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Online Event Planning Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

There are a number of online programs that offer professional and advanced degree options in event planning. Students interested in a career in event planning may consider a degree in event planning or management.

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Those considering online options in event planning need to look at several factors. The award level, program type, degree title, and technical requirements for accessing the online coursework should all be taken into account.

How to Select an Online Event Planning School

Event planners and managers require an array of specialized skills to ensure that events and conventions run smoothly. They scout locations, arrange catering, negotiate a budget, arrange travel plans and prepare contracts. Several colleges and universities offer online programs in this area. Online students should keep in mind various online program types, technical requirements and level of education required to attain their career goal.

Award Level

The online certificate in event management offers the quickest route to entry-level positions in event planning. Employers looking to hire for more advanced positions in event management may prefer candidates with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or an undergraduate degree in hospitality management.

Program Delivery

Online programs in event management offer students the option to enroll in full online immersion and hybrid programs. Online immersion programs provide course instruction though virtual platforms and generally don't require students to take classes on campus. They are well suited for working professionals who need full access to course material and lectures at any time of day or night.

Some programs may also offer students the option to enroll in a hybrid format. Hybrid or low-residency programs require students to spend at least part of their time on campus. Students enrolled in a hybrid program still take most of their courses online, but they can also benefit from hands-on training and social opportunities during special events and student orientations.

Technical Requirements

In order to participate in online programs, students are required to have access to fast wireless or cable Internet. Students will also need some level of technical knowledge to feel comfortable uploading, opening and accessing files on the Web. Students in the program follow video lectures on the Web, engage in discussions in the virtual classroom, correspond with professors and take online tests and quizzes.

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List of Popular Online Programs in Event Planning and Management

Online Certificate in Meeting and Event Management

The online certificate program introduces students to the essentials of planning, organizing and evaluating successful events, meetings and conferences. Students in the online program study core concepts in the field of event management, including event publicity, marketing, negotiation, contracts and budgeting. Online certificate programs in event management usually take about a year to complete. A typical curriculum includes courses such as:

  • Convention sales management
  • Meeting, convention and exposition control
  • Food service and sales management
  • Hospitality personnel management

Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Hospitality Management

This degree takes an average of 3-4 years to finish, during which students complete a core of liberal arts courses and are introduced to a variety of crucial topics in business law, ethics, economics, finance and accounting. Most online business programs don't require on-campus attendance. Students move through the material at their own pace by streaming on-line lectures, viewing demonstrations and completing online assignments. Competency in the field is measured through successful lesson completion, quizzes and final exams. Coursework includes:

  • Service marketing
  • Hotel management foundations
  • Restaurant, casino and tourism
  • Hospitality industry finance
  • Meetings and event management

Schools with Online Programs in Event Planning

The New York Institute of Art and Design offers a certificate program in event planning that allows students to work at their own pace within an 18-month timeframe. The goal is to be able to arrange any event, which includes learning how to network, work with vendors, and handle client needs. A professional event planner will mentor students along the way as they complete online and video lessons. Students also complete a virtual internship.

An online B.S. in Hospitality Management, which includes coursework in event planning/management, is available from Florida International University. Students are chiefly prepared to succeed in the hotel, foodservice, and tourism industries. While the program is fully taught online, live internships are needed for degree completion.

A certificate is usually the award offered online for event planning, and it leads to entry-level work; related programs may offer bachelor's degrees. Programs may also come in hybrid format, which combines online and classroom learning, thus internet skills and a fast connection are needed.

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