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HomeCareers ‣ Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Meeting and Event Planners

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Career Overview

Think of any event, convention, or conference you've been to. Now think about the person who made it all happen. Long before you even knew about the event, that person was already planning for the number of attendees, choosing the venue, booking entertainment, and sorting through every other detail. But their job doesn't end with planning. During the event, they're constantly working to make sure the whole thing runs smoothly and the attendees are taken care of.Needless to say, meeting, convention, and event planners have about as many duties as there are words in the job title. It's a lot like planning a party, except much more important and usually on a larger scale. In addition to all the usual stuff, you also have to think about guest services, wheelchair accessibility, interpreters, vegetarian food options, and any other accommodations you might need. If this sounds good to you, then you're in luck. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment to rise a full 33% from 2012 through 2022, much faster than average. How's that for a career plan?

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$48,290
102,420
10.2 %
California
$51,100
13,910
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations, Communications, Business, or a related field Prior experience related to event planning

Meeting, convention, and event planners require at least a bachelor's degree for most entry-level positions. Since there isn't a specific major or degree centered on event planning, most planners hold degrees in marketing, public relations, communications, or business.Though it is nice being able to choose from a wide variety of relevant majors, more and more employers are looking for people with planning experience. A strong, education background is important, but so is previous work experience.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Problem-Solving Skills
Communication Skills
Time-Management Skills

Opportunites in Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

As you might have guessed, meeting, convention, and event planning covers a pretty broad range of events. It could be something as small as business meetings for 9 people, to large corporate conventions for more than 1,000 attendees. Of course, every role has its ups and downs, so it's up to you to choose one that fits you best.

Event planners

Event planners organize weddings, debutante balls, and other large parties. While these events are slightly smaller in scale and require less planning, event planners usually take on clients more frequently. You might even find yourself juggling a few events at the same time.

Convention Service Managers

Convention service managers are usually employed by hotels and convention centers, and act as the go-between for the venue and the planner organizing the event. They provide food options, special requests, and other services to their clients.

Government Meeting Planners

As a government meeting planner, you would organize meetings for both government officials and respective agencies. The workload depends mostly on the size and importance of the meeting, but knowing government regulations and procedures is also a big part of the job.

Work Environment

Meeting, convention, and event planners mostly work full time in an office, but often have to work longer hours and sometimes on the weekends. There's also quite a bit of travel involved, since the planner must attend and oversee each event.You could choose to run your own, independent planning service, but most work for a private company. Self-employed planners only made up about 1/6 of the 94,200 jobs in 2012, according to the BLS.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013