What Does an Event Planner Do?

An event planner coordinates the logistical and operational aspects of events and meetings. Whether they are public celebrations or private affairs, professional event planners must manage every phase of the experience. Continue reading for a career profile and information on becoming an event planner. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

An Overview of the Event Planner Career

The market for special events is experiencing tremendous growth. Event planners work in a diverse range of social and private settings. These occasions can be categorized as celebrations, commemorations, charitable proceedings and promotional affairs. There are a wide variety of special purpose events within these classifications, including weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birthday parties, family reunions, class reunions, fashion shows, fundraisers, political rallies and corporate meetings.

Many event planners specialize in one or two events, especially those who are self-employed. The tasks that event planners perform depend on several factors, including the type and size of event. Level of experience also determines event planners' duties; for example, entry-level planners may focus solely on the logistics, while senior planners may coordinate all the resources actually needed to carry out an event. Their duties are usually divided up into the following sequential steps:

  • Research: Planners must conduct the required research, establish expected outcomes and produce outlines of events, including attendees, participants or contributors. This is where the logistics and organizational needs are determined along with the necessary resources required to create the final event.
  • Design: Coordinators must visualize and make an evaluation of the scale needed to meet the objectives and determine what elements will supply the characteristics of the desired event.
  • Organization: This phase may include locating a site, catering, decorations, entertainment, travel arrangements and accommodations.
  • Supervision: Vendors and others will need to be coordinated and supervised.
  • Evaluation: This involves answering the questions regarding the delivery of the final production.


Some event planners have only a high school diploma and several years of experience, but employers generally prefer graduates of a bachelor's degree program in event planning, hospitality management or a related field. Certificate programs in event planning specifically are more common than degree programs, and they may even be focused on corporate event planning or special event planning. Individuals who have a relevant bachelor's degree might attain formal event planning training through a professional certificate program.

Coursework in an event planning certificate or degree program can include financial management, contracts, negotiation, human resource management, audio/visual equipment, food and beverage planning, brand management and publicity management. Programs may also include an internship or other supervised practical training.

Career Information

The job prospects for event, meeting and convention planners are excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a much faster than average job growth of 44% from 2010-2020, and event planners who hold a bachelor's degree, professional experience and the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential may stand out in the job market. Also listed by the BLS, the median annual salary of event planners was $45,810 in 2012.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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