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Convention Planner: Job Description and Career Requirements

Apr 13, 2019

Get information on what training is needed to become a convention planner. Learn about career data, potential income and careers that have similar duties as convention planners.

Career Definition for a Convention Planner

A convention planner is responsible for some of the most significant details of a convention, like securing an event location, but also for the smallest logistics, such as printing an event program. Convention management and planning involves coordinating with many different people, maintaining a tight budget and effectively marketing yourself and the event that you are planning.

Education Bachelor's degree in hospitality administration and management
Job Skills Ability to multi-task, negotiate, and oversee budgets; good communication and planning skills
Median Salary (2018)* $49,370 (for convention, meeting and event planners)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 11% (for convention, meeting and event planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Because organizing an event is a multifaceted process, a proper degree program can draw from several fields of study, including marketing, public relations and communications. Obtaining a 4-year bachelor's degree in hospitality administration and management, however, is the best start for aspiring planners. It is also advantageous to have a track record of successfully planned events. The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation can also be earned by passing a written test and gaining a specified amount of professional experience.

Job Skills

A convention planner can multitask under tight deadlines, shrewdly negotiate contracts, design and oversee event budgets, verbally communicate the vision of whatever organization sponsors the convention and effectively promote the event so that it draws attendees. An ability to visualize the flow of an event in order to plan effectively is another valuable strength.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, convention, meeting and event planners earned a median yearly salary of $49,370 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). As businesses continue to globalize, there will be a consistent demand for the face-to-face opportunities that conventions provide. Growth in the convention, meeting, and event planning field will be faster than average, at 11% from 2016-2026.

Alternative Career Options

Similar careers to a convention planner include:

Public Relations Manager

Planning events is just one duty of public relations managers. A bachelor's degree is the most common education required. A 10% job growth was associated with public relations and fundraising managers from 2016 and 2026, as reported by the BLS. This category made a median salary of $114,800 in 2018.

Lodging Manager

Similar to convention planners, lodging managers may help plan events for their establishment. The education required varies from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree, along with work experience. The BLS' 2018 data showed that the median salary for lodging managers was $53,390. Slower than average job growth of 4% was predicted for this career option for the 2016-2026 BLS reporting period.

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