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Working As An Event Planner

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $41,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Event Planner Do

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Duties

Meeting, convention, and event planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to understand the purpose of the meeting or event
  • Plan the scope of the event, including time, location, and cost
  • Solicit bids from venues and service providers
  • Inspect venues to ensure that they meet the client's requirements
  • Coordinate event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service
  • Monitor event activities to ensure the client and event attendees are satisfied
  • Review event bills and approve payments

There are millions of meetings and events held each year. Meeting, convention, and event planners organize a variety of these events including weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions. They coordinate every detail of these events, including finances. Before a meeting event, for example, planners will meet with clients to estimate attendance and determine the meeting’s purpose. During the event, they handle logistics, such as registering guests and organizing audio/visual equipment. After the meeting, they make sure all vendors are paid and may survey attendees to obtain feedback on the event.

Meeting, convention, and event planners search for potential meeting sites, such as hotels and convention centers. They consider the lodging and services that the facility can provide, how easy it will be for people to get there, and the attractions that the surrounding area has to offer. Planners may also consider whether an online meeting can achieve the same objectives as one that requires attendees to meet in a physical location.

Once a location is selected, planners arrange the meeting space and support services, such as catering and interpreters. They negotiate contracts with suppliers and coordinate plans with the venue’s staff, and they may also organize speakers, entertainment, and activities.

The following are examples of types of meeting, convention, and event planners:

Association planners organize annual conferences and trade shows for professional associations. Because member attendance is usually voluntary, it is important for associations to emphasize the meeting’s value and location; for some association planners, marketing is an important aspect of their work.

Convention service managers work for hotels and convention centers. They act as liaisons between the meeting facility and the planners who work for associations, businesses, and governments. They present food service options to outside planners, coordinate special requests, and suggest hotel services that work within a planner’s budget.

Corporate planners organize internal business meetings and meetings between businesses. These events may be in person or online, held either within corporate facilities or offsite to include more people.

Event planners arrange the details of a variety of events. Wedding planners are the most well-known, but event planners also coordinate celebrations such as anniversaries, reunions, and other large social events, as well as corporate events including product launches, galas, and award ceremonies.

Government meeting planners organize meetings for government officials and agencies. Familiarity with government regulations, such as procedures for buying materials and booking hotels, is essential to their work.

Healthcare meeting planners specialize in organizing meetings and conferences for allied healthcare professionals. Healthcare meetings have to meet strict standards in order for the meeting to count as continuing education and to comply with government regulations.

Nonprofit event planners plan large events with the goal of raising donations for a charity or advocacy organization. Events may include banquets, charity races, and food drives.

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How To Become An Event Planner

Applicants usually need a bachelor's degree and some experience related to event planning. 

Education

Many employers prefer applicants who have a bachelor's degree and some work experience in hotels or planning. The proportion of planners with a bachelor's degree is increasing because work responsibilities have become more complex. Although some colleges offer degree programs in meeting and event management, other common fields of study include hospitality and tourism management. If an applicant’s degree is not related to these fields, employers are likely to require at least 1 to 2 years of related hospitality or planning experience.

Planners who have studied meeting and event management or hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than those from other academic disciplines. Some colleges offer continuing education courses in meeting and event planning.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a voluntary certification for meeting and convention planners. Although the CMP is not required, it is widely recognized in the industry and may help in career advancement. To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of 36 months of meeting management experience, recent employment in a meeting management job, and proof of continuing education credits. Those who qualify must then pass an exam that covers topics such as strategic planning, financial and risk management, facility operations and services, and logistics.

In 2014, the Convention Industry Council created the Certified Meeting Professional-Healthcare (CMP-HC) certification, a CMP specialization related to healthcare industry meeting planners. Planners who want to earn CMP-HC certification must first hold CMP certification and also meet the work and planning requirements specifically in healthcare industry meeting planning.

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) offers the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation for meeting planners who work for, or contract with, federal, state, or local government. This certification is not required to work as a government meeting planner; however, it may be helpful for those who want to show that they know government purchasing policies and travel regulations. To qualify, candidates must have worked as a meeting planner for at least 1 year and have been a member of SGMP for 6 months. To become a certified planner, members must take a 3-day course and pass an exam.

