How to Become an Event Planner – Career Sidekick
You definitely won’t become a professional event planner overnight. There are paths to follow. Many have failed in their quest to become an event planner because they didn’t have the right information. This comprehensive guide explains these steps in-depth to ensure you have all you need to succeed.
Broadly, the path to becoming an event planner is divided into two. There is the education path and the practical experience path. In the subsequent sections, we answer common questions related to both paths.
Becoming an event planner does not have strict educational requirements. Nonetheless, acquiring relevant knowledge and skills can greatly enhance your career prospects. A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for most event planning positions. It provides a foundation in communication, organization, and basic business skills.
However, going one step further to acquire higher educational qualifications gives you an advantage over others. It is a testament to the fact that you’re a committed and dedicated professional willing to invest in their knowledge and expertise, setting you apart in the competitive field of event planning.
Do I need a degree to become an event planner?
No, a degree is not a mandatory requirement to become an event planner. While a formal degree can provide a solid foundation and enhance your knowledge and skills in areas such as event management, hospitality management, or marketing, it is not the sole determining factor for success in this field.
Many event planners have built successful careers through practical experience, networking, and acquiring specific event planning skills. Gaining hands-on experience through internships, volunteering, or working in entry-level positions within the event planning industry can be equally valuable in developing the necessary skills and understanding of the field.
However, obtaining a degree in Hospitality Management or pursuing certifications in event planning or related fields can give you a broader perspective and knowledge. All of these will potentially open up additional opportunities within the industry. It may also be beneficial if you plan to work for larger event-planning companies or pursue specialized roles within the field.
Ultimately, the most important factors in becoming a successful event planner are your skills, creativity, organization, communication abilities, and dedication to delivering exceptional client experiences. Practical experience, continuous learning, and building a strong professional network are often just as crucial as formal education in this profession.
Why is it important to get a degree in Hospitality Management?
Getting a degree in Hospitality Management is important for aspiring event planners because it provides specialized knowledge, practical skills, and industry-specific education that can give them a competitive edge and a deeper understanding of the field.
Moreover, many employers in the event planning industry value candidates with formal education. They consider it a benchmark of professionalism and commitment. A degree in Hospitality Management can open doors to a wider range of job opportunities, including positions at event planning companies, hotels, convention centers, or corporate event departments.
Also, a degree in Hospitality Management helps event planners build a strong professional network, gain credibility, and validates their skills and expertise. It offers opportunities for internships and experiential learning opportunities, allowing students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.
Additionally, the educational journey fosters personal growth and development. Through coursework, students learn effective communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, which are invaluable in the fast-paced and dynamic world of event planning.
A degree in Hospitality Management is one of many pathways to success as an event planner. Employers also hire individuals with a bachelor’s degree in fields like:
- Public relations
How long does it take to get a degree in Hospitality Management?
The duration to complete a degree in Hospitality Management can vary depending on various factors such as the type of degree, the educational institution, and your enrollment status.
Here are the general timeframes for different types of degrees:
- Associate Degree: An associate degree in Hospitality Management typically takes around two years of full-time study to complete. It may require approximately 60 to 70 credit hours of coursework.
- Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management usually takes around 3 to 4 years of full-time study to complete. This generally involves approximately 120 to 140 credit hours of coursework, including general education requirements.
- Master’s Degree: If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, pursuing a master’s degree in Hospitality Management takes around 1 to 2 years of full-time study. However, some programs offer accelerated or part-time options that can affect the duration.
How much does it cost to study Hospitality Management at a university?
Tuition fees for hospitality management programs range between US$9,925 to US$25,189. In some cases, universities may charge higher tuition fees for international students compared to domestic students.
Apart from tuition fees, students should also consider other expenses such as accommodation, textbooks, supplies, living expenses, and potentially additional fees for internships or study abroad programs.
To help offset the cost of studying hospitality management at the university, it’s advisable to research and explore scholarships, grants, and financial aid options.
Can I become an event planner through online education?
Yes, you can. Some universities and online learning platforms offer Hospitality Management and Marketing courses online. This learning mode provides flexibility and convenience for individuals who may have other commitments or prefer a self-paced approach to their studies.
Online hospitality management courses often cover similar topics to traditional in-person programs, including event planning, hotel management, food and beverage operations, tourism, and customer service. These courses are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the industry while leveraging digital platforms for course delivery.
One of the key advantages of online learning is the ability to access educational resources and materials from anywhere in the world. Students can learn at their own pace, allowing them to balance their studies with work or personal obligations.
However, it’s important to carefully research and select reputable online learning platforms or accredited universities that offer recognized hospitality management courses.
Are there other event planner certifications?
Yes, there are other event planner certifications that can complement your educational qualifications. For instance, the Certified Meeting Professional certificate is a popular event planner certification. The Events Industry Council (EIC) issues this certificate to professionals who wish to specialize in organizing meetings and conventions.
The Certified Government Meeting Professional certificate is another well-known event planner certification. Issued by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), this certification is available to planners and suppliers whose work is governed by the rules and regulations of the federal government.
Other certifications event planners should consider getting include:
What are some web resources to learn skills to become an Event Planner?
There are several web resources available that can help you learn and develop skills to become an event planner. For instance, many event planning professionals and organizations maintain blogs where they share industry insights, tips, and best practices. Some notable event planning blogs include Eventtia and Social Tables Blog. These blogs often cover a wide range of topics, including event trends, event marketing, logistics, and technology.
YouTube is another treasure trove of event planning tutorials, tips, and inspiration. Many event planners and organizations have YouTube channels dedicated to sharing their knowledge and experiences. Channels such as Event Planning and Event Planning Blueprint offer useful tips and insights about event planning and management.
