Become an Event Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 10, 2020

Explore the requirements for becoming an event coordinator. Find out what an event coordinator does, and then check out the step-by-step process that can help you start a career in this fast-growing field.

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Event Coordinators

Event coordinators or planners are responsible for developing, organizing, and implementing all facets of corporate or private events, such as weddings, seminars, meetings, or parties. Whether they're in charge of finding and securing venues, obtaining bids from florists and caterers, or coordinating guests' accommodations, event planners must be extremely organized, familiar with new technologies, and able to quickly solve any problems that arise. This occupation may become quite stressful when dealing with demanding clients and deadlines.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Business, marketing, communications, public relations, hospitality management, or a related field
Experience 1-2 years experience in the field
Licensure/Certification No license required; voluntary certification
Key Skills Strong verbal and written communication, composure, customer service expertise, negotiation, and problem-solving skills; knowledge of graphics, database, project management, and spreadsheet software
Salary $49,370 (2018 median for meeting, convention, and event planners)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine

Event coordinators should have good communication, customer service, negotiating, and problem-solving skills. A knowledge of database, graphics, and spreadsheet software are also important. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for meeting, convention, and event planners in May 2018, was $49,370. These professionals can expect a 7%, or faster-than-average, increase in job opportunities between 2018 and 2028.

Step 1: Bachelor's Degree

While it's possible to start a career in event planning without an undergraduate degree, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that most employers prefer to hire candidates who've completed a bachelor's degree program. Aspiring event coordinators may earn a degree in business administration, communications, hospitality management, marketing, or public relations. Some hospitality management programs include a specialization in event planning. Other schools may offer bachelor's programs specifically in event management.

Obtain a Certificate in Event Planning

While not required, prospective event coordinators can supplement their education through a certificate program in event planning. Many community colleges offer on campus and online certification programs in meeting and event planning, which may include a final exam.

Complete an Internship

Students can gain valuable experience while still in school by participating in an internship with an event planning company. Internships may be a program requirement or can be sought out independently.

Step 2: Work Experience

Because of the organizational skills and contracting knowledge needed to be an event coordinator, employers prefer or require candidates to have at least one to two years of relevant work experience in the field, even if they have a degree. For example, an aspiring event coordinator could start out in entry-level positions, like catering coordinator.

Step 3: Certification

The Convention Industry Council, a national organization of meeting professionals, offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential. Requirements include a combination of full-time employment and continuing education, which might be fulfilled through an internship. Candidates for certification also need to pass an exam. While voluntary, this credential attests to the expertise of event coordinators and may lead to additional job opportunities.

Step 4: Continuing Education

Event coordinators must renew their CMP credential every five years. Renewal requirements include employment in a relevant field and completion of continuing education coursework, which may be available at community colleges or professional organizations.

Remember, if you'd like to become an event coordinator, you'll need a bachelor's degree in a relevant major and one to two years of professional experience. The median salary for meeting, convention, and event planners in May 2018 was $49,370 a year.

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