While you don’t need a formal degree to become an event planner, you need to possess specific skills and experience. Getting the right degree can provide you with the background that you need to launch a promising career as an event planner. Earning a degree that prepares you for this industry can also open the door to opportunities that you may not have otherwise.
In-Demand Skills for an Event Planner
You may be surprised by the wide range of skills that are necessary to become an event planner. Depending on the type of event planning that you do or clients that you work for, some skills may be preferable to others.
Event planning is like a moving puzzle. You have to be able to see the big picture as well as the pieces that make it up. You’ll need to manage this large project, which involves setting goals and priorities, delegating tasks and meeting deadlines.
If you run your own business, you need to promote yourself. Even if you work for someone else, however, you need a comprehensive understanding of marketing. Many events, such as conferences and fundraisers, are dedicated marketing events. No matter what type of event you’re responsible for planning, you will need to sell tickets or get people in the door.
Creative and Design Skills
The sector that you work for guides the skills that you need. Although creativity brings flexibility and innovation to any work that you do, you’ll likely draw on artistic and design skills in certain environments. If you work for yourself, you may be required to produce graphic materials on your own. When you work for a corporation, you might have to work closely with the design department.
Event planning is a dynamic business that requires you to interact with many types of people, including clients, high-level executives and vendors. You must be able to use clear, effective communication in diverse environments to achieve your objectives.
You need excellent organizational skills to work in this industry. Any degree program will give you a chance to practice this talent. The act of managing your class schedule while maintaining your work, family, personal and social obligations lets you develop systems and processes to be productive and successful.
What’s the Best Degree for an Event Planner?
The proficiencies that you develop in many degree programs are transferrable to this type of job. However, certain paths will broaden your experience and opportunities. Your resume may stand out to an agency if it shows that you have concrete experience with the skills above. Freelance event planners may look more reputable to clients when they have one of the following degrees under their belt.
As an event planner, you’ll likely have to manage people, projects and work flows. You’ll also need to understand budgeting and financial concepts to produce an event that is lucrative for everyone involved. Some of the other responsibilities that a business degree can help with include contract negotiation, equipment organization and sales.
A public relations degree combines principles from business, communications and marketing. Some of the skills that it fosters include written and verbal communication, information analysis, branding, creative expression and rhetoric. In many courses, such as public speaking, you’ll be required to demonstrate poise in high-pressure environments, which is a crucial skill for an event planner.
A communication degree is typically an interdisciplinary major that draws from subjects such as linguistics, marketing and journalism. You can take classes from creative writing to psychology. This area of study is an ideal way to enhance your interpersonal skills and verbal expression. You can often direct the path to focus on your area of interest, such as law, business, science and the arts.
An event planner should be adept at administrative tasks and customer service. You’ll focus on both of these subjects with a hospitality management degree. This degree also teaches business practices, such as understanding profit margins and using critical thinking. You’ll develop leadership and management skills in this academic program.
Do Event Planners Need any Certifications?
You don’t need any certifications to work as an event planner. However, the following certification options exist for members of this industry. In addition to a degree, a certification gives you credibility, ongoing educational opportunities and a chance to network.
Some of the most popular certifications for event planners include:
• Certified Special Events Professional, or CSEP
• Certified Meeting Professional, or CMP
• Certified Professional in Catering and Events, or CPCE
• Certified Government Meeting Professional
Should You Get a Degree for Event Planning?
Event planning is growing much faster than many other industries. It’s an ideal career to get into if you enjoy working with people, coordinating details and acting as a leader. There will always be a need for event planners in a wide variety of industries.
A degree can help you stand out from the competition when you’re establishing yourself as an event planner. It can also help you gain the confidence to perform successfully in this field. Plus, it sets you up with realistic expectations. Throwing yourself into the industry without a degree may be possible, but it can be daunting to learn from scratch as you go.
You could also pursue a secondary area of study if you want to focus on a specific area. For example, someone who wants to work in healthcare event planning may want to major in health management. An individual who wants to arrange art gallery openings would be better off with a fine art degree. Consider these areas of specifications if you decide to pursue a master’s degree.
If you’re still not sure about whether to pursue a degree in event planning, consider taking a free online course in event management to help you decide.