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What is the Job Outlook of an Event Planner?

The best events, whether a conference for hundreds of officials or an intimate wedding reception for 30 guests, have one thing in common: planning. Many paths lead to a career as an event planner--some planning professionals start in a related field, such as catering, while others build on experience organizing small-scale events. Successful planners have, above all else, a solid reputation for putting together an unforgettable gathering.

Significance

Joe Goldblatt, founder of the International Special Events Society, tells Entrepreneur.com that global spending for special events comes to $500 billion annually. The article goes on to identify two main markets for planners: In addition to social gatherings such as weddings and anniversaries, corporate events requiring professional coordination include face-to-face meetings, training and conferences for an otherwise scattered workforce.

Responsibilities

A juggling act requiring stellar communication and attention to detail, event planning turns an idea on paper into a gathering of content people. A planner works with the client to determine the location, furnishings, entertainment, refreshments and event-specific logistics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Depending on the size and scope of the event, the planner may help the client with logistics from hotel reservations to food-safety rules for on-site catering. The planner works within budget parameters, negotiating prices and dealing with vendors, to produce an event the client envisions. (And that any glitches stay hidden from those in attendance.)

Working Conditions

Planners work long hours, particularly in the days leading up to an event, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, and heavy lifting or furniture moving isn't uncommon. Event planners may travel extensively, but regardless of an event's location, they typically spend hours discussing client concerns by phone, email and in person. The rewards--in addition to satisfaction from the flawless execution of long-planned party or meeting--include the possibility to visit exotic locales and meet people from varied cultures.

Education

Most event-planning jobs require a bachelor's degree, the labor bureau reports, due to increasing complexity of the responsibilities. Event planners typically develop expertise in budgeting and time-management on the job, although some workers pursue courses or even a master's degree in meetings management.

Certifications

Some planners choose to become a certified meeting planner through the International Special Events Society or a certified special events professional via Meeting Professionals International. Other organizations granting certifications to meeting and event planners include the Convention Industry Council and the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, both of which offer credentials to people working in the field for a certain amount of time. Such certifications typically require coursework, followed by an exam.

Salary & Outlook

The labor bureau lists the 2008 median wage for meeting and convention planners as about $44,000 per year. Management, scientific and technical consulting services pay the most, at nearly $50,000, while the lowest-paid planners work in travel-focused venues, earning about $41,000 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects "faster than average" job growth for event planners, predicting a 16 percent increase between 2008 and 2018.



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