Plucking CIS and CITP out of the Industry Credential Alphabet Soup

There are dozens of designations available to event professionals, resulting in some individuals with a truly mind-numbing array of letters after their names on their event badges. It’s also prompted some professionals to question which certifications are worth the effort to earn and proudly display.

To give you an insider’s insight on SITE’s two credentials, CIS and CITP, we went straight to one of the experts on our team who knows it best — Liz Dombrowski, SITE’s Certification Manager.

Our colleagues — and our clients — deserve to work with professionals who have demonstrated their competence and knowledge, and who have met the rigorous standards set by their peers and industry leaders.  

When you review a credential to determine if it’s of value to you as an events professional, ask yourself this question: are you seeking education, or are you expecting to demonstrate your existing competency?

If it’s education you’re after

If your goal is education-oriented, then look for an assessment-based certificate program like the SITE’s Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS). CIS is a self-paced virtual program (or two-day in-person course) with a final assessment.

Certificate programs such as CIS help you build capacity in an industry, emerging profession or specialty area. When there is a learning gap to fulfill a role or become workforce-ready, an assessment-based certificate (ABC) program is well-suited to addressing this gap.

Because programs like CIS are built on a needs analysis, learning and assessment are directly tied to the knowledge, skill, or ability gap that the program is designed to fill.

When highly specialized knowledge or skills are required for a particular job, a well-designed training program with learning objectives that are aligned to an assessment can help confirm you have the requisite skills or competencies.

By attending CIS, you benefit by:

  • Learning from a focused course of instruction
  • Acquiring new skills
  • Enjoying the opportunity to learn new content or skills specifically tied to workplace needs
  • Earning recognition for demonstrating the desired educational outcomes
  • Gaining increased recognition from peers and colleagues in the profession
  • Exploring improved opportunities for employability and advancement
  • Feeling more confident about your professional competence
  • Increased employer and client trust
  • Increased autonomy in the workplace
  • Potential for higher compensation and greater career longevity

When clients see CIS after your name, they’ll benefit through:

  • Access to a better trained team member, whose training is targeted to the client’s needs
  • Objective, independent, third-party evaluation and assessment of professional knowledge
  • Knowing the certificate holder is committed to continuous professional development

If it’s a credential you want to pursue

If your goal is to earn a credential that validates your existing incentive travel knowledge, skills and abilities, then the Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) examination is a better fit. 

The CITP process involves determination of eligibility, an assessment of demonstration of competence, and requirements for regular recertification.

With CITP, you’ll benefit from:

  • Increased recognition by peers and respect of colleagues
  • Improved opportunities for employability and advancement
  • Greater confidence in your professional competence
  • Increased professional trust from employers and clients
  • Increased autonomy in the workplace
  • Better compensation and career longevity

When clients see CITP after your name, they’ll benefit from:

  • An objective, independent, third-party evaluation and assessment of their incentive team’s professional competence
  • Commitment to public safety and/or consumer protection
  • Recertification requirements for continued, enhanced competence 

We know the range of terms, determinations, and distinctions mixed into the industry alphabet-soup can be confusing and frustrating for anyone seeking industry credentials. 

Rest assured that SITE is committed to upholding strong standards of excellence in our credentialing programs, with our focus firmly on demonstrating meaningful value for certificants, their employers, and the wider communities we serve.

Liz Dombrowski serves as Certification Manager for SITE. She supports all of SITE’s credentials from soup to nuts, as someone who has spent her entire professional career managing, growing and developing certification programs.

Liz believes that certification programs help associations define their profession, promote higher industry standards, and inspire the next generation of experts. She is passionate about learning objectives, avoiding negative stems in exam questions, and always having a second cup of coffee.

Liz hails out of Washington, D.C. where she lives with her husband, son and a very demanding Siamese cat named Trouble. You can reach Liz at

Written by

Liz Dombrowski

Liz Dombrowski

Certification Manager


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