How to Become a Certified Event Planner Online

Nov 24, 2019

Event planners help clients design and prepare for special events such as weddings, parties, and other celebrations. Find more info on an event planner career and steps on how you can prepare to be a professional event planner using online resources.

Event Planner Overview

Event planners meet with clients to design and coordinate a variety of aspects for a curated event such as food, activities, and decorations. They often present ideas and samples to clients, or cater to the clients' themes and ideas. Event planners may also be responsible for organizing and taking bids from other services such as caterers, florists, decorators, and entertainment, in addition to inspecting venues and locations. With online training and certification available, this career can be relatively easy to prepare for using online steps.

Required Skills Organizational Skills, Communication Skills, Negotiation Skills
Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% (meeting, convention, and event planners)*
Median Salary (2018) $49,370 (meeting, convention, and event planners)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming an Event Planner Online

Event planners typically hold a bachelor's degree in a degree field that lends itself to event planning such as communications, business, or business management. Training can help instruct and qualify those wishing to become professional event planners. Many of the following steps can be completed online, except for some taken towards optional forms of certification.

Step 1: Complete an Undergraduate Education

Most event planners have completed a postsecondary degree program. There are many options for those wishing to obtain a bachelor's degree related to the knowledge and skills required for the event planning industry, and there are many degree programs offered online for those degrees.

Selecting a degree depends on what skills you wish to refine, what your areas of interest are, and what sort of event planner you wish to become. For example, those wishing to start or run their own business might consider a degree in business management. Those who plan on being self-employed might also consider communications or marketing for the skills and know-how to effectively market your business and effectively communicate your services to clients, and to better coordinate with vendors, venues, decorators and other services.

Step 2: Complete Training

Training is a great way to take the lessons and skills learned in your education to the next level and more specifically contextualize them and build on them in terms of event planning. There are different training options based on what sort of event planning you wish to pursue. For example, the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP) offers an online training program for event planners who wish to specialize or otherwise be qualified to work as wedding planners. Virtual courses make it possible for those wishing to receive AACWP training to do so on their own schedule and from anywhere in the US.

Other organizations offer a more general event planning program. Career colleges, institutes, and training organizations offer distance learning opportunities in event planning. These programs can help students understand the fundamentals of event planning, as well as specifics such as client relations, social events, corporate events, and learning from experts.

Step 3: Become Certified

The AACWP offers certification options, such as Trained Wedding Planner (TWP), to those who complete the online training courses; however, this does require some in-person work including logged hours of on-the-job experience and the completion of mentorships. The Events Industry Council offers a credential for Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). For this certification, applicants will need documented, in-person work experience. Other requirements, such as signing up, completion of continuing education, and preparing for the exam, may all be accomplished online. Although the CMP exam is computer-based, you would need to sit for the exam in one of the approved testing centers.

Many of the general online event planning courses also offer professional certifications at completion. Some event planners take more than one course, to gain general certification with an added area or areas of specialization or further qualification.

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