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How to Become an Event Planner in 2021

October 4, 2021 | Staff Writers

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A lot is written about event planners, such as the traits of event planners and what it takes to be a successful event planner. From the writings, it is evident that event planning isn’t about organizing parties. Event planning is all about creating definite programs that address the purpose and objectives of your client. Event planners work around the clock creating and developing plans for weddings, meetings, and different parties. The event planning business is currently booming due to the increased demand for social activities. 

Are you wondering how to become an event planner? If event planning is your ideal career, then it’s time to pursue it. The events management and planning field are among the most promising professional careers that one might enter into. To become an events planner, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited learning institution. Most employers prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, hospitality management, communications, or public relations. You need to get hands-on experience in events planning from an events management organization. 

Upon completing your education and training, you might opt to get events planning certification, enabling you to explore various careers, including becoming a wedding planner, party planner, or meeting planner. Before beginning to pursue a career in event planning, you need to know all the aspects of becoming an events planner. Keep reading as this article explores: 

  1. Skills and competencies an event planner should exhibit 
  2. Degree or certification you need to be an event planner 
  3. How to get hands-on experience as an event planner 
  4. Event planner salary and job growth

Skills and Competencies an Event Planner Should Exhibit

Like any other profession, you need to possess specific skill sets to help you with a career in event planning. An events planner typical day involves meeting clients, creating and developing strategies, and implementing the strategy to ensure the success of an event. Event planners must have interpersonal skills to become successful in event planning. Event planners should also have specific competencies to ensure efficiency. If you are considering becoming an events planner, you need to be conversant with the skills, competencies, and talents that event planners should exhibit. You’re in the right place as this article explores the much-needed skills and competencies in events management.

What Sort of Skills Do You Need to Become an Event Planner?

High-profile seminars, weddings, and parties have made the life of event planners more desirable. However, we need to face the reality that vent planning is more than throwing fancy parties. The event planning job can be devastating if not planned well. Successful event planners have one thing in common. They have specialized skills that ensure success and efficiency in their operations. The career option is rewarding for hard-working and hyper-organized individuals. If you consider event planning as your ideal profession, here are some of the event planning skills that you must have in your event planner resume: 

  • Organizational Skills: Events management and planning require individuals with excellent organizational skills. Event planners must always rely on the processes and methods of an events management team. Proficient organizational skills enable you to stick to budgets and timelines. An organized event planner can recall all the aspects of an event right from planning to post-event phases. 
  • Communication Skills: As an event planner, you will constantly communicate with clients and your events planning team. A successful planner can interact and build professional relationships within a short period. Event planners shouldn’t be afraid of talking to brand sponsors, event attendees, and executives. Having excellent communication skills ensures that every stakeholder understands their roles and event processes. Event planners with good communication skills can understand and address the needs of every client. 
  • Negotiation Skills: Strong negotiation skills come in handy when you’re rooting for clients, event sponsors, and vendors. Strong negotiation skills will enable you to get the right contractors with sponsors, especially in corporate events. 
  • Leadership Skills: Events management isn’t easy as we may think. It involves a lot of activities that give event planners sleepless nights to ensure success. As an event manager, management skills enable you to lead and work with your planning team. You will constantly delegate duties and supervise the processes to get the work done within timeliness. 
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Event planning isn’t short of issues. Event planners with good problem-solving skills can effectively handle problems with much ease. Problem-solving skills keep event planners creative and adaptive. You will continuously monitor the progress of the planning process. This will help identify gaps and create backup plans to help solve the issues as they arise. 

What Sort of Competencies Should an Event Planner Have?