Some organizations offer voluntary certifications in wedding planning, including the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants. Although not required, the certifications can be helpful in attracting clients and proving knowledge.

Other Experience

It is beneficial for new meeting, convention, and event planners to have experience in hospitality industry jobs. Working in a variety of positions at hotels, convention centers, and convention bureaus provides knowledge of how the hospitality industry operates. Other beneficial work experiences include coordinating university or volunteer events and shadowing professionals.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners communicate with clients, suppliers, and event staff. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills to convey the needs of their clients effectively.

Composure. Meeting, convention, and event planners often work in a fast-paced environment and must be able to make quick decisions while remaining calm under pressure. When necessary materials do not arrive on schedule, they make alternative arrangements calmly and swiftly.

Interpersonal skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must establish and maintain positive relationships with clients and suppliers. There are often a limited number of vendors in an area which can be used, and they will likely need them for future events.

Negotiation skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to negotiate service contracts events. They need to secure quality products and services at reasonable prices for their clients.

Organizational skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must multitask, pay attention to details, and meet tight deadlines in order to provide high-quality meetings. Many meetings are planned more than a year in advance, so long-term thinking is vital. 

Problem-solving skills. Meeting, convention, and event planners must be able to develop creative solutions that satisfy clients. They must be able to recognize potential problems and identify solutions in advance.

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Event Planner Career Paths

Event Planner
Executive Assistant Manager Sales Manager
Group Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Account Executive Sales Manager
Corporate Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Office Manager General Manager
Director Of Catering
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Manager
Marketing Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Manager Marketing Director
Community Relations Director
8 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Marketing Specialist Marketing Manager
Manager, Field Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Supervisor Restaurant Manager
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant General Manager Director Of Catering
Director Of Sales And Catering
7 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Marketing Specialist Event Manager
Events Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Coordinator Team Leader Assistant Director
Director Of Alumni Relations
5 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Marketing Specialist Event Manager
Sales And Event Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Meeting Planner Event Manager
Director Of Special Events
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Consultant Marketing Communications Manager Events Marketing Manager
Director Of Marketing And Events
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Product Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Office Manager Assistant To The Director
Membership Director
5 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Development Coordinator Development Officer
Manager Of Special Events
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Consultant Marketing Manager/Project Manager
Marketing Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Editor Social Media Manager
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Event Planner And Coordinator Planner/Scheduler Senior Planner
Community Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Meeting Planner 3.2 years
Event Planner 3.0 years
Event Producer 2.9 years
Conference Planner 2.8 years
Wedding Planner 2.8 years
Event Manager 2.6 years
Event Consultant 2.5 years
Event Coordinator 2.0 years
Event Internship 0.5 years
Top Careers Before Event Planner
Internship 10.2%
Volunteer 6.2%
Cashier 6.2%
Server 5.2%
Manager 3.7%
Assistant 2.8%
Hostess 2.4%
Top Careers After Event Planner
Internship 10.4%
Volunteer 6.7%
Server 5.9%
Cashier 5.3%
Manager 4.9%
Owner 3.5%

Do you work as an Event Planner?

