Students who are interested in management roles in the event planning industry can pursue a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) in hospitality and tourism management. Some MBA programs offer specializations in event leadership and management. Other specialization options include hospitality marketing, financial analysis, and human resource management.
Over the course of these two-year programs, students engage in classroom study and field-based learning. They learn how to coordinate various details of public and private events, such as the keynote speakers, event location, print materials, exhibits and entertainment. Prior to graduation, they must complete a thesis. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GMAT or GRE scores.
Master's Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management
Business courses such as information management, data analysis, economics and organizational planning, theory and strategy are usually required in master's degree programs in hospitality and tourism management. Common course titles include:
- Human resource management
- Hospitality marketing
- Financial analysis
- Strategic management
- Research methods
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment for meeting, convention and event planners is expected to increase by 10% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), which is faster than the national average for all occupations. Employment opportunities are expected to be the best for those with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management and/or Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification. In 2015, the median annual salary for meeting, convention and event planners was $46,840, per BLS data.
Continuing Education and Certification
Professional development courses in event planning are typically offered by professional organizations, colleges and universities. Individuals may also pursue the Convention Industry Council's CMP credential or the Certified Government Meeting Professional credential offered by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.
Master's degree programs in hospitality and tourism management provide students with a general overview of the industry and the specific skills they need for successful careers as event planners. Employment growth in the field is projected to be faster than average, and individuals who want to enhance their career prospects may consider voluntary certification or professional development courses.