Also, podcasts can be an excellent resource for learning while on the go. There are several event planning podcasts available that cover a wide range of topics related to event management. Some popular ones include Gather Geeks, hosted by David Adler, and Event Tech Podcast. Listening to these podcasts can provide insights, tips, and real-life experiences shared by industry professionals.
Remember to explore these web resources, take advantage of the vast amount of free and paid content available, and tailor your learning journey to your specific needs and interests as an aspiring event planner.
Learning all there is to know about event planning is good. However, theory without practice can only take you so far. It’s essential to complement your knowledge with practical experience to truly excel as an event planner. Theoretical knowledge provides the foundational understanding and principles, but putting that knowledge into action through hands-on experience is where you truly refine your skills, develop problem-solving abilities, and learn to adapt to real-world scenarios.
What are internship opportunities for an event planner?
Internship opportunities for event planners can vary depending on the location, industry, and specific organizations or companies offering internships. You can find these internship opportunities on online job platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Here are some common internship opportunities that aspiring event planners can consider:
- Event Planning Companies: Many event planning companies offer internship programs to provide hands-on experience in the field. These internships may involve assisting with event coordination, logistics, vendor management, client communication, and on-site event execution. It’s a valuable opportunity to learn from experienced professionals, understand the day-to-day operations of an event planning company, and gain practical skills.
- Event Venues: Event venues such as hotels, convention centers, resorts, and event spaces often offer internships in their event management departments. Interns may have the opportunity to assist with planning and organizing events hosted at the venue, handle client inquiries, coordinate with various departments, and gain insight into the venue management aspect of event planning.
- Non-Profit Organizations: Non-profit organizations often organize events for fundraising, awareness campaigns, or community engagement. Interning with such organizations can provide exposure to event planning within a non-profit context, including coordinating fundraising galas, charity events, or volunteer-driven initiatives. This type of internship can give you a sense of social responsibility and the opportunity to make a positive impact through event planning.
- Corporate Event Departments: Many companies have dedicated event departments or teams responsible for organizing corporate events such as conferences, trade shows, product launches, or employee gatherings. Interning with a corporate event department can provide insight into the planning and execution of corporate events, working with budgets, collaborating with vendors, and ensuring a seamless experience for attendees.
- Wedding and Social Event Planners: Interning with wedding planners or social event planners can give you exposure to the world of private events. Assisting with wedding planning, milestone celebrations, or social gatherings can provide practical experience in coordinating with clients, managing vendors, and executing events with a personal touch.
Researching and reaching out to event planning companies, venues, organizations, and professionals in your area to inquire about internship opportunities is important. Networking, attending industry events, and utilizing online job portals and internship platforms can also help you find relevant internship opportunities in the event planning field.
What skills will I learn as an event planner?
A career as an event planner requires some essential skills. You have to step into multiple roles throughout your event planning career. Here are some key skills you can expect to develop:
- Event Management: You will learn how to effectively plan, coordinate, and manage events of various sizes and types. This includes understanding event logistics, budgeting, timeline management, venue selection, vendor coordination, and risk assessment.
- Communication: Strong communication skills are crucial in event planning. You will learn how to effectively communicate with clients, vendors, team members, and event attendees. This includes active listening, written and verbal communication, negotiation, and diplomacy.
- Organization and Time Management: Event planning requires excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. You will learn how to prioritize, create timelines, and meet deadlines while ensuring all event components come together seamlessly.
- Problem-Solving: Event planners often encounter unexpected challenges during the planning and execution process. You will develop problem-solving skills to think quickly on your feet, adapt to changing circumstances, and find creative solutions to overcome obstacles.
- Attention to Detail: Successful event planning requires meticulous attention to detail. You will learn to pay close attention to every aspect of an event, from the overall event design to the smallest logistical details, to ensure a flawless experience for attendees.
- Budgeting and Financial Management: Event planners are responsible for managing budgets and financial resources. You will learn how to create and track budgets, negotiate contracts, and make financial decisions to maximize resources and deliver successful events within budget constraints.
- Teamwork and Leadership: Event planning often involves working with a team of professionals, including vendors, suppliers, and event staff. You will develop teamwork and leadership skills to effectively delegate tasks, coordinate team efforts, and inspire collaboration.
- Creativity and Innovation: Event planners need to think creatively to design unique and memorable events. You will learn to generate innovative ideas, develop event themes and concepts, and incorporate creative elements that leave a lasting impression on attendees.
These are just a few of the many skills you can expect to learn as an event planner. It’s important to continuously refine and enhance these skills through practical experience, ongoing learning, and staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.
What is the work-life balance of an event planner?
The work-life balance of an event planner can vary depending on several factors, including the nature of the events being planned, the workload, and individual preferences. We’ll explain some of the key points to consider below.
Event planning often involves working irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, as events themselves typically occur during these times. This can impact work-life balance, especially if events are frequent or tight deadlines must be met.
However, there may be periods of relative downtime between busy event seasons. These off-season periods provide opportunities for event planners to recharge, take vacations, pursue personal interests, or engage in professional development activities.
Event planners often work as part of a team, which can contribute to a more balanced workload and shared responsibilities. Collaboration allows for better distribution of tasks, enabling event planners to share the workload and achieve a more manageable work-life balance.
It’s important to note that while event planning can be demanding and involve irregular hours, many event planners find the work fulfilling and enjoy the excitement of creating memorable experiences for others.
Establishing a healthy work-life balance requires effective time management and finding strategies that work best for individual needs and preferences.