How to Become An Event Planner

One of the most rewarding-sounding titles around is that of Event Planner many individuals who think of themselves as go-getters, organizers and hot company flames gravitate toward the idea.  Generally speaking, if its arranging a small party or gathering, such individuals acquit themselves well.  But anyone who wants to know how to become an event planner has to pursue certification. A certified event planner is always in demand and usually quite well-paid, but their services include many hours of planning, on-site creation, budgeting and facilitating; its far more of a challenge to create a professional social event for a corporation (or, if one is truly setting the sights high, a well-established theme park, cruise line, hotel or non-profit organization). 

If one really wants to know how to become an event planner, let alone a certified event planner, one should apply some creativity, since there are no nationally recognized organizations that certify event planners at any level.  However, the research overwhelmingly shows that such venues as Disneyland, Royal Caribbean, H & R Block and numerous other corporations use only event planners with training and education, and the certification program for event planners provides that. 

There are several kinds of event planners, all of whom need the utmost expertise in creating a social event.  For just any kind of event, certification is probably not necessary, birthday parties and celebrations being the low-maintenance affairs that they are.  Certification becomes necessary when the fledgling planner decides to develop a specific expertise in, say, high-end weddings, sporting events or conventions for large corporations.

It begins for the trainee with a willingness to travel: one should learn all about event planning and know the specifics of money and time invested.   One should do as much traveling to events as the pocketbook allows, in order to see how they are planned and run, and get as much feedback as possible from professionals who attend these individuals are usually happy to talk about the pros and cons of the field. 

One should be willing to visit, and (if one is fortunate enough to get an event-planning mentor) help to facilitate everything imaginable as an event, including fashion shows, corporate sponsored events, diplomatic gatherings, fund raisers and openings, product launches, commemorations and celebrity parties.  One should, in such an internship, be learning every possible way to organize any type of gathering.

In between trips, one should research methods to propose events, since the proposal comes before any contract is awarded this time-consuming project will need the creation of content, designs, photographs and a lot of thought, in addition to developing an advance fee for the proposal (just in case it is rejected, one doesn't want to be left penniless). 

Ultimately, an event planner can be certified in one of three ways through internship, through a college/university degree in design and business or, as a last resort for the economically disadvantaged, online study.  In between, visiting events and getting hands-on experience by assisting actual planners is invaluable.  Working as an assistant for a caterer, for example, is excellent job shadowing for this particular field.  And just to keep in practice, one can always voluntarily organize fundraisers with community groups.

All this should be included in an event planners portfolio to show to prospective employers and vendors, in order to attest to the planners expertise and creativity. 

Finally, one can apply for certification with the MPI (Meeting Professionals International), the ISES (International Special Events Society) and the CIC (Convention Industry Council).  All of these organizations have clearly set criteria in their certification program for event planners.   

Whether one is beginning ones own event planning business or wanting to begin the profession by working for established professionals, these are the first steps in how to become an event planner.