Average Yearly Salary
$41,000
Show Salaries
$22,000
Min 10%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Robert W. Baird & Co.
Highest Paying City
Glen Cove, NY
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does an Event Planner make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Event Planner in the United States is $41,783 per year or $20 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $22,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $78,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Event Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Event Planner Alfaro Family Office Dec 08, 2016 $120,000
Event Planner Alfaro Family Office, LLC Aug 18, 2014 $120,000
Event Planner Sam DS, LLC Mar 04, 2013 $85,000
Event Planner Get The World Moving Inc. Mar 18, 2015 $80,346
Event Planner Get The World Moving Inc. Mar 18, 2013 $75,000
Event Planner Get The World Moving Inc. Mar 06, 2013 $75,000
Event Planner I-Advize Corporate Communications, Inc. Oct 15, 2015 $73,133
Event Planner York Street Staffing and Events Inc. Sep 16, 2013 $73,000
Event Planner York Street Staffing and Events Inc. Jun 09, 2015 $73,000
Event Planner York Street Staffing and Events Inc. Jun 21, 2015 $73,000
Mtg/Conv/Event Planner (INT Title: Conf & TRG Prog Institute of Gas Technology Feb 01, 2014 $72,000
Event Planner Richmond Events, Inc. Nov 09, 2016 $50,151
Wedding & Event Planner Tall and Small Events, LLC Aug 01, 2015 $50,067
Program Event Planner Jaffe Management Aug 01, 2015 $50,067
Event Planner Absolute Fencing Gear Inc. Sep 10, 2015 $50,000
Event Planner Society56, Inc. Jun 01, 2014 $50,000
Events Planner Obaltan Inc. Sep 12, 2015 $50,000
Culinary Convention and Event Planner New York Mutual Trading, Inc. Dec 11, 2015 $49,899
Cultural Events Planner Fivemyles, Inc. Sep 10, 2013 $48,001
Art Market Event Planner Herlar LLC Sep 12, 2015 $39,500
Event Planner Wal Branding & Marketing LLC Sep 02, 2015 $39,437
Event Planner Logistics Fine Arts, LLC Dec 21, 2015 $39,042
Staffing and Event Planner Ruprecht Company Sep 25, 2013 $39,000
Event Planner The Side-Out Foundation Sep 01, 2014 $38,693
Event Planner L'Olivier, Inc. Oct 01, 2014 $38,422
Events Planner University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine Nov 03, 2014 $38,147
Event Planner Musicality International Inc. Aug 27, 2016 $38,000

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Top Skills for An Event Planner

  1. Vendor Relations
  2. Special Events
  3. Plan Events
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created strong vendor relationships, negotiated contracts and implemented ideas to continually improve services and event quality.
  • Managed the logistical planning, everything from concept to execution, of multiple concurrent educational conference programs and special events.
  • Plan events by securing location, audiovisual equipment, staffing, advertising, ticket sales, concessions and stage management.
  • Provided extra-curricular student learning activities involving art and media Make-up Consultant and Product Specialist Delivered excellent customer service working for M.A.C.
  • Developed project proposals, promotional and event materials; established invitee lists; planned and executed corporate products.

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Top 10 Best States for Event Planners

  1. New York
  2. Idaho
  3. Arizona
  4. New Jersey
  5. Maine
  6. Virginia
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Connecticut
  9. Washington
  10. Nevada
  • (209 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (71 jobs)
  • (66 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (158 jobs)
  • (101 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)

Event Planner Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 14,932 Event Planner resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Event Planner Resume

View Resume Examples

Event Planner Demographics

Gender

Female

71.2%

Male

23.3%

Unknown

5.6%
Ethnicity

White

60.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.6%

French

12.7%

Italian

5.8%

Chinese

5.0%

Mandarin

4.6%

Portuguese

4.2%

German

4.1%

Russian

3.7%

Arabic

3.0%

Japanese

1.7%

Cantonese

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Korean

1.2%

Hindi

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Hebrew

0.9%

Greek

0.7%

Romanian

0.6%

Czech

0.6%

Tagalog

0.5%
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Event Planner Education

Schools

New York University

8.7%

University of Central Florida

7.3%

Johnson & Wales University

7.0%

Arizona State University

6.9%

University of Washington

5.9%

University of South Florida

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

5.0%

Temple University

4.8%

University of Georgia

4.7%

Florida State University

4.7%

Florida International University

4.5%

Ohio State University

4.4%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.4%

San Francisco State University

4.2%

University of Florida

4.1%

University of Houston

3.7%

American University

3.7%

George Mason University

3.7%

Strayer University

3.6%

Colorado State University

3.6%
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Majors

Business

21.8%

Communication

13.2%

Hospitality Management

11.2%

Marketing

7.6%

Psychology

7.1%

Public Relations

5.1%

Management

4.8%

English

3.0%

Criminal Justice

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

Political Science

2.6%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Graphic Design

2.2%

Accounting

2.2%

Sociology

2.0%

Kinesiology

2.0%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.9%

General Studies

1.8%

Journalism

1.8%

Culinary Arts

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

61.2%

Associate

12.2%

Masters

9.1%

High School Diploma

8.6%

Certificate

5.2%

Diploma

2.3%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Updated May 18, 2020