How Can I Become an Event Coordinator?

Research what it takes to become an event coordinator. Learn about the education and experience qualifications, certification, salary information and job 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 Coordinator?

Event coordinators choose suitable event venues, print materials, distribute schedules and more. They must coordinate logistical matters, such as budgeting, guest lists, decor, food service and other details pertinent to their client's needs and expectations. In some cases, they're responsible for making sure teams, like caterers, receive payment. They might be in charge of overseeing events like weddings, business conferences and celebrations. The following table presents an overview of this career:

Degree Required No formal degree required; bachelor's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Hospitality management, event planning, marketing, public relations
Training Required Internship, volunteer with an organization that hosts events
Certification Voluntary certification is available
Job Growth (2014-24) 10%* (for meeting, convention, and event planners)
Median Salary (2015) $46,840* (for meeting, convention, and event planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Event Coordinator Do?

Event coordinators are responsible for overseeing all the steps involved in organizing an event. You'll begin with a concept and carry a theme or idea through the entire event. Every detail will be your responsibility. Some of the types of events you'll plan are conventions, meetings, conferences, concerts, comedic acts, religious gatherings or festivals. Some of the tasks that you may do include inspecting food and setting up technology needed for the event. You have the option of opening your own business or working for a company.

What Should I Study?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there isn't a set educational path to becoming an event coordinator (www.bls.gov). The BLS suggests seeking a bachelor's degree with majors in marketing, public relations or hospitality. Although employers may give preference to those with bachelor's degrees, certificate and associate degree programs in hospitality and special event planning are available and may be sufficient.

What Experience Should I Seek?

Experience may be just as important as education when it comes to snagging that job. Completing an internship or volunteering with an organization that hosts events may be a way to gain experience. You can complete many of these internships while finishing your degree program. Volunteering with your college to put on student-planned events allows you to see what goes into organizing an event.

These voluntary efforts are a good way to build a solid reputation and open up networking opportunities. Networking is one of the key parts of event planning. When you have a good relationship with vendors and meeting halls you can negotiate discounts and prime dates for clients. Customer service skills can also be obtained through contact with vendors and other service industry people. Internships and volunteering may lead you to obtain a paying job or start a new event-planning business.

What Certifications Are There?

There are professional certifications that may help you in your career as an event coordinator. The International Special Events Society oversees the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation (http://isesew.vtcus.com). The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification, which is a high recognition in the industry (www.conventionindustry.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers requiring a bachelor's degree include administrative services managers and fundraisers. Administrative services managers are responsible for coordinating an organization's support services. They must oversee matters such as record-keeping and facility upkeep. Fundraisers organize and promote events for the sake of garnering funds for an organization or entity. Travel agents are another option requiring a lower level of education; they only need a high school diploma and are tasked with managing the details of trips, such as hotel stays and itineraries.

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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