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Event Planner Career – 2024 Complete Guide on Duties & Salaries

This overview provides valuable insights into an Event Planner’s role, covering responsibilities, salary, career progression and frequently asked questions.

What Is an Event Planner?

An Event Planner is a professional skilled in organizing events of all sizes and types. Their work encompasses selecting venues, coordinating with vendors, managing budgets and ensuring that events run smoothly from start to finish.

Event Planners are responsible for understanding their clients’ vision and requirements for an event, and then bringing that vision to life.

Are Event Planner salaries keeping up with living costs in your area?

What Does an Event Planner Do?

An Event Planner’s day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Consulting with clients to understand their event vision, goals and preferences
  • Developing comprehensive event proposals, including objectives, detailed timelines, budgets and design concepts
  • Researching and selecting appropriate venues, vendors and suppliers to bring the event vision to life
  • Negotiating contracts, pricing and terms with vendors to ensure alignment with the event budget and objectives
  • Collaborating with clients and stakeholders to refine event plans and address any concerns or adjustments
  • Managing the overall event planning process, including scheduling meetings, coordinating logistics and tracking progress
  • Providing guidance and recommendations to clients on event-related decisions, such as catering options, entertainment choices and decor themes
  • Overseeing event setup, decor and visual elements to ensure consistency with the established theme and vision
  • Communicating effectively with all involved parties, including clients, vendors and event staff, to ensure a seamless execution
  • Conducting post-event evaluations and debriefings to assess event success, gather feedback and identify areas for improvement in future events

Event Planner Salary in the US

The average base salary for an Event Planner in the United States is $62,280 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

New York pays Event Planners the most, with an average base salary of $83,160, while West Virginia pays the least, with an average base salary of $39,840.

Our map below shows the varying compensation levels for Event Planner roles across the U.S.

[Source: BLS]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

Salary ranges for Event Planners vary depending on the type of industry they’re working in, years of experience and cost of living.

Salaries also differ depending on location and demand.

Among these four major U.S. cities, New York City offers the highest pay for Event Planners followed by Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.

Miami

Annual mean wage

$69,240

# of employees

2,100

New York City

Annual mean wage

$87,310

# of employees

9,400

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$65,060

# of employees

4,240

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$67,360

# of employees

5,880

[Source: BLS]

New York City’s status as the financial capital of the world means that its numerous financial firms often host elaborate corporate events such as conferences, networking events and seminars. The high demand for Event Planners capable of organizing such events naturally leads to higher pay rates.

What Is the Workplace of an Event Planner Like?

Event Planners work in a variety of settings, from event planning firms and hotels to corporate settings or as independent contractors.

Their work requires on-site presence during events. However, when it comes to the planning process, their work arrangements vary — some work from the office while others work remotely.

Event Planners often work under tight deadlines and may manage multiple events simultaneously, requiring strong organizational skills and flexibility.

Their job might involve travel to event locations, inspections and meetings with clients or vendors.

Work hours can include evenings, weekends and holidays, depending on the timing of events.

Should establishments provide bonuses or shared profits with employees?

Event Planner Industry Trends in 2024

The employment opportunity for Event Planners is growing. From 2022 to 2032, job opportunities for Event Planners are expected to increase by 8%, exceeding the average growth rate of 3% for other occupations.

According to BLS, this growth translates to approximately 15,200 job openings annually over the next decade.

Event Planner Job Growth vs Other Roles

[Source: BLS]

This graph is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the graph to see detailed data. 

The majority of these openings are due to the need to replace Event Planners who have switched careers or have retired.

States that offer significant employment opportunities for Event Planners include California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

Meanwhile, states that offer the highest compensation for this role include New York, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Which Event Planner Jobs Pay the Most?

Corporate Event Planners and Fundraising/Non-Profit Event Planners typically command higher salaries compared to the general Event Planner position due to the nature of the events they organize, the expertise required to ensure the event’s success and the high-profile clients with whom they collaborate.

Corporate events often attract large crowds, amplifying the scale of planning and logistics required, which includes selecting a venue, coordinating with vendors and arranging transportation for attendees. These complexities contribute to why Corporate Event Planners typically earn higher salaries compared to those organizing smaller social events.

Meanwhile, fundraising/non-profit events often involve compliance with legal and regulatory requirements such as financial reporting and tax obligations. This, in addition to the pressure to achieve fundraising targets, justifies the higher compensation for Fundraising/Non-Profit Event Planners.

[Data collected from BLS and calculated using data from Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter and Salary.com]

This graph is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the graph to see detailed data. 

How To Become an Event Planner

There are plenty of steps you can take to start your career as an Event Planner, including obtaining a college degree, gaining hands-on experience through internships or volunteering and networking with industry professionals.

Consider following the steps outlined below to launch your career in the event planning industry.

Education and Experience Requirements for Event Planners

Becoming an Event Planner starts with learning the tricks of the trade through formal education at a reputable school.

Having a Bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, communication or business administration can make it easier for you to enter the field.

Your degree can provide you with project management skills, expertise in marketing and promotions and financial management knowledge, all of which are essential for success in this role.

In terms of experience, employers prefer individuals who have practical experience in the industry. Consider applying for an internship at an event planning company or volunteering for organizations that manage well-attended events.

This can significantly enhance your CV or resume by providing foundational skills and hands-on experience. Take advantage of these opportunities to both learn and network, as building connections can lead to new opportunities and career advancement.

How To Become an Event Planner With No Experience

You can start your career confidently in event planning even without prior experience by following these tips.

Build connections: As with any occupation, networking is important when starting without prior experience. Look into industry events, join professional groups and connect with successful Event Planners on platforms such as LinkedIn. These connections provide potential job opportunities.

