Jobs in event planning can be highly coveted, but the industry in general is suited to both professionals who appreciate the consistency of corporate life as well as the driven entrepreneur. In fact, there are over 95,000 event planners in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional Report and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number only continues to grow as the meeting and events industry is projected to expand faster than the overall economy.
Event Planning Professional Demographics and Statistics
Those directly involved in planning events generally fall into one of three main groups:
- Occasional Planners (73%)
- Event Planners (26%), who usually hold this or a related title
- Strategic Event Professionals (1%), who have strategic oversight of events
Most meeting, convention, and event planners, as they are called by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hold a bachelor's degree. Previously those degrees were primarily in communications and public relations, but today the field's educational background is much more diverse. Though some schools offer event or meeting management degrees, most event planners hold a degree in any number of related and arguably unrelated fields as the most important factor in landing jobs in event planning is generally real-world experience.
While some go on to obtain professional certifications like the Certified Wedding Planner designation, most learn the skills necessary on-the-job. Many event planners also join professional associations like the Event Planners Association (more commonly known in the industry as the EPA), but many more go on to have successful corporate or self-employed careers without professional affiliations and memberships. But perhaps the most important trend for current and future professional event planners is the projected job and industry growth.
Meeting and Event Planning Industry Trends
For those who want to pursue an event planning career, there’s even more good news: the job outlook reflects growth faster than average. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the event planning jobs will grow upwards of 33 percent between today and 2022, a number significantly higher than the 11 percent average growth rate for all occupations. As the industry continues to grow so do job opportunities and event planning salaries. While the numbers appear to be on future event planners' sides, breaking into the industry is a whole other obstacle.
Event Planning Job Search Resources
Amidst the ample opportunity, successfully breaking into the meeting and events industry requires some knowledge of the opportunities available. Not only do professional event planners themselves come from all walks of life, but jobs in event planning can be just as diverse. There are event planning jobs in different industries from non-profit to corporate event planning. There are also different fields of event planning from weddings to professional conferences, all of which can carry their own titles and job responsibilities.
For those who are interested in pursuing new opportunities or just to explore the basic responsibilities and qualifications are expected, check out these listings of event planning jobs by industry and by job title. Using online resources like Indeed.com and other job boards is an excellent way to both learn more and to source jobs in the field.
Event Planning Job Search by Type of Employer
When it comes to landing an event planning job, you will find that there are many different types of employers and industries that offer great opportunities. You may have an area that you are particularly interested in or are passionate about, or you may decide to cast a wide net at first to get your bearings. Look for current event planning job listings in an association, corporate, government, and non-profits.
Event Planning Job Search by Common Titles
Just as there are many industries that offer opportunities for professional event planners, there are also many different titles for the professionals who are involved in planning events. Some titles are common to a certain type of employer or industry, while others represent an area of specialization or a specific role.
- Meeting Planner/Meeting Manager
- Meeting Coordinator/Meeting Assistant
- Meeting Director
- Event Planner/Event Manager
- Event Coordinator/Event Assistant
- Event Director
- Event Operations
- Marketing Event Manager
- Marketing Event Specialist
- Communications Specialist (Events)
- Foundation Program Manager
- Special Events (General)
- Conference Services (General)
- Catering Manager
- Convention & Visitors Bureau (General)
The Event Planning Job Search Bottom Line
If you are looking to break into the event planning industry, there are several routes you can take to land your dream job. Your first step should be to get to know the industry and job market. Only then should you try to find a match for both your skillset and your interests.