Event Planning Degrees & Certification: Online & Campus-Based Programs

Event planning degree programs teach students about various aspects of hospitality management and logistics. Learn about associate and bachelor's degree programs in this field and find out what classes you'll take and how to obtain professional certification. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Event Planning Degrees Are Available to Me?

Many event planning associate and bachelor's degree programs are available through a school's tourism or hospitality management department. These degrees can provide you with an overview of the event planning industry and teach you how to plan events such as weddings, conventions and business meetings.

Program Area Tourism and hospitality management
Common Courses Event management, marketing, communications, business law, sales
Online Availability Full degree not generally available in distance format, though some general education courses may be completed online
Certification Not required, available through various independent agencies
Median Annual Salary (2014) $46,490 (meeting, convention and event planners)*
Career Outlook (2014 - 2024) 10% growth (meeting, convention and event planners)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Courses Will I Take?

Typical courses for an associate degree program will cover topics in risk management and business law. You'll also learn how to select an appropriate venue or arrange entertainment and dining services. Business courses in financial management, marketing and business communications are also offered.

Bachelor's degree programs contain a wider range of course offerings in event production, promotion and sales. You'll also complete a handful of elective courses that cover event planning for festivals, trade shows and exhibits. Some bachelor's degree programs include courses in the culinary arts, such as food and beverage management. Event management topics, such as marketing and human resources, are also available.

Can These Programs Be Completed Online?

Most schools do not offer online degree programs in event planning, however, you may be able to complete English composition, math and science courses online if your event planning degree program requires you to take general education courses.

Do I Need to Be Certified to Work As an Event Planner?

Certification is not required of professional event planners; however, it is a way to show employers and clients that your services maintain a high level of quality and professionalism. Agencies offering certification credentials for event planners and meeting professionals include the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the Convention Industry Council (CIC).

The ISES' Certified Special Events Professional certification is available to professionals who meet work experience and leadership criteria and who pass a written exam. The CIC offers a Certified Meeting Professional credential. If you graduated from an event planning degree program and have two years of work experience you may sit for this written exam.

What Is The Career Outlook for Event Planners?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), meeting, convention and event planners earned a median annual salary of $46,490 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicts that employment opportunities in the meeting, convention and event planner industry will grow 10% through the 2014-2024 decade. This faster-than-average job growth is due to businesses' increasing need to communicate through meetings, conventions and events.

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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