In every group of friends, there's one person who always seems to take charge of party planning. He or she somehow knows how to make sure everyone has a good time. In the real world, there is actually an occupation in which these entertaining mavens would very likely excel—event planning.
Organizations, businesses and individuals often rely on the services of event planners to coordinate conventions, business meetings, trade shows and private parties. Also called convention and meeting planners, they do everything involved with making sure these events go smoothly, including choosing locations, hiring caterers, entertainment and other vendors, and arranging lodging and transportation for attendees. Those whose area of expertise is wedding planning are called bridal consultants or wedding planners.
There were 72,000 event planners employed in 2010.
Many people who enter this field first earn a bachelor's degree in hospitality management or a related major. Some choose to major in other subjects including public relations, marketing, communications and business. Most employers prefer to hire only job candidates with a hospitality management-related degree. Those who have majored in another subject should get work experience in event planning through internships to increase their chances of getting hired.
There are some people working in this field who do not have any formal education, but later find that it limits their chances for career growth. If they wish to become more competitive, they can take courses at a university or through a professional organization like Meeting Professionals International or PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association).
As an event planner gains experience, he or she may take on more responsibilities. He or she may move up from being a conference coordinator to being a program coordinator to being a meeting manager. Some eventually become consultants who are self-employed or executive directors who work for organizations.
Event planners can look forward to a bright future, although competition for jobs will be strong. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth will be faster than the average for all occupations through 2020. It will, this agency says, grow faster than other occupations that require a bachelor's degree. While many new employees will be needed to fill jobs openings left by people exiting this field, there are many waiting to enter it. This will result in a competitive job market.
Event planners, in 2011, earned a median annual salary of $46,020 (US). Median hourly wages were $22.13.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much an Event Planner currently earns in your city.
A Day in an Event Planner's Life:
On a typical day an event planner's tasks might include:
- Discussing events with clients to determine their needs and visions
- Visiting possible locations for an event
- Meeting with vendors, such as caterers, entertainers and florists
- Going over details with on-site staff
- Registering guests at an event
- Troubleshooting any problems that arise before and during an event
- Reviewing vendors' bills and approving them for payment
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm (visited July 05, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/13-1121.00 (visited July 05, 2012).