How to Become an Event Planner: What to Expect & Skills You’ll Need

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So, you’re considering a career in event planning? Great! Did you know that there are a ton of opportunities and you don’t even need a degree to get started (even if it helps of course)? Job openings are expected to increase by as much as 30% before 2022, which is just over twice the average growth for a career field. Impressive, right?

If you’re wondering how to become an event planner, then keep reading because in this article you’ll learn about job requirements, salary, earnings, career opportunities, skills, and the education you will need to make your dream a reality.

Event Planner Job Description & Responsibilities

If you enjoy working with customers, you’ll love event planning. As an event planner, you’ll be working a lot with clients, so if you have good customer service skills you are already winning. But customer service is just one piece of this thrilling puzzle. You’ll get to be creative, manage exciting projects, hire and manage people, deal with unexpected crisis and solve last minute issues.

While sometimes customers have a very strong idea about what they want, other times you’ll be asked to get the ideas and themes for the events you organize. You’ll be in charge of planning an event from start to finish, usually with minimal direction from the employer or client. And the best part is that you’ll be able to bring your ideas to life by hiring the right help, entertainment, food, equipment, and security.

Your eventual job responsibilities can vary a great deal. However, and just to give you an idea, planning an event usually involves:

  • talking with your boss or client to see what they want and what they like
  • analyzing your potential audience and their needs
  • deciding on the interests and purpose of the event
  • considering current events
  • setting a budget
  • arranging the timeline to highlight the main event
  • sometimes organizing or allocating funds
  • setting a date
  • finding a venue that suits your needs and the timeline
  • acquiring any permits necessary for the event
  • planning (catering, furniture, tents, staff security, engineers, & equipment)
  • overseeing setup
  • arranging for technical support
  • managing advertising
  • marketing
  • overseeing promotional efforts
  • working with ticket sales if applicable
  • assessing and working with security
  • offering damage and crisis control
  • cleaning up the venue

This requires a strong and varied assortment of skills, ranging from hospitality and customer service to creativity, project management, crisis management, problem solving. An event planner should be ambitious, enjoy a challenge and be willing to learn multiple skills.

Are you ticking the boxes? Brilliant!

 

Your Potential Salary and Earnings as an Event Planner

Event planners earn different salaries depending on where and how they choose to work. Because you can end up in a wide variety of different careers as an event planner, you can also have a variety of different salaries. For example, if you specialize in wedding planning, you will likely earn right around $3,500 per wedding. If you work with a business, you will probably get a salary of between $30 and $40,000 per year. You could also work to set up conventions, a fashion show, or even rock concerts depending on what you specialize in. The median average salary for event planners is $46,260, but the top 10% can make up to $79,560.

Event Planner Skills

So, you know already that you’ll get to perform a lot of tasks and you’ll need a bunch of skills, which means that developing your skill set is VERY important so that you can handle all of the various tasks and responsibilities.

Project Management

Project management is a very large part of event planning, because whether you’re creating an event timeline, strategizing your marketing plan, or planning in the main event, you get to plan, have good people skills and be able to work well with your team.

how to become an event planner

Crisis Management

Crisis management is crucial to success as an event planner since something will invariably go wrong. You’ll learn to have a good backup plan, and how to handle problems with a level head.

Marketing

Promotion is key to getting people in the door to an event, whether you’re selling tickets, or hosting a talk show on current events. You should learn how to analyze your audience, how to market to the target demographic, and how to create selling pitches.

Entertainment

Entertainment is a large part of many events, whether it’s a fashion show or business brunch. It’ll be up to you to acquire bands, comedians, DJ’s, or even plan music for the event.

Decoration & Layouts

You’ll need to learn how to decorate and set up tables, booths, or seating in a way that makes sense, and works for the event.

how to become an event planner

Hospitality

You’ll need to master customer service, food, dress code, on stage manners, how to behave at different types of events, and even how to excuse guests from the event.

Education Requirements

The best part is that anyone can become an event planner, and you can do so with almost any level of education. Event planning is not regulated by any government body, so there is no minimum education you need to become an event planner. But education will surely help you in the skill set you’ll need to develop to be successful in this career.

Certification

An event planner certification allows you to prove that you have the skills and knowledge required to work as an entry level event planner, so that you can start gaining experience. This is the best option if you want to get started as quickly and affordably as possible, especially as a freelancer, or with a company looking for an entry-level employee.

Associates

An associates or 2-year degree is the second fastest way to earn your credentials as an event planner. This degree can be found online and in traditional colleges and universities, and is usually available as ‘event planning’, ‘hospitality’, and ‘business administration’.

how to become an event planner

Bachelor

A 4-Year degree is a slightly more prestigious degree, and will allow you to go to work as an entry-level employee in large businesses. Bachelors in ‘event management’, ‘hospitality’, and ‘events management’ are widely available for students.

Masters

Most universities do not carry a masters in event management, but you can find ‘Master in International Event Management’, and ‘Master of Business and Management’ at many schools. These allow you to work with the largest of events, in international and high-level business settings.

One of the joys of event management is that you can pretty much make it work around the lifestyle that best suits your needs. You can start a business, freelance, work with a company or with a company team.

Getting started with your career as an event manager is as simple

As simple as making the decision to start learning!

If you’re planning to build career experience, get more knowledge and skills in event planning, you should check our event planner course and earn an accredited certificate in event planning. You’ll learn about marketing, entertainment, project management, marketing your own business, finding clients, crisis management, hospitality, decorating, layouts, acquisition, and much more. If you are not sure which course to take, download our brochure.

For further reading, here are some suggestions from our event planner expert, Tamar Peters:
Event Planning Books
Confessions of an Event Planner by Judy Allen
Special Events; A new generation and the Next Frontier (6th Edition) by Joe Goldblatt
Websites for Event Planners to do research
International Festival and Events Association www.ifea.com
International Association of Exhibition and Events www.iaee.com
International Association of Conference Centres www.iacconline.org

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