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How Much Does an Event Planner Make?

Event planners conceive gatherings from the ground up, which may require long work hours and extensive travel. Learn more about this career and the factors that affect the salary you might earn.

Job Description

Event planners, also known as a meeting and convention planners, put together events, such as national conventions, home and garden shows, movie premiers or business meetings. As an event planner, your duties include organizing and overseeing all aspects of these events, including finding and booking appropriate locations, coordinating food and entertainment, arranging for proper audio/video equipment and negotiating contracts. You are also responsible for assessing the overall effectiveness of events in order to determine the best course of action for future endeavors.

Important Facts About This Career

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Key Skills Interpersonal, organizational, negotiation, problem-solving, and communication skills
Work Environment Offices with some on-site work
Similar Occupations Food service manager, travel agent, lodging manager, administrative service manager

Average Salary Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2020, the median yearly salary for meeting, convention and event planners was $51,560 (www.bls.gov). The bottom ten percent made $29,240 or less, while the top ten percent made $88,360 or more.

Salary by Industry

The industry employing the greatest number of meeting, convention and events planners in May 2020 was the business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations; it employed 9,140 professionals at that time, according to the BLS. Traveler accommodation services had a mean wage of $51,590, and $60,970 was the average wage for other support services.

The industry with the highest salary was software publishers, which paid an average wage of $87,800 in May 2020, according to the BLS. Securities, commodity contracts, financial investments and related activities paid an average wage of $76,400, while other information services paid an average wage of $72,680.

Salary by Location

As of May 2020, the BLS reported that California, New York, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania employed the most meeting, convention and event planners. Average salaries for these states were $61,950, $69,550, $50,340, $50,840 and $52,820, respectively. New Jersey and New York had some of the highest salaries in the country. Average salaries were also high in District of Columbia ($67,340), Rhode Island ($67,010) and Washington ($65,460). The lowest average salaries in the country ranged from $48,070-$52,820. Some of these locations included Montana, Colorado, Florida, and Texas.

Salary by Experience

March 2021 salary data from PayScale.com reported that event planners with less than five years of experience earned an average wage of $46,000. Average annual salaries increased to $55,000 with 5-10 years of experience, $58,000 with 10-20 years of experience and $63,000 with more than 20 years of experience.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects very fast job growth for meeting, convention and event planners over the decade spanning 2019 through 2029. Growth is expected to reach 8%, and having a related bachelor's degree or professional certification can improve your job prospects. Work experience is also helpful because of the strong competition in the field.

Education Requirements

Many employers would like you to have a bachelor's degree before hiring you as an event manager, according to the BLS. You may choose to earn a degree in the area that the company you wish to work for specializes in, such as communications, business or hospitality management. Some schools also offer degree and certificate programs or continuing education courses in meetings management designed for people looking to enter the occupation.

Though not required by employers, you may also choose to complete a master's degree program or earn industry certification to increase your advancement options and earning potential. Possible certifications include the Certified Meeting Professional credential offered by the Convention Industry Council and the Certified Government Meeting Professional credential from the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.