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What Are the Educational Requirements for an Event Planning Career?

Event planning can be both a hectic and potentially rewarding career. Event planning involves orchestrating the details of an event. Educational requirements include earning a certificate or bachelor's or master's degree or taking continuing education courses.

Working as an Event Planner

Event planners can work for organizations or independently as a consultant. They may face challenging problems organizing meetings and events for their clients. People who work in event planning come from a variety of backgrounds, as there are no set educational requirements. However, having a bachelor's degree may make an applicant for a position in this field more attractive to employers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Experience is also a contributing factor, either paid or volunteer, in helping an individual obtain a job.

Important Facts About Event Planning

On-the-job Training Internships with hotels or convention centers, work with an event coordinating company
Mean Annual Salary (May 2018) $53,730 (for all meeting, convention and event planners)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% (for all meeting, convention and event planners)
Key Skills Organization, customer service, communication, negotiation, composure, problem-solving

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Degrees and Certificate Programs

While event planners come from many different backgrounds, earning an undergraduate degree in communications, marketing or public relations can be helpful. Additionally, business or hospitality degrees can provide you with the knowledge and skills applicable to the event planning field. Bachelor's and master's degrees in meeting management, and certificate programs and continuing education courses in meeting and event planning are also available to students looking to increase their knowledge in the field. Courses in these programs may include:

  • Basics of meeting planning
  • Special events and weddings
  • Contract negotiation and site selection
  • Promotion and marketing
  • Beverage and food planning
  • International meeting planning
  • Financial management

Certification

The Convention Industry Council (CIC) offers the industry-recognized Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) credential. To be eligible for this certification, you must have three years of recent experience in the field or two years of recent experience and a bachelor's degree in the field, according to the CIC website. Information on the website indicates you may also be eligible for certification if you have three years of full-time experience as an instructor in the field of event planning. An exam is required for this certification as well.