As an event manager, you will be responsible for handling all of the aspects of many types of meetings. This type of marketing and public relations work generally occurs in these three types:
- Meeting planning: Planning large meetings for public and private organizations.
- Convention planning: Planning large conferences and conventions for various organizations. Professionals may work for the organization itself, or may work as a convention service manager for a hotel or convention center.
- Event planning: Arrange the many details of various small and large events. Wedding planners are the best known, but they also work to coordinate reunions, anniversaries and large social events.
What Is Event Management?
Meeting and event management is responsible for planning and coordinating all logistical aspects of various professional meetings, including meeting locations, transportation and countless details of these large events. Common duties of these professionals include:
- Meeting with clients to understand what the purpose of the event is
- Plan scope of the meeting, such as location, cost and time
- Get bids from service providers and different venues
- Inspect the venue to determine that it will meet the requirement of the company
- Coordinate various event services – rooms, food service and transportation
- Review bills from the event and approve payments
Event managers are responsible for organizing many different events, such as educational conferences, corporate meetings, weddings and more.
As the US economy is getting on firmer footing 10 years after the last downturn, more companies are spending money again on corporate events and meetings. That is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics states the employment of meeting, convention and event planners will rise by 11% by 2026, which is faster than average. Demand for events and meetings is expected to rise as the US economy is generally improving.
Even though technology allows companies to conduct more of their communications and meetings remotely, many organizations continue to meet in person on an annual or quarterly basis. This fact will continue to drive the meeting and event business.
Meeting, convention and event planners held 116,000 jobs in 2016, according to BLS. The biggest employers in this field are:
- Religious, grantmaking, civic and professional organizations: 19%
- Accomodation and food services: 12%
- Arts, entertainment and recreation: 12%
- Administrative and support services: 10%
- Self employed workers: 9%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for meeting, convention and event planners was $48,200 in 2017. The lowest 10% with the least experience and bachelor’s degrees earned approximately $26,300, while those with the most education and experience earned $82,900 per year.
Median wages in various industries for this profession were:
- Administrative and support services: $50,700
- Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional organizations: $49,900
- Accomodation and food services: $44,900
- Arts, entertainment and recreation: $41,200
Salary.com reports the median salary for meeting and event planners is $61,300.
US News and World Report states the best paying cities for these professionals are:
- San Francisco: $70,300
- Bridgeport CT: $70,070
- Newark NJ: $68,700
- New York City: $68,000
- Dallas: $67,600
Best paying states for meeting and event planners are:
- District of Columbia: $69,900
- New York: $64,300
- Connecticut: $62,200
- New Jersey: $61,800
- Massachusetts: $60,300
The event planning field offers a variety of job opportunities. Meeting Professional International, which is one of the leading associations in the business, states there are five basic categories of event planning employers.
- Corporate events: Large companies hire event planners to oversee financial management of the event and general logistics. Some of the biggest names in corporate events are South by Southwest (SXSW) and Apple’s Developers Conference.
- Associations: These organizations also hire many event planners to oversee their events. Some of the largest employers are United Way, Feeding America and TED.
- Government: All types of public and government institutions employ event planners, including local, state and federal government agencies. Also, consider event planning at big universities such as Ohio State University and Arizona State University.
- Suppliers: These are the organizations that sell services and products to event planners and the companies they work for. Some of the employers to consider are Marriott, Seattle Art Museum and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and the many organizations that supply them.
- Eventing planning firms: These are third party companies that are hired to assist companies with planning their events. Some of the biggest event planning companies are BCD Meetings, Maritz Travel, Conway Amling, EMRG Events and Grapevine Events.
One of the most popular degrees to earn is a bachelor of science in event management, which will give you the basic skills and knowledge to work in various types of event and meeting management companies. Students typically gain knowledge in planning, budgeting, implementing conferences, meetings and other types of special events in both the public and private sectors. Most bachelor’s programs will require you to complete an internship working in the field of event and meeting planning.
For students who want to rise to the top of the event and meeting management field, earning a master’s degree in event management may be a good choice. Many of the master’s degrees offered online in this field focus on international meeting and event management, and are offered by overseas universities. Some of the programs require you to study a foreign language as part of your program, such as Spanish or French. The international meeting and event management field is a growing one, so earning your master’s can put you in a good position for moving into the international arena in this field.
Common admission requirements for a master’s degree in event management include:
- 5 GPA or higher
- Three personal or academic recommendations
- GMAT or GRE scores may be required, unless you have enough work experience to qualify for a waiver
Each university and program will set its own curriculum for its event management degree. At Iowa State University, the bachelor’s degree curriculum for this major includes these courses:
- Introduction to Event Management
- Conference and Meeting Planning
- Special Events Coordination
- Principles of Management in Human Sciences
- Hospitality and Apparel Marketing Strategies
- Principles of Marketing
- Aesthetics of Consumer Experience
- Entrepreneurship in Human Sciences
- Hospitality Information Technology
To obtain financial assistance for your education in event management, consider applying for these grants and scholarships:
- Hungry To Lead Scholarship: $2500
- Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students: $3000
- IFA Foundation Scholarship: $2000
- Joe Perdue Scholarship: $2500
- American Express Scholarship: $2000
- Letitia B. Carter Scholarship: $2000
- CRAEF Scholarship Program: Varies
- Catching the Dream Program: Varies
To enhance your career potential, consider earning your Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) certification. This coveted designation recognizes accomplished event planners who have shown the skills, knowledge and ability that are needed to perform the necessary components of special events.
Professionals who want to work in event planning may consider joining the following associations. These organizations can be helpful for becoming more educated about how to plan successful events, as well as increasing your networking connections:
- Wedding International Professionals Association
- National Association for Catering and Events
- Meeting Professionals International
- Association of Collegiate Conference and Event Directors
- International Live Events Association
- Academic Event Professional
- Corporate Event Marketing Association
- International Association of Exhibitions and Events
The need for event and meeting managers is rising as the US economy is growing strongly. Earning your degree in event management will help you to get your choice of jobs in this growing and lucrative profession.
- Meeting, Convention and Event Planners. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm#tab-6
- Meeting, Convention and Event Planner. (2017). Retrieved from https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/meeting-convention-and-event-planner/salary
- Iowa State University Event Management Degree. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://catalog.iastate.edu/collegeofhumansciences/eventmanagement/