Event Planning Certificate Programs in Arlington, VA, with School Info

There are three schools within about 35 miles of Arlington, VA, that have event planning certificates. Read an overview of their program requirements and find out which college is the right one for you.

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Arlington Event Planning Schools

Event planners coordinate and manage event and meeting logistics, which can include responsibilities like site selection, vendor management and scheduling. Several event planning career training programs are available near Arlington, VA, which is about five miles outside of Washington, D.C. This article covers the course requirements and internship opportunities at three schools. To find out additional information about each college, including tuition rates, check out the table below as well.

  • George Washington University is located in Washington, D.C., and offers a professional certificate in event management, which includes a practicum experience. The campus is roughly five miles from central Arlington.
  • A certificate program in meeting, event and exhibition management is available at Northern Virginia Community College, which is located in Annandale, VA, about 12 miles from Arlington. The program allows students to complete an optional internship.
  • The College of Southern Maryland is around 37 miles south of Arlington, in La Plata, Maryland. This 2-year college has training programs in event and meeting planning and wedding event planning. Some students use the educational hours earned in these programs to count toward the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential from the Convention Industry Council.

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Comparison of Schools

Use this table to compare stats and facts about each of the profiled institutions. There's information on campus environments, acceptance rates, graduation rates and more.

George Washington University Northern Virginia Community College College of Southern Maryland
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 2-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2014)* 25,613 51,487 8,411
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Rural
Event Planning Certificate Program Tuition (2015-2016) $3,800** $5,138 (in-state)
$11,055 (out-of-state)*
$3,542 (in-district)
$6,111 (in-state)
$7,911 (out-of-state)
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2014)* 69% 57% 50%
Acceptance Rate (2014)* 44% Open admission policy Open admission policy
Retention Rate (2014)* 93% 69% 61%
Graduation Rate 79% (students who began in 2008) 23% (students who began in 2011) 13% (students who began in 2011)

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **George Washington University

George Washington University

George Washington University (GWU) offers business-focused programs in event and meeting management. A professional certificate program is offered at the Foggy Bottom Campus in Washington, D.C., as well as online. GWU also offers a Master of Tourism Administration with a concentration in event and meeting management and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in tourism, hospitality and event management.

Professional Certificate in Event Management

This program is designed for students interested in starting or advancing their careers in event planning. Throughout the course of the program, students must complete 100 hours of practicum experience and create a professional portfolio. Required core courses include event management, risk management, best practices and event organization. Learners can also choose from electives that include meetings and conferences, corporate events, wedding planning, sports event management and trade show planning. An optional event laboratory is also available and gives students an opportunity to learn directly from a master event planner.

Northern Virginia Community College

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) offers programs designed for those planning to work in event and meeting planning. The certificate program is offered at the Annandale campus. NOVA also has an associate's degree in hospitality management, which allows students to take electives in event and meeting planning.

Certificate in Meeting, Event and Exhibition Management

The curriculum for this 30-credit certificate program is intended to prepare individuals for careers in meeting, trade show and event planning. Some of the course topics for this program include meeting and exhibition ethics, meeting planning principles, event marketing and exhibition management. In addition to classroom instruction, students can complete an optional event planning internship to gain practical experience.

College of Southern Maryland

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is located in a different state but is less than an hour away from Arlington. The college has a career training program for meeting and event planning and a training program in wedding event coordination. Continuing education credits can be earned from each course in both training programs.

Meeting and Event Planner Training Program

This program is designed for students who want basic career training in event and meeting planning. The program can be completed in less than 1 year through part-time study and involves topics in food and beverage planning, event marketing, meeting management, site selection and contract negotiation.

Wedding Coordinator Training Program

For students interested in the field of wedding event planning, CSM offers a career training program for becoming a wedding coordinator. The program takes less than 1 semester to complete and covers marketing, service agreements, vendors, budgets, creative planning and wedding day coordination.

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