sessions, the exam and the portfolio.

Can I receive credit for sessions taken at previous EXHIBITOR or EXHIBITORFastTrak Conferences?
Yes. Contact the CTSM office at 507-424-4881 (phone), 507-289-5253 (fax) or via e-mail at wlewis@ctsm.com. After our administrator verifies your attendance, you will need to take quizzes from any sessions you wish to receive credit for. Credit will be given upon successful completion of the quizzes. This process is called an Archive Request, and there is a $125 fee for each conference from which sessions are applied retroactively.

Can I receive credit for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) earned through other programs?
When EXHIBITOR certifies a candidate, we document a pre-defined level of training with the help of Northern Illinois University Outreach. There is no way to determine whether CEUs earned elsewhere meet the requirements we have set for the program, and promise to candidates and their employers. Therefore we cannot accept CEUs earned through other programs.

Is it possible to receive college credit for the EXHIBITOR sessions I complete?
CTSM candidates will be awarded Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Northern Illinois University Outreach for all EXHIBITOR, EXHIBITORFastTrak, and EXHIBITOR eTrak sessions completed (EXHIBITOR pays all CEU fees). While CEUs are not the same as standard college and university credit, some schools may be willing to accept them. Please check with the college or university you are attending regarding their policies.

When do I begin working on my Candidate Portfolio project?
You may begin pre-planning after you have attended your first EXHIBITOR or EXHIBITORFastTrak conference. This can be done by setting up file folders for each section of the portfolio and collecting evidence for each section.

Register for the Candidate Portfolio when you have completed your 28 sessions. Once you register, you will be assigned a graduate advisor to assist you. You will have 1 year from your registration date to submit your portfolio without having to repay your registration fee.

For Candidates desiring to be recognized as a new graduate at EXHIBITORLIVE, they must have passed the Comprehensive Exam and submitted their portfolio for review on or before November 1st of the previous year.

Will my certification be renewed periodically?
Certification is lasting; however, due to the dynamic nature of the industry, we recommend certification upgrades at least every five years. Four levels of upgrades are awarded to CTSM graduates who earn the following after attaining CTSM credentials:

Bronze Level Upgrade 1 additional CEU (the equivalent of 10 session hours or 7 additional sessions)
Silver Level Upgrade 2 additional CEUs
Gold Level Upgrade 3 additional CEUs
Diamond Level Certification

Diamond Level Certification involves continuing advanced education combined with a demonstration of leadership through professional contributions to the CTSM program and the tradeshow/event industry.

How is my progress tracked?
Candidate records are maintained at the CTSM office. This record includes session dates, hours and total CEUs earned. You will receive a Status Update Report after each EXHIBITOR or EXHIBITORFastTrak Conference. This includes a copy of your transcript, which lists courses completed, required sessions remaining, total CEUs earned and a CEU award certificate. During the year you will also be advised of your eligibility to register for the Comprehensive Exam.

CTSM required session numbers change periodically. The easiest way to determine remaining required sessions is to access your personal transcript online. Go to www.ctsm.com/transcript.asp. Use this at any time to view which sessions you have taken and determine what you still need to take.

If you would like assistance in determining your schedule to complete remaining sessions as efficiently as possible, contact the program administrator at 507-424-4881 or wlewis@ctsm.com.

Enroll in CTSM
Start the enrollment process by submitting an application form:

Already enrolled? Log in to My CTSM.
How Much Does CTSM
Professional Certification Cost?

(hint: It's probably less than you think)

Connect with CTSM

Join the CTSM Groups on LinkedIn
CTSM Candidates and Graduates
CTSM Graduates Only

Keep up-to-date on the latest news
Sign up for the CTSM Newsletter
View the latest CTSM Newsletter
CTSM Candidates
Learning Events

University-Affiliated Online Learning for Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketers
>> More

The Accelerated Learning Conference for Exhibit and Corporate Event Marketing Professionals
>> More
Portfolio Assistance
Online Session 7010:
Preparing, Developing, and Submitting a Quality CTSM Portfolio
>> More

Our Partner

At CTSM we believe in quality education, so we've partnered with NIU to provide us with the best resources for your professional certification.
Join the EXHIBITOR Community Search the Site
Measurement & Budgeting
Planning & Execution
Marketing & Promotion
Events & Venues
Personal & Career
Exhibits & Experiences
International Exhibiting
Resources for Rookies
Research & Resources
Subscribe Today!
Renew Subscription
Update Address
Exhibit & Display Producers
Products & Services
Supplier to Supplier
All Companies
Get Listed
Exhibit Hall
Exhibit at the Show
The Program
Steps to Certification
Faculty and Staff
Enroll in CTSM
Submit Quiz Answers
Sizzle Awards
All-Star Awards
Exhibit Design Awards
Portable/Modular Awards
Corporate Event Awards
Company News
New Products
Shows & Events
Venues & Destinations
© Exhibitor Media Group | The Leader in Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketing Education 310 South Broadway, Suite 101, Rochester, MN 55904 | (507) 289-6556 | Need Help? Ask Scott