Event Planner: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become an event planner. Learn about job duties, education requirements and the career outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Event Planner?

Event planners handle the details of conventions and meetings, such as selecting a meeting location, creating a budget and setting up electronic communications like e-mail and teleconferencing. In order to do this, event planners must meet with their clients to understand the purpose of the event and any expectations for location, cost and scope. During events, these professionals coordinate event services and monitor activities to ensure customer satisfaction. They may also need to review event bills and approve payments.

The most common kinds of event planners are wedding planners, but event planners can plan anything from anniversaries to corporate events. Find out more about event planning tasks and education options, in addition to employment and salary prospects, in the chart below.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Hospitality management, public relations, marketing, communications
Certification Certified Meeting Professional credential available
Key Responsibilities Create budgets for clients, coordinate meetings and social gatherings, secure event locations and communicate event details to clients
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%*
Median Salary (2015) $46,840*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as an Event Planner?

Event planners make sure that meetings and other gatherings are accomplished flawlessly. As an event planner, you'll handle the details of events, meetings, conventions, concerts and fairs while staying in the budget set for the event. From securing a meeting site to setting up audio equipment, you'll be hands-on in the planning of the event and remain on site during the event. You must use keen communication skills to discuss contracts, speak with site owners and negotiate with merchants. Being personable is an added benefit because you can cultivate professional relationships to negotiate lower prices and better dates.

You may also set up audio-visual equipment and electronic communications. You could also oversee the printing of materials, as well as the distribution of agendas to sites of interest. You might distribute maps and create a budget in accordance with the overall guidelines laid out by the organization.

What Does the Career Look Like?

Between 2014 and 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests event planners could see job opportunities improve by 10%, which is slightly faster than average. In May 2015, the median annual income of event planners was $46,840. In the District of Columbia, the average salary was $68,150. The next highest-paying state was Connecticut, with a salary of $63,020.

What Should I Study?

While not required, a bachelor's degree may be useful in the event planning industry due to increasingly complex job responsibilities and advancing technologies. A Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, Public Relations or Marketing can help you prepare for a career as an event planner. While most training occurs on the job, you must have excellent analytical, organizational and interpersonal communication skills to succeed in the field. While in college, you might consider joining committees that bring in bands and entertainment and plan parties and dances. You may also do student work to plan graduation ceremonies or orientations.

Also, the Convention Industry Council offers a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program. This is credential in international and recognized throughout the industry. To qualify, you should have full-time employment as a meeting planner and three years of experience. You should also have records to document that you've successfully planned events.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Lodging management is a related profession that only requires a high school diploma or equivalent and prior hospitality experience. These managers ensure that guests in their establishment have a good experience, and oversee the day-to-day tasks their establishments require. Two other professions that are related to event planners and require a bachelor's degree are those of administrative service managers and fundraisers. Administrative service managers plan, coordinate and oversee the services of their organization. Fundraisers organize campaigns or events to raise money and donations for a cause or organization.

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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