Events planning is one of the most thrilling professions available in the job industry. Event planners are always in charge of creating an excellent experience for their clients and event attendees. Although event planning is an exciting career, it can sometimes be challenging. However, with the right competencies, you will likely succeed. Here are some of the competencies you must have to make it in the event’s industry: 

  • Coordination: A well-coordinated event will give event attendees an experience of their lifetime. Coordination involves a lot of activities. For instance, you must be able to come up with a workable theme for your event. A theme enables you to identify the right venue and decorations for your event. Moreover, you will be able to identify all the other minor needs of the event, including the appropriate vendors. Coordination competencies enable you to reserve dates and pay for venues in advance to avoid a last-minute rush.
  • Networking: Networking is an essential aspect of event management as the events industry heavily relies on professional relationships. You need a network of multidisciplinary teams that comprises DJs, videographers, photographers, bands, etc. Event planners always bank on their network to plan a memorable event.
  • Budgeting: Event managers do a lot of budgeting. Poor budgeting might have severe implications on the entire event. Proficiency in budgeting enables even managers to forecast their spending while juggling between incomes and expenses. 

What Other Sort of Talents, Learned or Innate, Does A Successful Event Planner Need?

Here are some of the talents that one must have to become a successful event organizer: 

  • Multitasking 

Multitasking is always a must-have event planning talent to create a memorable event. An event planner should complete many tasks at a go, including event promotion, ticket sales, acquiring sponsorships, and organizing daily logistics. They are always in constant meetings with their clients briefing them on the event’s progress. 

  • Creativity 

Event planners are highly creative and use their talent to create unforgettable events. Even managers should be able to think outside of the box. Always choose unique styles and themes for each event.  

Degree or Certifications You Need to Be an Event Planner

A substantial number of Americans are interested in a career in event planning but are unsure of how to start. If you are such an individual, then this is the right article for you. Currently, there are several event planning certificates, degrees, and certifications to choose from. Assessing all the alternatives can be overwhelming, especially when you are less informed of event planners’ education and training requirements. Event professionals have the right educational qualifications, with most of them having the proper certifications putting them ahead of the competition in the events industry. This page will explore the educational requirements for event planners, including the degrees and credentials needed to become a successful events planner. 

What Sort of Degrees Does an Individual Need to Become an Event Planner?

The route to becoming an event planner can be baffling, especially with many degrees and courses that enable one to become an event planner. Notably, you don’t need a degree to become an event planner. However, those considering seeking employment in event planning corporate firms must earn a degree in various fields related to events management. The degree programs provide foundational knowledge on events planning to prospective planners. Through the programs, they can learn and develop the much-needed skills for event management. The quickest route to entry-level event planning positions is getting hands-on experience from an events professional. Are you wondering the sort of degrees you need to become an event planner? Here are some of the degrees you might consider: 

  • Hospitality Degree

A hospitality degree is one of the most common bachelor’s degrees for event planners. A hospitality degree allows you to gain detailed knowledge in the events industry, making you ready for an event planner position. The degree gives aspiring event planners introductory knowledge in the world of hospitality. You might get foundational knowledge on becoming an events manager. You also learn the customer service skills needed to negotiate with clients and root for event sponsors. Other skills learned include problem-solving and analytical skills. The course takes approximately four years to complete. 

  • Communication Degree 

Communication degrees unlock several career opportunities, including event planning. The communication degree trains students in writing technical documents, press releases, among other articles. The degrees develop and strengthen student’s communication and writing skills to help prepare them for careers in the booming event management industry. 

  • Public Relations Degree 

A public relations degree also helps prepare students for event planning careers. As mentioned earlier, aspiring event planners need to be proficient in public relations to build a professional network. In a public relations degree program, students acquire knowledge on marketing and social media. This enables them to create and develop a marketing portfolio needed to attract clients and sponsors. 

What Sort of Certifications Does an Individual Need to Become an Event Planner?

Event planners might specialize in different events, such as weddings, parties, meetings, and conventions. Most specialized event organizers, such as wedding planners, need an event planning certification to distinguish themselves from other event organizers. Are you seeking to become a certified event planner but don’t know where to start? Here are some of the most common event planning certifications that might interest you: 

  • Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP)

The CSEP certification is offered by the International Live Events Association (ILEA) for certified wedding planners, among others.  Earning the CSEP designation is an indication that an events planner has the comprehensive knowledge and proficient skills needed to fulfill all the elements of a memorable event. To gain this certification, you need to complete a four-year course in hospitality, communication, public relations, or a related field. Consequently, you need to have at least three years of hands-on experience in event management and planning. This enables you to take and pass the CSEP exam. 

  • Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)

 The CMP designation is provided by the Events Industry Council (EIC) to event planners who have specialized in planning conventions and meetings. Like the CSEP, candidates must have two to three-year experience in organizing conventions and meetings. Aspiring certified event planners must pass the CMP examination, which covers meeting management. 

  • Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP)

The CCEP designation is offered by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) to event planning professionals who seek to obtain the skills and knowledge needed to manage their event planning business. You must be a holder of a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in a field related to collegiate conferences. Additionally, you must obtain admission to a CCEP program by submitting your resume and letter of application. 

  • Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP)

The designation is offered by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) in collaboration with the USDA Graduate School. The designation is mainly for planners and suppliers regulated by the national government. This is the highest certification for event planning professionals specialized in organizing and planning meetings. 

What Other Documentation or Clearances Can You Earn to Put Yourself Ahead of the Competition?

The events industry is one of the most competitive industries in the job market. Therefore, event planners, especially those with event planning businesses, must obtain various documents and clearances to remain competitive in the market. For instance, they need to get a business license and events management certification from their operating state. A business license demonstrates that the event planner has met all the standards and regulations of event planning. It attracts clients, especially those who are seeking high-quality services. Consider getting insurance for your event planning business to cover eventualities. 

How to Get Hands-On Experience as an Event Planner

Getting hands-on experience in event planning is one of the significant steps of becoming a successful event planner. In most cases, aspiring event planners are usually required to complete a two-year training program to gain experience in events management and planning. There are several options an event planner can use to gain practical knowledge and expertise in event planning. The training options range from internship programs to on-job training programs. The event planning experience is usually needed, especially by those considering practicing privately. Your expertise in the field enables you to gain client’s trust and build professional relationships. This article is quite crucial for individuals seeking to gain experience as an event planner. Keep reading. 

Where Can You Start to Experience Everyday Events of an Event Planner?

Gaining experience in the events industry is vital as it gives an entry-level event planner a better perspective of what it takes to become a successful event planner.
You will understand the daily routines of event planners and all the aspects of event management. Even planning is not all about organizing fancy parties as most of us would think. It takes a lot to create and plan an unforgettable event.

 For instance, in wedding planning, a wedding planner must ensure that they meet all the needs of their clients, right from the theme, decoration, venue, etc. You might only meet the clients’ needs only if you have vast experience in event management. But how do you gain event planning experience? Here are some of the places where you start to experience the daily activities of an event planner: 

  • Internship Program: Upon completing your degree program, you might apply for an internship program offered by event planning companies. Under the internship program, you will learn several aspects of events management, including rooting for clients and sponsors needed for your future event planning career. You will be able to learn how to build your event planner portfolio. An event planning internship allows you to translate the classroom coursework into practice. You will be able to identify the aspects of event planning that you enjoy most and identify the right specialization to focus on. 
  • Volunteering for School Activities: While in school, you might volunteer to organize various events, such as music festivals, cultural events, and sporting activities. Directly participating in the planning of these activities enables you to gain experience in event planning. Moreover, during these events, you will build a professional network with videographers, photographers, DJs, artists, among other professionals who might help your dream of becoming a professional event planner. 
  • Organizing Company Meetings and Conferences: During your early stages as an event organizer, you might sharpen your event planning skills by organizing company meetings and conferences. There is a lot more involved in planning company meetings than writing a to-do list. It involves budgeting, sourcing for funds from the management, reserving venues, and creating a theme for the conference. Learning to handle these activities will come in handy when you become an event planner professional. 
  • Volunteering in Non-profit Organizations: Non-profit organizations are involved mainly in charitable work. These organizations regularly organize charitable events aimed at helping vulnerable societies. Volunteering as an event planner in such organizations will help hone your planning skills and build your resume. Additionally, you will gain hands-on experience in event planning processes as you will be directly involved in coordinating the events. 

