It takes a great deal of working behind the scenes and determination to pull off a successful event.
Event planners are responsible for arranging all the details relative to special occasions such as professional conferences or weddings. They must have the ability to keep their composure under extreme pressure and demonstrate strong interpersonal skills along with maintaining a good rapport with service providers, staff, and clients. Due to the complexity of events, a planner requires excellent organizational skills, problem-solving capabilities, and must have a “think-outside-the-box” mentality. If you possess these qualities and have the desire, you could be a professional event planner. But, you will need a bit of training, experience, and education first in order to land the position.
In order to become an event planner, you must have a related bachelor’s degree. Event planning, along with conventional and meeting planning, has become somewhat more complicated. Therefore, several employers would rather hire a 4-year college grad, according to the U.S. BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) – with the preferred major in hospitality management. However, you can also major in communications, business, marketing, or public relations. Most often, you’ll start in a higher position with a hospitality degree, as stated by BLS. Besides bachelor’s degrees, online certificate programs and community education classes in hospitality are available as well.
A bachelor’s degree in hospitality management usually takes about 4 years going full-time and consists of coursework across a variety of disciplines including hospitality, food, and business. For instance, students attending the undergraduate program may take various classes including lodging operations, communication, financial accounting, food production, and nutrition. Additional subjects may include writing, hospitality marketing, human resource management, cost management and analysis, and macroeconomics. If you select a different major, like business, you could possibly include a few of the hospitality and food subjects as electives.
Internship or Experience
Along with training, hands-on experience is critical to landing a position as an event planner. Employers will typically require a minimum of one year related work experience if you possess a non-hospitality degree – for instance, a catering coordinator. Actually, hospitality degree programs usually include internships as a part of the requirements for graduation. Whether or not you are specifically majoring in hospitality, you can easily get experience by working or volunteering on campus or special community events. For instance, you could help prepare and serve at alumni association meetings and student award dinners.
Advancing in event planning frequently depends on your personal work experience and skill sets. You can dramatically improve your prospects by taking classes via certain colleges or professional associations or by volunteering for additional work on the job. Another great way to display your eagerness for advancement is to obtain professional certification. For instance, the Convention Industry Council awards the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) credential for those planners who meet their requirements of continuing education and experience, and can pass the exam.
According to BLS, the career outlook for event planners will multiply by 45% between now and 2020 – much quicker than the average career. As meetings continue to gain momentum in each type of organization, new jobs will continue to open up. Because a career as an event planner is so attractive to numerous people, career competition will be intense. In the end, event planners with bachelor’s degrees in hospitality along with the Certified Meeting Professional credential will ultimately have the best career prospects. Experience with social media and virtual meeting computer software are also advantageous.