In order to become a meeting or event planner, degree-seeking students can major specifically in the field or pursue studies within a broader hospitality program. Career-focused certificates are also available.
Schools with Meeting Planner Programs
The following are schools that offer degrees and certificates related to meeting planning:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's|| $6,368 (in-state)
|Edmonds Community College||Lynnwood, WA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$3,758 (in-state)
|Central Michigan University||Mt. Pleasant, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's|| $11,850 (in-state)
|Gateway Community College||New Haven, CT||2-year, Public||Certificate|| $4,032 (in-state)
|George Washington University||Washington, DC||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$50,435|
|Prince George's Community College||Largo, MD||2-year, Public||Certificate and Associate's|| $3,650 (in-district)
|College of the Ozarks||Point Lookout, MO||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$18,730|
|Southwest Michigan College||Dowagiac, MI||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$4,921 (in-district)
|Lynn University||Boca Raton, FL||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$35,200|
|Iowa State University||Ames, IA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's|| $7,736 (in-state)
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following also when looking for hospitality schools:
- Students with scheduling constraints or work commitments may want to look for programs that offer classes online.
- Students who are considering certificate or associate's degree programs may want to find out if credits are transferable to higher-level programs in the future.
- A school located in an area that has a high level of tourism may offer a wider variety of internship opportunities; students should find out if the school has ties to local companies where they might like to gain work experience.
- Students may want to learn what the pass rate is for graduates who take the voluntary certification exam to earn the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential offered by the Convention Industry Council.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in meeting and event planning cover both theoretical and practical topics related to special events preparation, such as design, employee coordination, risk management, marketing, technology use and legal concerns. Students may be required to complete an internship in the field and must fulfill general education requirements. At some schools, this degree is available online or in a hybrid format. Programs may confer an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Technical Arts (ATA) degree.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most meeting and event planners hold a bachelor's degree. Depending on the school, students may be able to major in event management or choose event management as a concentration in a broader hospitality degree program. Not only do bachelor's degree seekers take courses that prepare them to plan and execute events, but they also have the chance to enroll in more advanced classes where they can explore hospitality industry trends and develop ways to improve future events. In addition, students are required to complete one or more internships, and they may have the opportunity to study abroad.
The classes in certificate programs are usually similar to those in associate's degree programs. However, certificate programs provide a basic introduction to event planning and management techniques and industry practices, but they can be completed in one year or less because they do not include general education requirements or an internship component. Many schools offer coursework online.
Students can find certificate, associate's and bachelor's programs that cover event and meeting planning and management. Prospective students should consider hands-on training opportunities when choosing between programs.