Although various educational backgrounds are acceptable for event planners, individuals seeking such roles may wish to consider a bachelor's degree in hospitality management with a concentration in event planning. These 4-year programs prepare students not only for meeting planning, but also for resort, hotel and restaurant management. Courses cover general business practices as well as information specific to the industry. Many programs require internships.
Applicants must typically hold a high school diploma (or its equivalent). Individuals may transfer into a bachelor's program upon completing an associate's degree in the field and graduate in about two years. Meeting planners experience periods of high stress and tight deadlines, so attention to detail, organizational skills and excellent communication are important; previous coursework or professional experience to this effect is looked upon favorably. Interested individuals can then go on to acquire a master's degree in the field.
Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management
At the bachelor's degree level, hospitality management programs provide instruction on the principles of management of meetings, resorts, hotels and restaurants. Coursework in these programs typically address:
- Food and beverage operations
- Employee management
- Food safety
- Restaurant management
- Food science
Popular Career Options
Graduates have a variety of career paths open to them in fields ranging from tourism to corporate event planning. Common positions include:
- Catering manager
- Front office assistant
- Guest services
- Meeting planner
- Travel coordinator
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that meeting, convention and event planning jobs were projected to grow 8% from 2019-2029, which is faster than the national average. The BLS also stated that applicants with a bachelor's degree in the field of hospitality management should have the best employment chances. Meeting, convention and event planners earned a median yearly salary of $51,560 as of May 2020.
Continuing Education Information
Experienced meeting planners may complete voluntary certification to become a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) through the Convention Industry Council. The CMP designation is widely recognized and requires three years of experience, current full-time employment and documentation regarding prior achievements. An examination is also required. Master's degree programs in hospitality management are also available and prepare students to take on leadership and managerial roles.
Individuals interested in corporate event planning can learn about the industry though bachelor degree programs in hospitality management. These programs will also prepare them to work in related areas such as food service, guest service and travel.