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Certification Courses in Event Planning and Management

If you want to pursue a career as an event planner, wedding planner, event management coordinator or other hospitality professional, you will need to take specialized event management courses at a training school or complete a professional event management degree program. Students who complete event planner courses and programs learn how to oversee conferences, weddings, and other special events, make arrangements for travel, and manage the publicity and marketing of an event.

Event planning programs provide students with classroom and hands-on training in the field, and a growing number of public and private universities now offer both event management certification and degree programs offline and online.

Types of Event Management Courses

Specialized event management courses may be part of a certification program or an event management degree. Most certification programs are available at the graduate level and require students to have completed at least a bachelor's degree in event management, public relations or a related field.

Some of the most common types of courses available for an event management certificate or event management degree program include:

  • Strategic Management

  • Event Finance Management and Budgeting

  • Venue Contracts

  • Event Concepts

  • Convention Sales

  • Catering and Banquet Management

  • Hospitality Marketing

Event planning programs and courses provide the basic skills and advanced knowledge needed to develop and oversee business and social events, select meeting sites, negotiate with vendors, manage contracts, handle all publicity and marketing activities, create budgets and select the right audio-visual aids for an event.

Types of Event Planning Programs

Event management colleges and schools provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills related to event management. Programs typically provide students with training in the following areas:

  • Best practices in event design and execution

  • Planning guidelines for successful events

  • Overview of the event and meeting industry

  • Planning and coordinating conventions, seminars, trade shows and other special events

  • Conducting effective event and meeting management research

  • Performing needs assessment surveys and situation analysis procedures

  • Meeting logistics

  • Completing an internship

Programs include degree programs at event management colleges, and certification that can be completed at event planning schools or online. Anyone interested in a career in creating meetings for the sports, tourism and hospitality or travel industry may be a good candidate for taking event planner classes. Many event planning skills are learned on the job.

Getting an Event Planner Certificate

Event management certification may be required by certain employers and event planning companies, and there are several ways to get an event planner certificate. Certification programs can complement a bachelor's degree in event marketing, business administration, or a degree in the field of tourism. Certificate programs typically include practical and hands-on courses for students who want to coordinate special events, tradeshows, sporting events, fundraising events and meetings. Students who are interested in completing an event planning certification program typically take the following types of courses:

  • Event Administration

  • Event Marketing

  • Event Coordination and Operations

  • Event Protocol

  • Event Entertainment and Production

  • Event Negotiations and Contracts

  • Event Design and D├ęcor

  • Event Risk Management

  • Social Event Management

  • Event Fundraising and Sponsorship

Some certification programs require students to put together a portfolio that demonstrates their ability to plan and execute a successful event, and provide documentation of the event they participated in. A practicum requirement may include supervised event observation and participation. The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credentials. This is a voluntary certification that is widely recognized in the industry.

Career Options with an Event Management Degree or Certificate

Individuals who successfully complete a degree or certificate program can explore a wide variety of career options and positions, including:

  • Wedding planner or wedding coordinator

  • Public relations representative

  • Sports manager

  • Event and field marketing manager

  • Nonprofit fundraising agent

  • Party planner

  • Business meeting and event planner

  • Tradeshow consultant

Most event planners work as consultants or specialists for an event management firm or company. Some graduates of event planning schools become entrepreneurs and offer their services independently.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of meeting and convention planners were $44,260 in May 2008. The majority of event planners work in the management, scientific and technical consulting service industries, as well as for business, professional, labor, political and similar organizations.

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Certification Courses in Event Planning and Management



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