Event planners get paid to do one thing – plan events. Depending on the event, however, that can involve quite a bit of work. An event planner works out every detail with a client, and while the client gets to sit back and imagine what their great event will look like, the event planner does all of the work like scouting out locations, finding a caterer, and so much more. Event planners are usually the last ones to leave the location after the event in order to make certain everything was cleaned up properly too.
If this sounds like the perfect job for you, read on about the education requirements, job skills, and even the different types of event planners there are. You can even take an online class in planning events to get started on your future as an event planner right away. Interested in event managing instead? Check out this article on event managers.
The Education Requirements for Event Planners
If you’re planning to work for a company, you’re going to want at least a bachelor’s degree and experience working in planning or another field related. Hotel management is a great field that can be used as experience for event planners. When considering what bachelor’s degree to pick, you should pick something like hospitality management, marketing, advertising, or business management. You can get started now with an online class in wedding and event planning.
An Optional Educational Requirement
Although not all places require a certification, there is the option to receive one. The Convention Industry Council offers something called the Certified Meeting Professional credential. You must pass a written exam and provide proof of your experience in the planning industry in order to receive this credential. Whether you’re planning to go freelance or work for a company, organization, or hotel, having this credential could be a major boost to your career. It can prove that the experience you claim goes far beyond word of mouth.
The Job Skills You Will Need for Event Planning
Being a great event planner goes beyond just planning an event. There are particular skills that you will need to make every event you plan a great success. You can learn more about managing events effectively with an online class.
- You will need to have great communication skills. Not only will you be talking to clients to find out what they want for their party, but you’re also going to need to be able to present ideas that meet what they’re asking for. Along with the client, you’re going to be working with suppliers, contractors, employees, wait staff, and many others. You might even end up doing multiple events at once. Customer service skills and interpersonal skills will be a major help in this area.
- Stay calm, and soldier on. With so much involved with an event, there’s a high chance that something will go wrong, and something almost always does. Your client is counting on you to be the calm and collected one with a Plan B when that something happens. You’re going to have problems if you can’t handle stress well.
- Computer skills are a must for the twenty-first century event planner. In the old days of event planning, you used a planning book. You would probably have tons of catalogs from every place imaginable. Now, almost everything you need to plan a great party can be found using a computer. You can also use it to keep in contact with clients, suppliers, employees, and all the others involved with the event. Using Microsoft Outlook will make it easy to organize your emails for different events along with creating to do lists and calender events. You can use Microsoft Excel to budget for your party too.
- Keep organized. Your client likely hired you because they don’t have the organization skills to plan an event like this. Not only is there a lot of multi-tasking involved, but there will be a lot going on at the event too. It’s up to you to keep everything organized so that the event goes off without a hitch. Again, using programs like Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, or even Evernote will make it easy to keep everything together. Learn how to use Evernote with an online class.
- As said before, something will probably end up going wrong at the event, and it will be up to you to fix it. You’re going to need excellent problem-solving skills with the ability to think on your feet to quickly solve a problem. Did you plan a glorious wedding for your lucky clients only for an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend to waltz into the reception unannounced and uninvited? Always plan for the unexpected, and always have back-up plans just in case something falls through.
- When you give your client a quote, your client is expecting you to stick to that budget. Money managing skills are a must for any good event planner. You never know when that client will come up to you wanting a million-dollar gig for only $100,000. Your budgeting skills will come in handy everywhere – from shopping around to find the best price and quality in a caterer to getting the best deal on the location and venue wanted by the client. It will definitely help you in your event planning business if you already budget your own life.
Different Types of Event Planners and the Parties They Plan
There are some event planners who will only plan certain types of events. Event planners that work for specific companies usually only plan company-oriented events like meetings, company picnics, etc. Wedding planners only plan weddings and occasionally wedding proposals. Freelance event planners, unless specifically freelance wedding planners, will likely do a variety of different events from birthdays to weddings to Jewish Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs. As a freelance event planner, you might even plan a Quinceñera or two.
The Future of Event Planning as a Viable Career Option
In a bad economy, it can be difficult to decide on a career especially in one like event planning that is not usually viewed as a stable career. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics quoted event planner salaries in 2010 to be at an average of $45,000 a year. The lowest earners were those that worked for hotels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicted a growth rate in job opportunities for event planners. In 2010, they predicted a growth of 44% by 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics firmly believes that growth in event planning will rise because of companies and organizations internationalizing. Without these meetings and conventions, these companies and organizations don’t have many options for bringing their employees together except with video and voice conferencing. Let’s face it though. It’s far more fun to get together with your coworkers and superiors at a convention or company event than it is with a video or voice conference.