Steps to Becoming an Event Planner
So, you want to become an event planner, manager or production specialist. The thought of coordinating and managing all aspects of an event excites you, and you’re eager to get into the business. Great! But now what? Stuck on how to become one? Read on for helpful tips on how to get started, and hear from event planners who have been in the industry for over 30 years.
Steps to Becoming an Event Planner
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
While a degree is not always required from all event planning companies, it is strongly preferred. A degree shows that you are disciplined, a hard worker, and were able to stick out 4 hard years of school. For those who get a degree in majors such as hospitality management, public relations, event promotion, or other degrees that would be helpful in the event planning industry, you are one step closer to your goal. If you majored in something more outside the box, like accounting, show a company how that can be helpful. For example, you are great for staying within a budget!
Step 2: Experience
For those of you who did not get a 4-year degree, experience can often make up for it. An event planning company is much more likely to hire someone who knows the ins and outs of the business and someone who has experience in what it takes to plan an event. And of course, having a few parties under your belt never hurt! Nothing beats the experience of managing hundreds or thousands of people, being able to solve a mishap successfully, or knowing the feeling after your amazing event finally comes to an end.
Don’t have experience yet, but eager to get some? Apply for an entry level internship, offer to shadow a professional, or start out by networking. (1-2 years of experience is often required if you don’t have a degree.)
Pro Tip: We asked Event Solutions owner, Brad Lipshy, if he would look for a BA degree in an event planner, or if he thought experience was more important:
“I come across this dilemma a lot when hiring. For me, it is all about the specific person, their personality, and what they bring to the table. When it comes down to it, the event planning industry is a part of the service industry and keeping people happy. If I believe they can cater to our client’s need, even though they didn’t get a degree, I will absolutely still consider that individual”.
Step 3: Develop Essential Skills
Are you tech savvy? Are you familiar with project management software, spreadsheet and database software, or Photoshop and graphic design? These are all important skills that could be incredibly helpful when planning events. Or, are you more on the creative side, always finding new and exciting entertainment ideas, catering menus, and ways to up your decor and event design? When applying for potential event planning jobs, it is important to identify your skills and talents that sets you apart from your competition.
Pro Tip: We asked senior event manager, Denise, what initially made her get involved in the party planning industry.
“It’s actually a funny story. I originally went to school for accounting, and worked in that industry for a few years. I loved math and thought that would be a good fit for me. But I became bored fast, and wanted to find a career that allowed me to embrace my creative side, while also working with all kinds of people. I stumbled upon the event planning industry, my first event job working with a catering company, and haven’t left since. It is never too late to find what you love to do!”
Step 4: Earn Certification
There are many different kinds of certifications you can earn depending on your career goals. The more training you have, the more opportunity you give yourself for success. A certified meeting professional, certified special events professional (CSEP), certified government meeting professional (CGMP), and certified professional in catering and events (CPCE), are some certifications out there that help you get ahead in the industry.
No Single “Right Way”
While these are some tips we believe to be helpful, there are of course many other ways to get into the business. Remember, there is no right way and no one way to become an event planner. Have more questions for an experienced event planner? Find more career advice here or by visiting eventbrite.com.