Here's How to Become an Event Planner (Professional Guide)

Here's how to become an event planner. Someone who coordinates all aspects of professional meetings and events is known as an event planner (also known as a meeting and/or convention planner). They frequently select meeting sites, manage transportation, and handle a variety of other arrangements.

Whether it's working in the industry or starting your own event planning business, here's what to know to start an event planning career.

how to become an event planner

What is an event planner?

An event planner, also known as an event coordinator or event expert, is a person who organizes and coordinates meetings and special events including weddings, parties, and fundraisers. Budgets are managed, dates are chosen, locations are found, and accommodations and transportation for event attendees are arranged. The precise responsibilities of an event planner vary based on numerous aspects, including the size and type of event, as well as the planner's education and experience.

What does an event planner do?

Meetings and events bring people together for a similar goal, whether it's a wedding, educational conference, or corporate convention. Meeting, convention, and event planners strive to achieve this goal in a seamless manner.

A typical event planner will accomplish the following:

  • Meet with clients to determine the meeting or event's aim.
  • Plan the event's scope, including the date, location, program, and budget.
  • Obtain quotations from several locations and service providers (for example, florists or photographers)
  • Work with the customer to determine where the event should be held and who should be hired to provide services.
  • Inspect locations to verify that they fit the client's needs.
  • Organize event services like accommodation, transportation, and catering.
  • Consult with on-site personnel to finalize specifics.
  • Keep an eye on the event's activities to make sure the client and attendees are happy.
  • Examine the bills from the event and give your approval for payment.

From start to finish, event planners organize every element of an event. Planners will meet with clients before a meeting, for example, to estimate attendance and determine the meeting's purpose. They handle meeting logistics such as registering guests and setting up audio/visual equipment for speakers during the meeting. Following the meeting, they conduct a survey of attendees to determine which topics piqued their interest the most.

Potential meeting locations, such as hotels and convention centers, are also looked for by event planners. They consider the facility's ability to provide lodging and services, as well as how easy it will be for people to get there and the attractions available in the surrounding area. Planners are now debating whether an online meeting can achieve the same goals as a face-to-face meeting.

Planners set up meeting space and support services once a location is chosen. They arrange contracts with vendors to supply food for guests, for example, and coordinate plans with on-site employees. Speakers, entertainment, and events are all planned by them. They're also in charge of meeting and conference financing. On the day of the event, organizers can register participants, scheduled transportation, and double-check that meeting spaces are appropriately set up.

Average salary of an event planner

The compensation of an event planner is determined by factors such as the size and kind of their business, their location, and their degree of expertise.

  • In the United States, the average hourly wage is $15.60.
  • Some hourly wages range from $7.25 to $42.60.

A successful event planner, planning corporate events or exhibition event planners can earn more income. Those who have their own event planning company can also earn more income.

Event planner requirements

The following requirements must be met in order to be a professional event planner:

Education

A bachelor's degree in business, communications, public relations, marketing, or hospitality management is generally required to work as an event planner. Individuals without a degree can be eligible for entry-level positions, but they must have one to two years of relevant experience.

Training

Candidates that have undergone formal training are preferred by many employers. Often, an event planner will acquire on-the-job training in a previous similar role. Shadowing a senior event planner and completing their duties under supervision until they feel comfortable doing activities on their own might be part of the training.

Many colleges and institutions also provide event planning training. These programs can last anywhere from two to four years and often include both lectures and hands-on event organizing experience.

Certifications

Conventions, weddings, and parties are just a few of the types of events that event planners specialize in. Event planners can set themselves apart by getting a professional certification, regardless of their area of expertise. The following are some of the most prevalent certifications in this field:

Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

The CSEP credential, which is offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA), honors event professionals who have successfully proven the competence, knowledge, and abilities required to complete all aspects of a special event. Candidates must have at least three years of event planning experience and pass the CSEP test to get this certification.

Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

This certification is granted by the Events Industry Council (EIC) to event planners who specialize in the organizing of meetings and conventions. The CMP requires candidates to complete a written test in meeting management.

Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE)

The CPCE certification, administered by the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE), is a nationally recognized program that allows event planners to identify themselves as specialists in the hospitality, catering, and events sectors. Candidates must finish a training program and pass an exam to become CPCE certified.

Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)

The CGMP certification is a collaborative curriculum created by the USDA Graduate School and the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) for vendors and planners whose work is controlled by the federal government. It is regarded as the highest honor bestowed to those who organize government gatherings.

Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP)

The CCEP credential, offered by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), is for professionals who wish to gain the skills they need to run their organization more successfully. Candidates must have at least two years of full-time experience, a bachelor's or master's degree in a subject related to college events or conferences, a letter of application and résumé, and completion of the CCEP curriculum to get this certification.

Required skills

An event planner will require the following abilities to thrive in their career:

Attention to detail

An event planner should be able to see and fix minor issues, such as accurate spelling of names and food preferences of guests.

Organization

Event planners need to be extremely well-organized. They should be able to manage many projects, vendors, and to-do lists while maintaining customer satisfaction.

Networking

Event planners require a broad network of different event professionals, such as photographers, caterers, and musicians, because the events business is primarily people-driven and relationship-based. Planners will use this network on a daily basis to make their events more memorable for their attendees.

Communication

Listening and speaking abilities are essential for event planners. They must be able to comprehend their clients' requests and offer their own suggestions and thoughts.

Creativity

When preparing an event, creativity is vital because the job entails tasks such as devising a distinctive theme for a wedding and coming up with a cost-effective décor solution that fits within a limited budget.

Interpersonal skills

Even though events are usually performed on a tight schedule, unforeseen occurrences are unavoidable. So that they can make rapid judgments, event planners must be resourceful and flexible.

Problem-solving

Even though events are usually performed on a tight schedule, unforeseen occurrences are unavoidable. So that they can make rapid judgments, event planners must be resourceful and flexible.

Event planner work environment

Event planners generally operate out of an office to conduct administrative tasks such as booking hotels, reserving event locations, and organizing client meetings. Event planners who work in major hotels or convention centers, for example, can share a huge workstation with many other event planners, registering event visitors and answering phones. Event planners can work long hours, including evenings and weekends, as the event date approaches. Event planners can be required to work at a quick pace depending on the amount of events for which their business is responsible.

Large-scale events, such as film screenings, yearly conferences, national conventions, or regional job fairs, can need event planners to visit a client's workplace to discuss requirements. For example, event planners could go to a client's headquarters to get the guest list, the event's dates and hours, and the names and contact information for keynote speakers.

How to become an event planner

Here's how to become an event planner:

Get a bachelor's degree

Even though events are usually performed on a tight schedule, unforeseen occurrences are unavoidable. So that they can make rapid judgments, event planners must be resourceful and flexible.

Gain work experience

Event planners might begin their careers in the events business by working in an entry-level position in a similar profession. They can also look for job shadowing opportunities with a professional event planner to get a feel for what it's like to work behind the scenes at an event.

Choose a specialization

If they wish to establish their own company, event planners can specialize on a specific sort of event. Birthdays, weddings, conferences, business gatherings, mall events, fundraisers, and corporate getaways are all options.

Obtain a certification

Certifications in event planning can assist event planners in impressing future employers. The content of certification exams varies depending on the field of event planning. Each certification has its own set of criteria, but most of them will need event planners to finish a training program, have a specific amount of experience, and pass certification examinations.

Join a professional organization

New event planners might benefit from joining a professional association by making valuable connections and expanding their career possibilities. It might also lead to other valuable resources, such as possibilities for further education.

Join the following:

Get career advancement

New event planners might benefit from joining a professional association by making valuable connections and expanding their career possibilities. It might also lead to other valuable resources, such as possibilities for further education.

how to become an event planner

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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