Undergraduate training options for party and event planners include certificate programs or tourism and hospitality degrees with courses or emphases in event planning. Event and party planners live for the details; they are responsible for every aspect of an event, including food, staff, guests, objectives, themes, and regulations.
Party and event coordinators plan and oversee all details of parties, meetings and other events to ensure their client's function goes off without a hitch. Party and event planners may hold a certificate in event planning or an undergraduate degree in hospitality and tourism management.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Certification Options||Certified Meeting Professional, Certified Government Meeting Professional|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||10% for all meeting, convention and event planners|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$51,200 for all for all meeting, convention and event planners|
Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Party or event planners work closely with a client or employer to outline the parameters of an event as far as purpose, budget and guest list, including ensuring that all preparations and activities are legally permissible. They arrange for an appropriate venue and negotiate catering and other arrangements, such as lighting, security, audiovisual equipment, transportation, accommodations, entertainment, decorations and printing. They're typically on site the day of the event, to make sure everything runs smoothly and according to the client or employer's wishes, and address any problems as they arise. Party and event coordinators may plan parties, weddings, business meetings and conferences, destination events, award or recognition programs, conventions or trade shows.
Depending on their previous education and relevant work experience, party and event planners may hold a certificate in event planning or an undergraduate degree in hospitality and tourism management with a concentration in event planning. The curriculum typically begins with a general overview of the hospitality industry and progresses with classes in meeting and event planning, hospitality and travel industry law, marketing, human relations, accounting, management, purchasing, venue selection, sponsorship and fundraising, decorating and the logistics of event registration. Specialized classes in international travel, wedding planning, menu planning, environmentally-friendly events and entertainment planning may be available, too. Aspiring party and event planners gain practical experience through required internships.
Party and event coordinators may be eligible for professional certification, depending on their skills, education and experience. Certification options include the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential through the Convention Industry Council and the Certified Government Meeting Professional credential through the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), with recertification generally required every few years.
Salary and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that meeting, convention and event planners could expect a job growth of 10% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that meeting and convention planners earned a mean annual salary of $51,200 in May 2015. In this same report, the BLS reported that California, New York and Texas employed the highest number of people in this career field, while those living in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Connecticut earned the highest salaries.
Event planners are responsible for designing a party or event that meets their clients' wishes and expectations. Taking an undergraduate program in event planning or hospitality can be a wise choice and open more opportunities for work. A few certification options are also available to increase an event planner's credentials.