How to Become an Event Planner

Event planner sets up a wedding in banquet hall

Event planners are responsible for coordinating the key aspects of an organization’s meetings, conventions or other events. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for event planners will increase by seven percent job growth through the year 2028.1 If you have a flair for organization and communications and a knack for keeping track of details, consider pursuing a career as an event planner.

Learning the Basics of the Job

Event planners work in a variety of industries. They often specialize in certain areas. For example, some planners work exclusively on weddings while others handle business conventions, government meetings and other specific events. Specific tasks can vary depending on the event, but some common responsibilities of event planners include:

  • Meeting with the client to learn about the proposed event
  • Planning the basics of the event, including its date, time and location
  • Securing bids from venues and service providers
  • Coordinating event services, including transportation, accommodations and catering
  • Attending the event to monitor proceedings and ensure client satisfaction

Event planners spend much of their time in the office working out the details of upcoming events and communicating with other service providers to ensure that everything is arranged properly. When an event takes place, the event planner attends it to ensure that it proceeds smoothly.

Earning Your Communications Degree

If you have decided to move forward with your goal of becoming an event planner, your first step is to enroll in a related degree program. Aspiring event planners may benefit from a bachelor’s program in communications. Communications majors focus on developing many important interpersonal skills that are critical when working closely with clients, staff and co-workers.

During your studies, you will focus on refining your written and verbal communication skills. This will serve you well as an event planner, but a communications degree can also serve as a springboard for pursuing many other career choices across all industries. Some of the topics you can expect to study include:

  • Interpersonal, small group, intercultural, public and mass communications
  • Conflict communication and the negotiation process
  • Principles and elements of argumentation and advocacy
  • Principles, theories and practices of public relations
  • Training and development within an organizational setting

Although you will spend a great deal of time working on your class assignments and studying, you should also consider joining campus clubs and extra-curricular activities that are relevant to your major or career goals. For example, you might consider contributing to the campus newspaper or joining a business-related club.

You can also look for opportunities to practice planning events. You might volunteer to help set up a charity drive or to arrange club fundraising events, for instance. Not only does this enable you to build important skills, but it also helps you build connections and allows you to add more accomplishments to your resume upon graduation.

Completing an Internship Experience

Internships are invaluable learning opportunities for students. During your third or fourth year, you should consider applying for a communication-heavy internship opportunity. Many internships can be completed on a part-time basis during semesters, but others are full-time commitments that you can complete during the summer.

During your internship, you will acquire professional connections that can prove useful to you as you look for a permanent job after graduation. Successful interns can be offered full-time employment at their company. You will also gain real-world, practical experience that will serve you well throughout your studies and career.

Earning an Event Planning Certification

After you graduate with a communications degree, you may benefit from earning a certification. While it is not always necessary for professional event planners to be certified, possessing a certification will help you make the most of your career options. There are different certification options for you to pursue depending on your career goals.

For example, you may choose to pursue Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credentials. This is offered by the organization Meeting Professionals International (MPI). It is an ideal certification for aspiring convention, meeting and exhibition planners. However, the MPI requires that you first achieve three years of experience working as an event planner and complete continuing education credits.2

Another option is the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) designation offered by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP). These credentials are intended specifically for event planners who conduct work regulated by the federal government. To earn this certification, you must become a member of the SGMP. Additionally, you must complete a three-day course and pass an examination.3

Earning a communications degree at Grand Canyon University will help prepare you for a wide range of rewarding careers, including the role of an event planner. Our Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree program is offered to students who wish to develop and polish their skills in written and verbal communications and thrive in their careers. To learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click on the Request Information button at the top of this page.

Retrieved from:

1 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm#tab-1

2 https://www.mpi.org/education/certificate-programs

3 https://www.sgmp.org/cgmpbenefits

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