A degree is not required in order to be an event planner, but it does help immensely in preparing you for the field as well as setting you apart from their competition. Event planning is a booming field these days, in part due to meeting and conventions becoming increasingly important to business.
Additionally, large amounts of money are raised by organizations at their annual events and fundraisers, and so in turn lots of trust and responsibility is placed on the hired planner. All this said, the better prepared you are and the more credentials and education you have, the more likely you are to land the job you want.
2 Year Degree vs 4 Year Degree vs Masters Program
The typical degree routes an aspiring event planner could take are the 2 year certification, the 4 year bachelor’s degree, or the 5-6 year Master’s program. Two-year certificate programs are the best way for students to learn the tools and practical aspects of event and meeting management. Covered areas might include design, coordination, site analysis, and feasibility studies. Moreover, one would learn best practices in promotion, organization and risk management for events of all sizes.
On the other hand, a four-year bachelor’s degree would dive more into custom fitting the extended education based on one’s professional goals.
And lastly, the Master’s degree program serves to further advance the student’s understanding of the trade and is best-suited to prepare those interested in management roles. Graduate students may focus on problems existent within the industry, in order to interpret their findings and apply practical solutions.
It is important to know that not every college offers an actual “event planning degree,” but no need to panic. Occasionally event planning education gets called different names or is grouped alongside parallel fields including Hospitality, Tourism and Hotel Management, as well as Event Marketing.
A hospitality degree would give you the food industry insight and management skills that put you at an advantage above other planners. For instance, a student majoring in Hospitality and Event Management is going to learn about the operations and management of facilities including stadiums, arenas, performing arts centers, convention centers, and smaller meeting facilities. It could also open other career doors too, including tour director, hotel concierge, or even casino and gaming supervisor.
Tourism, Conventions and Event Management
A Tourism, Conventions and Event Management Degree is another grouping that hones in on preparing students for work on cruise ships, or in convention centers, restaurants and resorts. Typically this type of program combines classroom instruction with on the job training to help move students into supervisory and mid-management positions.
Hotel & Resort Management
Hotel & Resort Management degree programs cover both business and management concepts, in addition to issues related specifically to tourism and accommodations. There is ample crossover of duties performed by hotel managers, restaurant managers and event planners, let alone daily interaction among the three.
Event Marketing is another related area of study which focuses on developing marketing plans for various venues and events, including sponsorship acquisition. In order to be a good promoter (whether of yourself or your event), you must know marketing. This type of coursework allows for learning of marketing plans, strategies, industry trends, advertising and public relations – all of which are keys to success for both your event and your own business.
Having a degree is not a requirement to become a great event planner, but truth is that it helps prepare you for what’s ahead and it sets you apart from other candidates that may be vying for the same gig or job.