An event planner organizes a variety of events to include business conventions, weddings, and educational conferences, and more. They ensure all event details meet their client’s specifications. They may work with vendors to arrange transportation, meeting locations, food service, lodging, and other services such as photography and videography.
Watch a video to learn what an event planner does.
How to Become an Event Planner
Event planners typically require a bachelor’s degree with work experience in planning or hospitality because of the increasing complexity of work responsibilities. Some colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in meeting and event management, tourism management, or hospitality.
There are colleges that offer continuing education courses in meeting and event planning as well so a degree may not be vital with work experience. Those with a background in hospitality and event management may begin their career as an event planner with greater responsibilities than others. Certifications may provide you with an advantage for a job as it demonstrates knowledge and competence.
The Certification Industry Council (link opens in a new window) offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential and is widely recognized in the industry. Other certifications include, the Certified Meeting Professional-Healthcare (CMP-HC) certification, and the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation. There are a few other certifications such as the American Association of Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants.
Job Description of an Event Planner
Event planners typically meet prospective clients to gain an understanding of the expectations and needs of the event. They evaluate the size and scope of the event such as cost, time, and location. Event planners may then solicit bids from potential service providers and venues and inspect the venues to ensure they meet all necessary requirements of the client. Next, they must coordinate the event’s services such as food, lodging, transportation, and even entertainment.
During an event, a planner handles the logistics such as guest registry and arranging the audio/visual equipment. They also often arrange activities and speakers. In addition to all of this, they also examine the event bills and approving payment. This career field requires excellent communication, negotiation, and organizational skills.
Event Planner Career Video Transcript
Greeting international conference attendees, keeping presentations on time, or crawling under a table to plug in a projector. From glamour to grit, meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events to ensure a quality experience.
These planners arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details. They often start by meeting with clients to define the purpose of the event, schedule, preferred location, and the number of expected attendees and budget. It’s their job to obtain bids at competitive prices and at the event ensure details run smoothly. They may also organize speakers, entertainment, and related activities. These planners work for professional associations, convention centers and hotels, in government agencies and corporations, or may specialize in planning weddings or fundraising events for non-profits.
Their fast-paced work environment requires keeping calm and making quick decisions. Resourcefulness and good communication are key. Most planners work full-time, with many additional hours just before and during events to keep things running smoothly. Applicants usually need a bachelor’s degree; a major in tourism management, hospitality, or meeting and event planning is a plus. Some work experience at a hotel, convention center, or planning events may be needed. Professional certifications may improve job prospects.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners.
National Center for O*NET Development. 13-1121.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.