Schools with Party Planning Training Programs: How to Choose

Aspiring party planners can complete their training through a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree program in meeting and event planning. Certificate programs may be affiliated with professional organizations and can often be completed in two years or less. An associate's degree may also be completed in two years; a bachelor's degree may take up to four. Both programs often offer internships and hands-on experience within the field.

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Aspiring party planners can earn a certificate or undergraduate degree in meeting and event planning. Graduates of event planning programs hold various jobs such as travel agent, hotel manager, wedding planner and executive assistant.

10 Schools with Meeting and Event Planning Programs

College/University Institution Type Location Degree Offered Program Costs
California State University-San Marcos 4-year, Public San Marcos, CA Certificate $1,490 (2016)*
SUNY Oswego-State University of New York 4-year, Public Oswego, NY Certificate $349 (2015)*
Edmonds Community College 2-year, Public Lynnwood, WA Certificate, Associate $3,758, in-state, $9,096, out-of-state (2015-16)**
Temple University 4-year, Public Philadelphia, PA Certificate, Bachelor's $2,250 (certificate)*;
$15,188, in-state, $25,494, out-of-state (2015-16)**
University of North Carolina-Charlotte 4-year, Public Charlotte, NC Certificate $1,895 (2016)*
San Francisco State University 4-year, Public San Francisco, CA Certificate, Bachelor's $1,500 (certificate*;
$6,476 in-state, $17,636, out-of-state (2015-16)**
San Diego State University 4-year, Public San Diego, CA Certificate, Bachelor's $149/course (certificate, 2017)*;
$6,976 in-state, $18,136, out-of-state (2015-16)**
Johnson & Wales University 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Providence, RI Bachelor's $29,566 (2015-16)**
Austin Community College 2-year, Public Austin, TX Certificate, Associate's $2,550, in-district, $9,210 in-state, $11,340, out-of-state (2015-16)**

Sources: *School websites; **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for a school for party planning:

  • Though often taught together, specializations include leisure industries and corporate events.
  • Professors certified by professional organizations, such as Meeting Professionals International, may provide future networking opportunities within the field.
  • Certificate programs are most acceptable for students breaking into the field or earning separate degrees; management positions may require a degree.
  • Some certificate programs count towards continuing education unit, which may be viewed as a commitment to career development.

Event and Meeting Planning Certificate

Many community colleges and universities offer event and meeting planning certificates, often through continuing education programs.

Associate's Degree in Meeting and Event Planning

Associate's degrees may be completed in two years. Students may earn degrees such as an Associate of Applied Science in Meeting and Event Planning or an Associate of Applied Business in Administrative Management Technology with a concentration in meeting and event planning. An internship is included as part of the program.

Bachelor's Degree in Meeting and Event Management

Undergraduate degrees at the university level include a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Conventions and Event Management or a Bachelor of Science in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management. Bachelor's degree programs usually include an internship.

Students considering a career in party planning can pursue degrees from both associate and bachelor programs, while shorter certificate programs may offer professional credentials. Most programs include internships and practical applications.

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