Event coordinator training programs provide students with event and logistic planning skills. Certificate programs are typically one year or less in length and focus almost exclusively on event planning and management. More advanced options are available via undergraduate degrees; associate degree programs are two years, for example, and cover additional hospitality industry topics. Bachelor's degree programs in event management include a variety of hospitality management topics, alongside event planning, with internships incorporated into the curriculum.
Certificates of Completion for Event Coordinators
Certificates of completion for event and meeting planning and for event management range from seven to fifteen courses and award either continuing education credit or clock hours of instruction toward a certificate. Some programs are for anyone interested in the career, while others are designed for individuals already working in the field. Certificate courses cover the fundamentals and introduce topics expanded upon in degree programs. Course topics might include:
- Budgets and financial arrangements
- Contracts, negotiations and insurance
- Corporate meetings
- Managing food and beverages
- Meeting planning basics
- Onsite management
Associate's Degrees for Event Coordinators
Most associate's degrees for event coordinators focus on hospitality management with event planning specialization. Some associate's degrees specialize in meeting and event management. These degree programs provide skills in planning and coordinating events ranging from simple luncheons to conferences. Coursework teaches schedule planning, decorating and information distribution. Skills in negotiation with event sponsors, vendors, facility administrators and speakers are also learned. Associate's degrees generally require 20 or more semester hours in general education courses and 40 hours or more in the major field. Required courses for an event coordinator major include:
- Food safety and sanitation
- Hospitality purchasing and accounting
- Managing banquets and catering
- Presentation techniques
- Risk management for events
Bachelor's Degrees for Event Coordinators
Bachelor's degrees in event management include more coverage on tourism and conventions. Baccalaureate degrees frequently offer specializations, such as management of theme parks, sports events or travel planning that often come with a certificate as an addition to the degree. These programs also include more hands-on experience through projects and internships. Additional general education requirements are also mandatory for bachelor's programs. Coursework offered at this degree-level may include:
- Problem analysis and decision making
- Destination planning
- International events
- Managing special events
- Marketing hospitality and tourism
- Sports events management
Certificates can prepare students for entry-level work in corporate or hospitality fields. Careers include:
- Administrative assistant
- Incentive travel manager
- Meeting/Event coordinator or manager
- Trade show manager
- Wedding planner
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) expects a 10% increase in meeting, convention and event planner jobs between 2014 and 2024. This is far higher than the average for all jobs. The BLS predicted that those with a bachelor's degree or Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) status would have the best opportunities. In 2015, the average annual salary for event planners was $51,200 (www.bls.gov).
Individuals who have earned certificates in event coordinating may choose to go on to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field. This can open a wider range of job possibilities and more responsibility during events. Graduates with an associate's degree may choose to earn a bachelor's degree. In addition, event coordinators may decide to pursue a voluntary certification, such as the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) granted through the Convention Industry Council with a qualifying examination. Recertification is required every five years through continuing education, professional contributions and employment. Those who coordinate government events are eligible to sit for the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) exam given by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.
Certificates and associate degrees for event coordinators focus primarily on hospitality management while bachelor degrees include studies in tourism and conventions. Event coordinators may also earn voluntary certification to improve career prospects.