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Event Planner Careers

If you're a people person, enjoy completing projects, organizing, working with procedures, you may flourish in a career as an event planner. Event planning is an incredible choice for people who want to work in a creative environment. Being an event planner, you may plan menus, decorations, and entertainment, which are a few creative aspects of this job. The majority of event planners organize, design, and run various functions and events, from a wedding and educational conferences to corporate or business conventions. Here, your job is to ensure everything related to an event, from idea conception to programming and day-of logistics, is properly planned.

Event planning is one of the most exciting, fun, and rewarding experience, where you may use your innovative new ideas to bring the visions to life. Launching product parties, conferences, and trade shows, you may work with vendors, clients and often interact with guests or celebrities. So the role of event planner not only offers variety in your days but also brings unique experiences with excellent learning opportunities.

Another distinct aspect of event planning is that it's a profession where you can become very successful without earning a formal education. You don't need any specific degree. However, earning a bachelor's degree in event management or hospitality and relevant work experience may help pump your resume.

What's more, a job as an event planner offers you to become self-employed as a freelance or work for short periods upon your set schedules. Not only that, but a job as an event planner provides a fair amount of job security as it's ranked highly among the careers. According to BLS, event planning expects to grow by 10 percent in the next decade, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations.

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.


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.

How To Become an Event Planner

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


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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Average Salary for an Event Planner

Event Planners in America make an average salary of $44,411 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $59,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
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Best Paying Cities

Average Salarydesc
Glen Cove, NY
Salary Range45k - 69k$56k$56,350
Washington, DC
Salary Range44k - 67k$55k$54,681
Boston, MA
Salary Range43k - 67k$54k$54,298
Seattle, WA
Salary Range41k - 63k$52k$51,691
Bridgewater, NJ
Salary Range41k - 63k$51k$51,475
Alexandria, VA
Salary Range41k - 62k$51k$50,622

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Michigan Farm Bureau
Michigan Farm Bureau
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George Washington University
George Washington University
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PCL Construction
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{Title:Event Planner Specialist, City:Riverside}
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University of California
University of California
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Event Planner Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Event Planner. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Event Planner Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless 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.

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Event Planner Demographics



71.2 %


23.3 %


5.6 %



68.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.3 %

Black or African American

8.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


45.6 %


12.7 %


5.8 %
See More Demographics

Event Planner Education


22.4 %



61.1 %


13.3 %


11.9 %

Top Colleges for Event Planners

1. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, NE • Private

In-State Tuition

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
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Top Skills For an Event Planner

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.9% of event planners listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 13.9%
  • Vendor Contracts, 9.7%
  • Communication, 8.6%
  • Plan Events, 6.6%
  • Event Management, 5.4%
  • Other Skills, 55.8%
  • See All Event Planner Skills

Best States For an Event Planner

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an event planner. The best states for people in this position are Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, and West Virginia. Event planners make the most in Maryland with an average salary of $56,561. Whereas in New York and Massachusetts, they would average $56,026 and $54,266, respectively. While event planners would only make an average of $53,722 in West Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Event Planner Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Maryland

Total Event Planner Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Event Planner Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Event Planner Employers

1. Publix
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2. Bridgewater State University
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4. Gartner
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5. Tech Data
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6. Giant Eagle
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Event Planner Videos

Updated October 2, 2020