What Sort of Adjacent Positions Can You Apply for to Get a Taste of Event Planning?

A career in the event management field doesn’t necessarily mean planning events. Several other adjacent positions will enable you to get a taste of event planning. Some of the adjacent positions include: 

  • Social Media Coordinator: As a social media coordinator, you will create and build a portfolio for the events company. You will use social media to keep the event attendees informed and enthusiastic about an upcoming event. This exciting role will help you learn some of the activities involved in event planning. 
  • Digital Concierge: You will be involved in coordinating the logistics of the events, including ticket sales. You will be tasked with providing venue recommendations. With this, you will build a network of event planners, making it easier for you to become a successful event planner in the future. 
  • Customer Experience Manager: They are always at the forefront of every event ensuring that they meet the needs of all event attendees. If they do, then they will probably be able to rehire the company’s services. Through the job, you will learn the vital aspects of event planning. 

What Does Your Resume Need to Look Like to Apply to an Event Planning Company?

An event planner resume is significant, particularly when you seek job opportunities in an event planning company. Here are some of the must-haves in your event planning resume: 

  • Educational Background 
  • Skills related to the position you’re applying 
  • Previous experiences, including the company name, your position, and typically duties 
  • Event planning professional network 
  • Event planning portfolio 
  • High-profile clients as your referees. 

Event Planner Salary and Job Growth

An event planner career is one of the most satisfying and promising jobs in the entertainment industry. A career outlook of an event planning career indicates that the profession will likely grow in the coming years. But what makes the profession satisfying? This article explores the event planner salary and job growth to determine the factors that make the profession most attractive. 

What Is the Average Starting and Finishing Salaries of an Event Planner?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an event planner makes approximately $42,449 annually. This translates to $16.07 per hour. However, the average salary varies depending on various factors. One of the likely factors affecting the event planner’s salary is job location. States with high demand for event planning services are likely to pay event planners more. For instance, an event planner in Washington earns $17.23 per hour while their counterparts in Virginia earn approximately $9.88 per hour.

The average salary for event planning jobs also varies depending on the job specifications. A wedding planner earns an average higher wage than a party planner. The level of experience and educational level, such as those with a STEM major, determine the salary scale for event planners. Entry-level event planners earn a starting salary of $23,984, while those with advanced experience make $75,128 annually. 

What Sort of Specifications Can an Event Planner Go into?

Event planners might opt to focus on various event planning specialties. Some of the typical specialties include: 

  • Corporate Event Planning: Corporate event planning attracts higher salaries compared to most event planning specialties. Corporate event planning is quite flexible and allows you to run multiple event planning businesses. It is suitable for individuals who don’t want to get attached to specific clients. 
  • Wedding Planning: Wedding planners offer event coordination services to clients. Some of the services include wedding consultations and full-service planning. 
  • Holiday Party Planner: They organize holiday parties for both corporate and private clients. 

What Else Should You Know About Taking Up a Career in Event Planning?

There are several factors that one needs to know before taking up a career in event planning. In addition to the education requirement, job specifications, job salary, and growth, aspiring event planners should be well-informed on building their portfolios. They need to know client hunting strategies and some of the resources for event planners. 

Final Thoughts 

Event planning is one of the professional services that have gained momentum in the past years, making it a viable option for individuals passionate about events and parties. The demand for event planning services has increased due to the increased number of clients on the lookout for highly trained and experienced event planners. The demand is also attributable to ever-evolving technology in the events industry. An event management certification is diverse and requires energetic, creative, and hardworking individuals. 

There is no education prerequisite for event planners. However, those considering getting employment from event planning companies should pursue a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, communication, public relations, and other related fields. The education programs provide aspiring event planners with foundational knowledge on the aspects of professional event planning. 

Those who wish to remain competitive in the job market obtain various certifications. But ensure a recognized event planning certification organization offers your certification. Event planning unlocks several career opportunities in different work settings. The salary scale of event planners ranges from $20,000 to $75,000, depending on your area of specialty, location, and experience level. If you doubted the prospect of an event planning job, we believe this article will clear your doubts.

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