Event Planners


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in entering the field of event planning, you should take high school classes in business, English, and speech. Because many conferences and meetings are international in scope, you may also want to take foreign language and geography courses. In addition, computer science classes will be beneficial.

Postsecondary Training

Many coordinators and planners must have a four-year college degree to work for a company, corporation, convention, or travel center, but a degree is not always required. Some institutions offer bachelor's degrees in meeting planning; however, degrees in business, English, communications, marketing, public relations, sales, or hotel or hospitality management would also be a good fit for a career as a meetings manager, convention planner, or special event coordinator. Many directors and planners who become company heads have earned graduate degrees. Those who do not have a degree will need one to two years of related experience, such as in wedding planning or catering.

Some small firms, convention centers, or exhibit facilities may accept persons with associate's degrees or travel industry certification for certain planning positions. Party planners may not always need education beyond high school, but advancement opportunities will be more plentiful with additional education.


Meeting Professionals International offers short-term certificate programs in meeting management, healthcare meeting compliance, event design, meeting fundamentals, and other areas. Contact the association for more information. 

Other Education and Training

Keeping up with industry trends is key to being a successful event planner, and many associations require the completion of continuing education (CE) credits as a condition of re-certification. Most event planning associations provide some form of CE, such as webinars, conference workshops, and seminars. For example, Meeting Professionals International offers webinars and educational sessions at its conferences. Recent webinars included Financial Literacy for Meeting Professionals, Back to the Basics of Hotel Contracts, and Planning Meetings in the New Reality. The Events Industry Council, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, PCMA, Society of Government Meeting Professionals, and the Society of Independent Show Organizers also provide CE opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are some professional associations for planners that offer certification programs. For example, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events offers the certified in exhibition management and the certified in exhibition management advanced professional designations. The Events Industry Council offers the certified meeting professional and certified meeting professional-health care designations. The Society of Government Meeting Professionals offers the certified government meeting professional designation.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Internships, volunteering, and part-time jobs in event planning or at hotels will provide useful experience for aspiring event planners.

To be an event planner, you must have excellent organizational skills, the ability to plan projects and events, and the ability to think creatively. You must be able to work well with people and anticipate their needs in advance. You should be willing to pitch in to get a job done even though it may not be part of your duties. In a situation where there is an unforeseen crisis, you need to react quickly and professionally. Planners should have good negotiating, problem-solving, and communication skills and be assertive but tactful.