Home / Career Guides / How to Become an Event Planner

Event Planner How to become, career path, income potential

Are you full of creative ideas and great with time management? Would you consider yourself detail-oriented and organized? Becoming an event planner may be the role that’s right for you. 

Professionals known as event planners oversee all of the tasks throughout the event planning process. They work closely with vendors and owners of venue locations. They also often work closely with clients in order to identify what their event needs are, what their budget is, and to assist them throughout the day of the event.

As an event planner, you are responsible for identifying the venue, the vendors for food and beverage as well as decor, and/or entertainment depending on the type of event. You are also responsible for helping with set-up, running errands for decorations and supplies, as well as working with the staff to ensure a smooth running event. 

The ideal candidate for this role will have experience with team management of any kind and great time management/planning skills. They must be great communicators, organized, and be able to be strategic in terms of staying under budget. Event planners must be able to create cost-effective ideas for the event and bring them to life in a timely manner.

Sample job description

The purpose of this position is to coordinate events for [Your Company Name]. This is accomplished by coordinating activities with staff and third-party vendors and assisting staff and participating in the planning, preparation, and execution of events. Other duties may include assisting with determining event costs and diagramming event configurations. To be considered an ideal candidate for this role, you should have good planning skills, relationship-building skills, and have great time management. Ideally, you’ll have at least one to three years of team management experience in order to attain this role.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Maintaining and establishing relationships with venues and vendors
  • Planning event details and all the aspects that go along with the event including seating, dining, and guests
  • Sticking to a budget and striving to stay under budget 
  • Thinking ahead and planning backup plans in case anything doesn’t go according to plan on the day of the event 
  • Understanding the complex needs of a wide variety of events 
  • Addressing any issues or problems that arise during or before the event

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or GED required 
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as event planning or marketing is preferred 
  • Some companies will work with a few years of on-the-job experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Must have great time management skills 
  • Must have great interpersonal skills and be extremely organized
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written  
  • Ability to make good decisions quickly
  • Must be reliable and punctual

Preferred qualifications

  • Previous experience with event planning 
  •  Ability to make sound decisions and think critically
  • Adaptable, takes initiative, able to think on their feet

Typical work environment

Event planners work as part of a team, but they are not often in the office setting. They have to run errands for event supplies and set up meetings with different vendors to identify which vendor can provide the right services at the right price for their clients. 

Event planners work with their clients to identify what type of event they want to have and what works within a client’s budget. They piece the event together and bring their client’s ideas to life. They also work closely with the venue directors in order to ensure that the event will run smoothly. 

Event planners usually have regular office hours, as well as hours working their events. They often work weekends and evenings due to events regularly being held at those times. The schedule can vary significantly based on what events they are working on.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an event planner vary greatly due to the nature of this job. If you are planning an event for the evening you will obviously need to be working that evening at the event. Oftentimes, event planners are working every weekend because they are planning events over the weekend and need to be there to oversee the actual event. Apart from these evening and weekend hours, the majority of the actual planning of the event will happen during normal business hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.

Available certifications

Although a certification is not required to work as an event planner, there are some certifications that can certainly benefit you in the job hunt. There are a few institutions that offer certifications, including: 

  • Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). This is a voluntary certification for any event planner that wants to plan corporate events or conventions. The CMP is not required, but it is recognized in the industry and may help advance your career. In order to qualify, candidates have to have at least 36 months of meeting management experience and proof of continuing education credits. If you qualify, you must pass an exam that covers topics like financial and risk management, strategic planning, logistics, and facility operations and services.

Career path

The journey to becoming an event planner begins by getting experience with team management and then attaining a role at an event planning company to get some specific event planning experience under their belts. 

Students who aspire to be an event planner should apply to an entry-level event planner job working at a larger company where they can gain the skills to work their way up or eventually start their own event planning company. 

Event planners need to develop soft skills, like being an excellent communicator and being extremely organized. They need to have these skills in order to keep all the events they are planning on track. There are a lot of moving parts in working with various vendors so being organized and having time management skills are essential.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-1121

2020 Employment125,900
Projected Employment in 2030148,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 18% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift22,100 increase

Becoming an event planner is a good career option, and you can cover a variety of events. Event planning can lead to wedding planning, corporate events planning, convention planning, and more. 

Once you’ve decided which avenue you want to go, there are various career opportunities from there as well. Oftentimes, event planners will get experience at a larger company, and then once they’ve gained the experience and skills needed, they start their own event planning company. Some also go on to become event space managers or venue managers.