Are you the person that your friends turn to when they want to throw a party? Are you the friend the bride-to-be calls when she first starts planning her wedding? You obviously are good at party (or event) planning, or your friends wouldn’t rely on you so much. Plus, you likely enjoy this role since you keep agreeing to help. Have you ever thought about using this skill to craft a career?
Event planners are responsible for organizing and executing all aspects of an event, from venue selection and catering to entertainment and decorations. Whether you’re a creative person who loves to design and decorate or an organizational whiz who thrives on logistics, there are plenty of exciting career paths in event planning that may be an excellent fit for you.
1. EVENT PLANNER
Event planners handle all types of events, including conventions, trade shows, concerts, fundraisers, and civic events. More recently, event planners have adapted to managing and personalizing virtual events. They may work for a specific venue, like a convention center or hotel; a government agency, like a convention and visitors bureau; or an organization planning corporate events. The minimum education required for an event planner is a bachelor’s degree. Although it’s helpful to have a degree in event planning, it’s not necessary in most cases.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), event planning is a growing profession. Currently, there are approximately 138,600 event planners in the United States. That number is expected to grow eight percent by the end of 2029, a faster than average rate of growth.
The BLS also reports that professional event planners make a median annual salary of $49,470 as of May 2021. However, that varies quite a bit depending on the type of business or organization you work for, your experience in the job and the region of the country where you work.
2. VENUE MANAGER
Unlike an event planner, a venue manager handles events for a specific venue, such as a concert hall, a convention center, or a hotel. Their job is to oversee a variety of events that happen in that venue. In many cases, the venue manager is also responsible for hiring and managing the event staff as well as the financial accounting for events.
Venue managers typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree along with good communication, time management, logistics, and organizational skills.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average annual base pay for a venue manager in the United States is $55,756 as of June 2023.
3. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGER
The role of a customer experience manager is one you may not have heard of. However, it’s a growing career path in the United States and beyond. A customer experience manager is responsible for making sure that customers feel valued, increasing brand loyalty. This may involve adding more interactive displays in stores, hosting more events, utilizing social media or developing apps and loyalty programs.
A customer experience manager needs to have above-average technology skills as well as good communication and management skills. A bachelor’s degree is required for this type of career, and a degree in event planning can be helpful.
According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for a customer experience manager in the United States is $111,482 as of June 2023.
4. WEDDING PLANNER
A wedding planner helps engaged couples create the wedding of their dreams. Wedding planners might work for a hotel, a resort or a destination, or they might work for a bridal store. Many wedding planners also choose to run their own businesses.
Job responsibilities for wedding planners can include handling food service, music, flowers, and other details of a typical wedding. If the wedding is to be outside of the bride and groom’s home city, the wedding planner may also be charged with handling travel arrangements for the bridal party and attendees, as well as securing an officiant or minister to officiate at the ceremony.
Educational requirements for wedding planners are laxer than those for event planners, as the field is still growing and developing. However, a degree in event planning or certification in hospitality can give you a leg up and help you break into the field.
The average annual base pay for a wedding planner as of June 2023 in the United States is $47,514 according to Glassdoor.com.
5. CATERING MANAGER
A catering manager handles the food and beverages for events. As a catering manager, you could work for a hotel, a specific venue, or a restaurant. Catering managers generally supervise the wait staff for the event and act as a liaison between the guests and the staff. They also secure vendors for food, beverages, and tabletop items.
Catering managers are required to have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, greater opportunities are open to those with at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in food service or event management.
According to the BLS, catering managers make a median annual salary of $59,440 (2021). However, like salaries for the other jobs we’ve discussed, the salary for a catering manager can vary quite a bit based on location, company, experience, and job responsibilities.
6. VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
A volunteer coordinator is a type of event management position that handles the recruiting and management of volunteer workers. Volunteer coordinators might work for a venue like a concert hall or for an organization such as a charity that runs a lot of public fundraising events. They might even work for a prominent golf course that hosts several large events a year, including championship tournaments.
These professionals make sure that the volunteers know what their jobs are and have the proper uniforms and tools to perform them. Volunteer coordinators also handle the scheduling for volunteers.
Educational requirements for volunteer coordinators vary by employer. However, a degree in event management can be beneficial and offer you an advantage over applicants without four-year degrees. Strong organizational, logistics and communication skills are a must for this position. According to the BLS, the number of volunteer coordinator positions in the US is growing faster than average. Payscale.com reports that the average annual salary for a volunteer coordinator is $39,730.
7. SPECIAL EVENTS MANAGER
A special events manager works for an attraction or company and coordinates and markets special events. For example, you might work for a zoo or museum and handle the site’s special events calendar. A special events manager might also work for a retailer or a company. For example, you might work for a bookstore and handle things like book signings, author talks, and special VIP sales. Or you might work in corporate event planning coordinating business meetings or organizing other events like product launches.
A bachelor’s degree, ideally in event management, is required for a career as a special events manager. Experience in event planning and in management is also helpful. As with the other event management careers we’ve profiled, good time management, public relations and communication skills are a must.
According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a special events manager is $53,524 (2023). Again, as with the other positions, this number can vary dramatically depending on a number of factors, including location and who will employ your services.
8. SPONSORSHIP MANAGER
A sponsorship manager is tasked with getting companies to help foot the bill for sporting events, fundraisers, and other big events. Job responsibilities of a sponsorship manager include soliciting sponsors, negotiating sponsorship packages, and acting as a liaison between the sponsors and the company or organization hosting the event.
A sponsorship manager needs to have good sales and marketing skills as well as good organizational and communications skills. A bachelor’s degree, ideally in event management, is required.
According to Glassdoor, the annual average base pay for a sponsorship manager in the United States is $76,332. The exact number will depend on your experience and the organization or company you work for.
If you’re interested in an event management career or other careers in the events industry, start it right by earning your bachelor’s degree in Sports, Entertainment, Event – Management or your MBA in Event Leadership from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected]