In-person meetings, conventions, and other events are highly valued by businesses, even as companies become increasingly reliant on online communication. In addition, the event planning field addresses the logistical requirements for weddings, art gallery openings, concerts, and other large gatherings.
Students in event planning certificate programs learn how to leverage their expert organizational skills to create and implement successful event plans. The goal is to ensure that the events or meetings go as planned. The event planner should remain invisible, as the focus of the meeting or event is on the attendees. It is also important that the planner's work is satisfactory to the client(s); successful events not only ensure repeat business from the same client, but may also lead to referrals and positive word-of-mouth for the planner. Aspiring professionals in this field learn all of the necessary competencies by enrolling in event planning certification programs online.
Event planning vocational certificate programs can be helpful for professionals who want to enter the industry but cannot invest in a bachelor’s degree program. Certificates in event planning can also help professionals sharpen their skills in a specific area of their job; other certificate programs, such as interior design or floral design, can also assist event planners in their careers.
It is important to note that, because the market for event planners is growing quickly, many clients seek professionals who have a bachelor’s degree in event planning as well as work experience in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the industry has become more competitive and the number of undergraduate degree holding event planning programs has grown. In order to be a viable job candidate in this field, individuals should have a degree in event planning; those who decide not to pursue further education after receiving a vocational certificate should expect to work for at least two years organizing small-scale gatherings before they are considered for high-profile events.
Those who enroll in a meeting and event planning certificate program online must to pay a nonrefundable $35 fee and complete an application form. Aside from paying tuition and other fees, students must demonstrate that they have gained knowledge by completing a final project or exam, per the program’s requirements. Most programs require students to complete within five years, and many mandate the student receive a GPA of at least 3.5 for each course.
Certificate programs in event and meeting planning are designed to teach students effective business practices for becoming successful professionals. Students take classes such as ‘Crafting an Effective Event,’ ‘Site Search, Inspection, and Selection,’ ‘Sustainable Practices – Greening Your Meetings and Events,’ ‘Event Design and Production,’ and ‘Financial Management of Meetings and Events.’
Both offline and online event planning certification programs give students a broad understanding of the trade, as well as opportunity to learn how to handle multiple tasks and remain organized and focused on each step as it relates to the purpose of the event. For instance, event planners should know how to prepare for the initial client meetings, discern their needs, negotiate prices, and estimate attendance for the event. Depending on the project, the planner will need to select a venue, set up audio/visual equipment for speakers, plan lodging and transportation, negotiate with suppliers, solve logistical problems as they arise, and design marketing materials. These professionals must maintain open communication with their client in order to ensure their needs are met while working within the set timeline and budget and remaining cognizant of fire codes, food safety, and waste management regulations.
What’s Next for Event Planning Certificate Holders?
Trained and certified event planners may decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree to be more competitive in the job market. Some graduates will seek assistive, entry-level occupations; others may decide to begin their careers by volunteering for nonprofit organization events or cultural events.
Once an event planner has established a successful business and has several years of experience, he or she may decide to obtain a certificate in event planning. Some may take the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) exam, administered by International Special Events Society (ISES), to become a certified event specialist. .
The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential, a certification for meeting and convention planners. Although the CMP is not required, it is widely recognized in the industry and may help professionals achieve further career advancement. The Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) is offered by Meeting Professionals International, and is touted as the most prestigious credential in the field. The CGMP Certification (CGMP) is given through the Society of Government Meeting Professionals for event planners whose work falls under regulation by the federal government.
BLS reports that the median salary for meeting, convention, and event planners was $46,490 in 2014. Employment growth between 2014 and 2024 for meeting, convention, and event planners is projected to reach 10% ― a higher percentage than the average for all occupations.