How to Become a Professional Event Planner

By August 16, 2018Resources
How to Become a Professional Event Planner

Professional event planner is one of the hottest career choices in the country. The expansion in the number of companies holding events, especially in a global marketplace, make it an attractive profession for those with the right skills and education.

Event Planner Growth

The federal government projects 11% growth in the profession by 2026, faster than the growth expected for the average job in the United States. That translates into almost 13,000 people entering the profession over the next decade.

What’s more, the median annual salary for the job reached $48,290 in May 2017. The top 10 percent in the profession earned almost $83,000. Those numbers are higher in certain states, including California, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

Those are all good reasons why to become a professional event planner. But how do you become one? Start Event Planning In 5 Steps below.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

If you’ve decided professional event planning is for you, the first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree. You’ll gain expertise in event management, hospitality services and management, event planning and promotion, computer skills, catering, and in business areas such as accounting.

Some colleges offer courses that allow you to specialize in specific areas, such as event design or the uses of technology in professional event planning.

Step 2: Experience

Along with the formal education, experience is needed to earn certification and reach the top ranks of the event planning profession. Many will leave college and take jobs as assistants at event planning companies.

There are a wide variety of events and meetings that a planner can handle. They include conventions, business meetings, corporate parties, weddings, concerts, and large personal event parties such as birthdays and bar mitzvahs. Planners also are frequently employed by large hotels to handle events held on the premises.

Within those events, planners are needed for designing the party, catering, booking entertainment and speakers, arranging payment and schedules with vendors, and many other tasks.

The point is, it’s important to find a job where you will gain experience in the areas of professional event planning that interest you.

Step 3: Earn Certification

While not required, earning certification is a smart career move. The Events Industry Council offers certification as a professional event planner for those with a degree, 36 months of experience and proof of continuing education. Those who work with government agencies can earn certification from the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.

Step 4: Specialize

As mentioned above, event planners can work in many different areas. While gaining experience and earning certification, most event planners figure out what areas of the business most appeals to them. Part of this also is driven by where the job demand is highest in your area.

Specialization makes you a more attractive job candidate within that niche of the event planning field.

Step 5: Leadership

Gaining a leadership position is often the result of years of experience and success in planning certain types of events. You might become an expert at music concert planning and promotion. Or, you may find that business executive meetings are a better match for skills. Years of success will lead to promotion in whatever area you choose.

Some event planners also become entrepreneurs, launching their own event planning businesses. These smaller companies usually focus on a specific type of event. But with the right mix of experience, expertise and a successful track record, it’s possible to build a profitable event planning business.

Professional event planning is a great career for those who like to work with people, have strong communication and decision-making skills, as well as expertise in organization and time management.

Also, it’s a job that looks to be in demand for many years to come.

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