Enhance your skills: Attend training programs, workshops or online courses that focus on event planning skills and principles. This will help you develop essential skills such as budgeting, vendor negotiation and problem-solving.

Top Skills of the Best Event Planner

The best Event Planners possess excellent communication, time management, organization, problem-solving and budgeting skills.

  • Organization: Event Planners depend on organizational skills to coordinate events, from initial planning to post-event analysis. They make use of tools such as project management software to streamline communication, track tasks and manage resources efficiently.
  • Communication: The best Event Planners have excellent communication skills that enable them to convey information, articulate ideas and establish rapport with clients, vendors, team members and other stakeholders. These communication skills encompass various aspects such as verbal communication, active listening and written communication.
  • Time management: Effective time management is important for Event Planners to meet deadlines, manage multiple tasks and adapt to change efficiently. To enhance time management skills, individuals can set goals, prioritize tasks and regularly evaluate their processes to achieve optimal efficiency.
  • Problem-solving: Effective problem-solving skills are essential for Event Planners to address unexpected challenges. By checking for potential issues, creating backup plans and communicating with vendors and team members, Event Planners can ensure seamless event execution.
  • Budgeting: Budgeting skills refer to the ability to plan, allocate and manage financial resources within a specified budget. To enhance your budgeting skills, consider seeking mentorship on techniques and best practices from industry experts by attending workshops, seminars or conferences specifically focused on event budgeting and financial management.

Event Planner Training Programs and Schools To Consider

Many universities in the U.S. offer tailored programs for individuals aspiring to enhance their skills and knowledge in event planning.

Some distinguished institutions offering education in event planning include:

  • University of Central Florida (UCF): UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management offers a Bachelor’s degree in Event Management and a Master of Science degree in Event Leadership.
  • George Washington University (GWU): GWU offers a self-paced professional certificate program that prepares Event Planners to design, plan and execute successful events
  • Temple University (TU): Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management offers a Bachelor’s degree in Event and Entertainment Management, imparting both theoretical and practical knowledge, skills and tools to become industry leaders.

Here are additional certification programs you should consider to elevate your credentials and learn specialized skills.

Certification Organization Description
Certified Meeting Professional Events Industry Council Aims to validate Event Planners’ expertise in event planning, execution and management
Certified Special Events Professional International Live Events Association Acknowledges event professionals who have shown they possess the necessary knowledge, skills and ability to handle all aspects of an event
Certified Professional in Catering & Events National Association for Catering & Events Focuses on event production, sales and operations

Event Planner Career Progression

Experienced Event Planners may advance into roles with greater responsibilities or specialize in certain types of events.

Event Planner
Senior Event Planner
Avg Salary $ 69,000
Event Manager
Avg Salary $ 79,000
Director of Events
Avg Salary $ 80,000
Independent Event Planning Consultant
Avg Salary $ 100,000
Luxury Event Coordinator
Avg Salary $ 65,000
Luxury Event Planner
Avg Salary $ 76,000
Luxury Event Manager
Avg Salary $ 90,000
Luxury Event Director
Avg Salary $ 110,000

Event Planner Career FAQs

To understand how an Event Planner, an Event Coordinator and an Event Manager work together, it’s essential to understand their respective roles first.

An Event Planner typically focuses on the strategic aspects of the event, such as theme development, budgeting and marketing.

On the other hand, an Event Coordinator specializes in the logistical details of the event, such as coordinating vendors, suppliers and services.

Meanwhile, an Event Manager oversees the overall execution of the event.

Event Planners usually provide instructions and guidance to Event Coordinators as part of the planning process. They work together to ensure that all logistical aspects of the event are arranged according to plan.

While Event Planners and Event Coordinators are involved in the planning and preparation leading up to the event, the Event Manager’s primary responsibility is to oversee the execution of the event on the day-of.

Event Planners face tight deadlines and unexpected challenges as part of their role in executing successful events. To handle these situations effectively, they employ several strategies.

Firstly, they prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, ensuring that critical aspects of the event are addressed promptly. This prioritization allows them to allocate time and resources efficiently.

Flexibility is another key attribute that Event Planners utilize when facing tight deadlines and unexpected challenges. They understand that plans may need to adapt and change in response to evolving circumstances.

Effective problem-solving is a fundamental skill that Event Planners employ to overcome challenges and meet deadlines. When confronted with obstacles, such as vendor cancellations or logistical issues, Event Planners approach the situation methodically, analyzing the problem, identifying potential solutions and implementing the most viable course of action.

Event Planners use various metrics and criteria to assess the success of their events:

  • Attaining attendee satisfaction: One of the primary indicators is attendee satisfaction, which is gauged through post-event surveys, feedback forms and direct interactions with participants.
  • Achieving event objectives: These objectives may include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, fostering networking opportunities or raising funds for a cause. Event Planners assess the extent to which these objectives were met by comparing actual outcomes with predetermined goals and benchmarks.
  • Staying within budget: Staying within budget is a fundamental aspect of event planning, and adherence to financial constraints indicates successful event management.
  • Meeting deadlines: Meeting deadlines is essential for ensuring the smooth execution of events and is therefore considered a key measure of success. Timely completion of tasks, such as securing vendors, finalizing logistics and coordinating event logistics, reflects the planner’s organizational skills and contributes to the overall success of the event.
  • Gaining positive feedback from clients: Positive testimonials, recommendations and referrals from clients, sponsors, attendees and other stakeholders serve as validation of the Event Planner’s efforts and contribute to their reputation and future success in the industry.

Event Planners can stay updated about industry trends by attending conferences, subscribing to publications, and engaging in online forums. These platforms provide valuable opportunities for networking, learning and sharing insights with peers and experts in the field.

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