How Do I Become an Event Planner?

If you have a natural talent for planning parties and the customer service skills to understand clients’ desires and make them a reality, you might be wondering how to become an event planner. Event planners coordinate large events, from weddings and parties to conventions and concerts. These professionals have the organizational abilities to make complex projects come together.

Event planners collaborate with clients to determine the reason for the event. They must choose locations, dates, times, and vendors that meet the clients’ needs, and they must do the work to communicate with the venue and all service providers. Event planners negotiate prices, schedule activities, coordinate transportation, and organize photography, décor, entertainment and food offerings.

Typically, preparation for a career in event planning requires a college-level education as well experience. A bachelor’s degree in hospitality management provides candidates with an excellent background for this occupation. Other majors that are popular among aspiring event planners include business, communications, public relations and marketing, though individuals who have pursued these educational paths may need to have a couple years of experience working in the hospitality industry to secure a position in event planning. One way for aspiring event planners to gain experience during their undergraduate academic careers is through completing internships that involve event planning responsibilities. Entry-level event planners learn much of their skills on-the-job under the guidance of more experienced planners. Though they may be forced to start with small events, skilled event planners can develop reputations that make them sought-after and may eventually choose to be self-employed.

For event planners, natural skills may be as important for achieving success as education and experience. Event planners must have excellent organization skills to arrange all aspects of a complex event. They can’t allow any details to slip through the cracks. Event planners should be composed by nature, and shouldn’t panic when something doesn’t go according to plan. Instead, when problems arise, event planners must be resourceful enough to quickly come up with resolutions that will please their clients and allow the event to proceed as planned. Networking and negotiating prices for goods and services are important parts of the job, so aspiring event planners must be comfortable performing these tasks. They must also be comfortable communicating with clients, venders and staff in person, electronically, and over the phone.

Event planners earn a median salary of $45,260 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The profession is seeing rapid job growth right now. The BLS anticipates career opportunities for event planners to increase by 44 percent between 2010 and 2020, as compared to only 14 percent job growth expected across all occupations. If you are comfortable communicating and negotiating with a wide variety of people, can calmly solve problems under pressure and have the organization skills to manage every detail of important affairs, knowing how to become an event planner could be the start of an exciting new career in the hospitality industry.

Featured Degree Programs