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Special Event Management Career Info and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an event planner. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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Special event managers typically need formal education and high-level skills in communication, organization, public relations and human resources. Find out more detailed information related to job growth, annual earnings, job duties and education requirements.

Essential Information

Special event managers design and execute affairs, like parties and fundraisers, per clients' specifications. They hire vendors, caterers and other staff to assist them during events, so experience in human resources can be beneficial to a candidate. Event managers also need an understanding of marketing and public relations principles. Employers generally prefer job candidates who hold a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Required Experience Public relations experience a plus
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 7% (for all meeting, convention and event planners)
Median Salary (2018)* $49,370 (for all meeting, convention and event planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Special Event Management Career Information

Special event managers are in charge of every aspect of an event, from its planning and development to its execution. It's the event manager's job to research and design an affair according to his or her client's wishes. He or she coordinates an event's total operation and ensures everyone involved in the proceedings works together to produce agreeable results.

Over the course of their careers, special event managers might direct a variety of events, such as weddings, festivals and fundraisers. Thus, they must be equipped to deal with a number of tasks, depending on what each event requires. They typically hire vendors, such as food and beverage caterers, and decorate event sites. In order to provide the proper atmosphere, they might book light and sound technicians, as well as entertainers.

In addition, a large part of special event management involves knowing bits and pieces of other trades. For instance, event managers should know basic marketing principles in order to create successful events. Human resources experience is helpful in hiring helpers and managing staff. Knowledge of finance is necessary since special event managers are in charge of budgeting their events. Their job even crosses over with that of a city planner because they're required to know local ordinances in order to obtain permits and licenses for their affairs.

Salary and Job Outlook

Meeting, convention and event planners earned a median salary of $49,370 per year in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At that time, those working in the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts received the highest annual wages - more than $60,000 a year on average. The BLS predicts a faster than average job growth rate of 7% for event planners between 2018 and 2028.

Education Requirements for a Special Event Management Career

An October 2016 search of job postings on Careerbuilder.com shows that many employers prefer candidates with an undergraduate degree, as well as work experience in marketing or with fundraising or special events. Employers also are looking for applicants with public relations experience and oral and written communications skills. Earning a degree in marketing is an option, but some institutions offer programs specifically geared toward event management. These programs, which typically result in a Bachelor of Science, prepare students for specific issues that special event managers face. Some schools also offer a hospitality and event management concentration as part of a larger program in hotel and restaurant management.

Additionally, some colleges and universities offer certificate programs designed for prospective or current special event managers. Typically, these programs are open to undergraduate and graduate students, but even those who have no interest in obtaining a college degree can enroll. Topics of study might include programming for events, working with vendors and obtaining sponsorships. Often, the courses are taught by experienced event managers, which also give students an opportunity to network with established professionals.

A bachelor's degree or certificate is required to fulfill a position as a special event manager. Understanding additional details - job outlook, job duties, and salary - can give you more of an idea about this profession. Various salary options in certain states can be different enough to help you choose the best choice.

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