What Education Is Needed to Become an Event Coordinator?
As an event coordinator, you plan all types of meetings and special events, from conventions and conferences to weddings and galas. You may need some formal education to find a job as an event planner, although some employers may also hire you if you have event planning experience. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Behind most large gatherings, including award ceremonies, birthday parties, conventions, and corporate events, you find an event coordinator. Sometimes called meeting planners, conference managers, or event directors, these professionals do all the necessary planning in putting together an event and ensuring that it goes off without a hitch. As an event coordinator, you might select and book a venue, oversee site preparation, gather materials and supplies, arrange transportation, supervise refreshments, and, afterwards, gather feedback on the event. In most cases, you need to perform all of these tasks within a set budget and schedule. Possible places of employment include hotels, convention centers, corporations, public relations agencies, or event planning companies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) states that while employers often look for job candidates who hold bachelor's degrees, it isn't a strict requirement to work as an event coordinator. If you'd like to enter this field, you might choose to earn a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, communications, marketing, or public relations. Other education options include associate's degree and certificate programs in meeting and event planning, where you can take courses specific to event coordination. Typical course topics might include corporate meeting planning, contracts, food and beverage management, site selection and negotiation, registration administration, international meeting planning, and on-site management.
Because event coordination is a hands-on field, experience is just as important as formal education. According to the BLS, job applicants with experience in administrative and planning tasks are given preference and sometimes start in a higher position than applicants with education alone.
When you're ready to advance your career, you might consider earning a certification. Several organizations offer certifications for event coordinators, including the Convention Industry Council, the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, and Meeting Professionals International. To earn certification, you typically need to meet education and experience requirements and, in most cases, pass a certification exam.
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