How to Become an Event Planner

An assortment of organizational tools, including a calendar, notebook and file folder.

Organizing an event can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor. Luckily, it can also turn into a career. Event planning is a profession on the rise, with an estimated growth rate of 11 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Event planners make an average of $47,350 a year, but can peak at an annual salary above $83,030. For anyone curious about this profession, learn more information about this high opportunity field below.

Work Environment

The work environments of event planners are ever-changing and often chaotic. Events are busy places, and planners often work on more than one project at a time. Because both scouting venues and meeting with vendors is such a significant part of the job, event planners also spend a great deal of time traveling. Most of these professionals work full time, and will often put in additional hours in the days leading up to the event, as well as during the event itself.

Employers who hire event planners can vary greatly. Statistically, most operate in the religious, grant-making, civic and professional sectors. However, they also center on accommodation and food service, arts and entertainment and administration. Many event planners are self-employed.

Key Skills for Event Planners

Successful event planners possess a wide range of competencies, Monster.com explains. Some include:

Organizational Skills

Event planners constantly arrange meetings and transportation, coordinate activities and handle other aspects of logistics.

Team-Management Experience

Those who work in the field oversee and coordinate staff, entertainers, guest speakers and attendees. 

Time-Management Skills

Event planners must understand how to prioritize their responsibilities over long periods of time, as well as effectively reach their clients’ goals while working against hard deadlines.

Strong Verbal and Written Communication

Because event planners are conduits between a number of parties, they must be able to convey each group’s needs and requirements effectively.

Attention to Detail

Multitasking, ensuring venues meet specific client requirements and recognizing potential problems before they happen are all crucial to an event planner’s work.

Business Acumen

Event planners are required to solicit bids from venues, negotiate service contracts, review event bills, approve payments, write invoices and other related tasks.

Flexibility

Good event planners can adjust their approach to their work based on changing needs of clients and vendors, as well as unforeseen circumstances.

Many of these skills can be learned, often through formal training.

How to Become an Event Planner

Professional event planners require a bachelor’s degree as a first step towards their careers, usually in areas like public relations, business management or related fields.

To enhance their chances of success, prospective event planners can earn additional field credentials. These are not required, but can certainly contribute to career advancement beyond graduation. This is particularly true if an event planner chooses to specialize in convention or wedding planning. Common credentials include:

Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

A widely recognized certificate from the Events Industry Council that recognizes meeting and convention planners.

Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)

A certification from the Society of Government Meeting Professionals for planners who specialize in working with the government.

Certifications from the AACWP

The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners offers three levels of certification for individuals who coordinate weddings.

Planning Your Future

Event planning is a fulfilling and challenging profession that can begin with the right degree. At Point Park University, the online Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising teaches students how to combine creativity and strategic planning to build the skill set they need to succeed. Ranked as one of the best online bachelor’s degrees of its kind, the program can be completed in as little as two years.