How to Become an Event Planner in 2020 | Requirements & Salary

To put it in simple terms, an event planner brings a client’s vision to life. They will take an abstract idea and convert it into a real-life experience. These events can range from intimate gatherings to international conferences and everything in between.

How to Become an Event Planner ?

To date, no college or university offers event planning as a major, and as such, there is no rule stating that a bachelor's degree is required.

However, it is a good idea to have a degree in a related field, such as:

  • Hospitality Management
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Communications
  • Business

Bottom Line: these concentrations provide a solid foundation and a general understanding of what it takes to work in the service industry.

Hands-On Training

If continuing your education is not something that appeals to you or financial constraints are prohibiting you from obtaining your bachelor’s degree, you can still find work in the industry.

Get hands-on experience by offering your services to friends and family. Start small by planning birthdays, graduation parties, or the family’s next gender reveal. 

Slowly elevate your business by tackling larger and more complicated events.

Internships

You can also intern at an agency and learn from seasoned professionals on how to become event planner.

Or, you can volunteer your services after work hours and on the weekends. 

Nonprofit organizations that routinely do fundraising events are always in need of volunteers.

Having The Right Skills

One of the most important skills needed for event planning is organization. Without this vital ability, your business will fail and quickly. 

The second most important skill to possess is excellent customer service. It doesn’t matter how well organized, if you have poor customer service, people will not hire you.

Thinking Outside-Of-The-Box

They need to be logical when working within a budget, too. There will be times when a client’s vision and their funding do not match, and a planner must use their critical thinking to find a solution.

Planners need to be able to think quickly when issues arise and learn the art of staying calm in front of adversity.

Of course, this profession is not all numbers and time management. It requires a good amount of creativity.

Additional Skills Needed:

  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Able to think independently
  • Self-motivated
  • Decisive
  • Driven to provide the best service
  • Assertive
  • Stellar verbal and written communication skills

What Does An Event Planner Do

become event planner

First, understand that there is a difference between an event coordinator and an event planner. 

An event planner, sometimes referred to as an event organizer, works directly with the client to determine the exact vision for the event. 

Together they decide on the location, a theme, decorations, guest lists, budget, and all other pertinent details.

Duties And Responsibilities

An event planner’s duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Negotiating Contracts
  • Venue
  • Event Staffing
  • Invitations & Attendance
  • Food & Beverages
  • Security
  • Entertainment
  • Decorations
  • Audio / Visual Support & Technology
  • Set-Up
  • Breakdown/ Clean-Up
  • Travel Arrangements

Salary / Job Outlook

If you are wondering how much do event planners make, you may be shocked to find out that the median salary is almost six figures. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual event planner salary is $98,370 or $23.74 an hour. 

Event planning jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 11% until 2026.

Working Hours And Conditions

Working hours and conditions are largely dependent upon the type of niche service provided. However, expect to work long hours and weekends.

Difference Between Coordinator And Planner

The event coordinator, on the other hand, makes no final decisions and takes their orders directly from the event planner. 

An event coordinator job description may include administrative experience as a requirement. 

Coordinators are expected to know every detail of the event, which means they need to be highly organized and able to multi-task.

Event Planning Certification

After you have started getting event planning jobs, consider enriching your business by obtaining specific industry credentials. 

The following certifications will give your business more credibility because these are internationally recognized.

  • The 'Certified Special Event Professional’ (CSEP) is given after a 4.5-hour computer-based exam. It costs approximately $600 to take the text. If you fail, it will cost an additional $200 to retake it. The certificate is valid for 5 years and requires a $200 recertification fee.
  • To get  ‘ ‘The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certificate, it takes more work. You will need 24-36 months of full-time employment within the industry. You will need to pay $250 to apply, and if approved, you must pay an additional $450 to take the exam. If you fail, you are allowed to retake the exam as many times as needed, but you will need to pay $450 each time. On average, event planners with CMP accreditation earn $10,000 more than those not certified.
  • The ‘Certified Meeting Professional-Healthcare’ is a subset certificate of CMP. It was designed to meet the growing needs of those who manage events in the healthcare industry.

Additional Certifications

The following certificate programs, though reputable, may not be recognized globally: 

‘Certifications in Wedding Planning’ and ‘Certified Government Meeting Professional’. 

A certification in government event planning can be extremely beneficial if you live in a political city, like Washington D.C.

How To Start An Event Planning Business

event planning business

Before cold-calling potential clients or telling your Facebook friends that you are open for business, sit down and get prepared. Write a detailed business plan on how to become event planner and how you will start your business.

There are plenty of resources available online to help you, or you can visit your local small business administration office for guidance. The more thorough the plan, the easier it will be to get your business up and running.

Get Official Documents Ready

Calculate the operating budget, and establish prices for your services. Get business insurance and check your state regulations for other required documents. 

Draft up template client agreements, proposals and any other administrative document you will need to function properly.

Prepare Marketing Materials

Then let your artistic side take over as you create a logo for branding and marketing materials. 

Develop a professional website with visuals of past work and client testimonials. 

And, begin brainstorming your first marketing campaign.

Put Together A Good Team

Lastly, assemble your resources. Depending on the niche industry you serve, there will be a handful of vendors you will work with often.

Potential Vendors:

  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Party Decoration Suppliers
  • Furniture Rental Companies
  • Travel Agency
  • Caterer
  • Liquor Wholesaler
  • Florist

Bottom Line: keep in mind that staffing agencies exist. So, you don’t have to employ workers on a full-time basis, unless you’re teaching them how to become event planner, too.

Cover Your Expenses

It may take some time for your business to be profitable, which is expected. To avoid any financial losses, plan ahead. 

Set aside enough money to cover your living expenses for at least the next 6 months and to cover the costs of starting your business.

There is no set way on how to become event planner. Yet, know that it is more than just fancy cocktails and VIP guest lists. 

It takes a lot of hard work, time and energy to create a flawless event where others are enjoying themselves. 

To succeed in this business you have to be willing to give it your all, each and every time.

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