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Convention Managers: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for convention managers. Get the facts about salary, job duties, degree requirements and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Is a Convention Manager?

Convention managers work behind the scenes, managing people and helping events run smoothly. They typically oversee larger events, as the name 'convention' implies. These professionals work closely with their clients to understand the purpose of their event and learn their preferences and requirements. Convention managers then work with their venue to develop a schedule, coordinate food services, determine transportation if needed and more.

On the day of the event, they will monitor the various activities to ensure that the client is pleased and everything runs smoothly. They may also be responsible for approving payments or determining the bill for the client. Through the information featured in the table below, you can learn more about the job duties of a convention manager and find out information about earnings, education and job growth.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, along with work experience
Education Field of Study Public relations, marketing, business, hospitality management
Key Responsibilities Organize and implement events for hotels and convention centers; provide vendor information to clients; act as contact for planners; monitor event activities
Job Growth (2018-2028)7% (for all meeting, convention and event planners)*
Average Salary (2018) $53,730 (for all meeting, convention and event planners)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Convention Manager Do?

Convention managers can have many titles, such as catering manager, convention planner or conference director. In these positions, you generally are in charge of developing budgets, evaluating meeting spaces, working with host organizations and coordinating event transportation, as well as managing employees, interns and volunteers.

What Education Might I Need?

Although not an industry-wide requirement, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that employers may prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). You can find programs in related areas, like marketing, public relations, communications, business and hospitality management. Completing an internship or pursuing an entry-level event planning position, such as convention assistant, also can help you gain experience as you enter the hospitality industry.

How Can I Advance?

Advancing to a convention manager position can require taking on more duties and responsibilities. O*Net Online notes that critical thinking, time management, assessment, problem-solving, social perception and leadership skills are necessary for convention planners and other managers in this field (www.onetonline.org).

The BLS predicted that employment for meeting, convention and event planners would grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028. The bureau noted that in addition to a bachelor's degree and relevant experience, employers also might look for applicants with the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, which is offered by the Convention Industry Council (www.conventionindustry.org). CMP application requirements include educational experience and an internship.

What Might I Earn?

The BLS reported that the average annual salary for meeting, convention and event planners was $53,730 as of May 2018. As a convention planner, your salary might be somewhat dependent on your location. For example, in 2018, the BLS indicated that convention planners in Washington, D.C., earned an average annual salary of $67,970, while those in California made an average of $57,960.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Administrative services managers and fundraisers are a couple of alternative careers that require a bachelor's degree. Administrative services managers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating the various supportive and administrative services of an organization. They may maintain records and facilities and oversee administrative employees. Fundraisers work to increase awareness of their organization's work. They plan different functions and events to help raise donations and funds for their cause.

Like convention managers, lodging managers aim to make sure their clients - in this case, guests at their hotel or motel - are pleased with their experience. They hire staff, coordinate the budget and ensure that guest rooms are up to standard. Although a high school diploma is the minimum requirement for this job, a bachelor's degree is typically required for positions at larger hotels.