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Trade Show Event Management Career Information and Requirements

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

To work in trade show event management, you need to have a bachelor's degree. An optional certification is also available that could advance your career. Trade show managers need to have strong written and spoken communication skills and are often require to travel.

Essential Information

Individuals looking to begin a career in trade show event management should have a bachelor's degree and a background in meeting and convention planning. Employers may also look favorably upon voluntary professional certification. Trade show managers coordinate meeting spaces, advertising and exhibition booths for trade shows and ensure that the events run smoothly.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 10% (meeting, convention and event planners)
Average Salary (2015)* $51,200 annually (meeting, convention and event planners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Trade Show Event Management Career Information

According to Meeting Professionals International, the future of trade shows relies mostly on the future of the industries represented by the trade shows. As the economy improves, so does the trade show industry and the job prospects for trade show event managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects jobs for all kinds of event planners to increase by 10% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. The BLS additionally lists an average annual salary of $51,200 for meeting, convention and event planners as of May 2015.

Trade Show Event Management Requirements

Education Requirements

Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree to begin a career as a trade show event manager. While no specific concentration is necessary, common degree programs include communications, public relations, marketing and hospitality management. According to the BLS, those who have a degree in hospitality management generally will be given greater responsibilities sooner than prospective employees from other educational backgrounds. Additionally, some colleges offer degrees in meetings management.

Further education may include certification by the Convention Industry Council, called a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). The CMP examination is administered twice per year and may help advance the careers of those in the event planning industry.

Career Requirements

Meeting planners must be detail oriented, meet numerous and strict deadlines, and be able to manage event staff. A career in trade show event management often requires extensive travel and long hours before, during and after events.

An integral part of the trade show event manager's job is to work with business units to ensure that trade shows advance the corporate vision. Therefore, it is important that a prospective employee has exceptional written and oral communication skills, and is capable of forming and maintaining good working relationships with a variety of people.

Job availability is expected to grow faster than average for event planners, according to the BLS. While a bachelor's degree is typically required, the Convention Industry Council offers voluntary certificate that could open up opportunities for trade show managers.


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