How to Become an Event Planner: Career Advice & Information

Overview & Salaries


Yes, event planners plan parties. But they also plan concerts, conventions, competitions, ceremonies, festivals—anything clients can dream up. You might work internally for a business, or be hired to plan individual events. It’s not as simple as mailing out the invitations—you’ll need to find a date, reserve a venue, get permits, arrange transportation, catering, themes—and you’ll have to do it all on a budget, while still making your client look good. Not put off? You might make a great event planner.


Annual salaries for event planners will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2012, the average annual salary for event planners working in the U.S. was $50,190 per year.

For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for event planners, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.

Discover the Best Cities and States to Work in Event Planning

California currently has the highest rate of employment for event planners, where 8,030 are working in a variety of industries, and earning an annual average wage of $54,500. New York State is second in the United States for event planner employment, with 7,460 presently occupying positions statewide, and making a yearly average salary of $58,610.

The metro areas employing the most event planners are:

  • New York-White Plains (5,680)
  • Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria (4,810)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach (1,920)

The metro areas employing the highest concentration of event planners are:

  • Washington D.C. (2.03 per thousand jobs)
  • Missoula, MT (1.79 per thousand jobs)

The metro areas employing the best-paid event planners are:

  • Coeur d’Alene, ID (average salary $77,330)
  • Nassau-Suffolk, NY (average salary $75,710)

Employment and Salary Information for Event Planners

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as an event planner. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Event Planning

Why Become An Event Planner?

So you’re highly organized, communicate very well, and love thinking of new ways to entertain people. What’s in event planning for you? Plenty:

  • Let’s start with the obvious. Lots of parties.
  • Huge industry growth. In 2022, there are projected to be 33% more event planners than there were in 2012. That’s huge growth for any job.
  • Chances to work for yourself. About 1 in 6 event planners are self-employed, although most work for companies.
  • Many different kinds of companies need to plan events, and you could end up anywhere.
  • Watch people have a good time. Planning an event is hard work. But at the end, you’ll be able to see the work pay off in the form of a great night—or day, or even week, depending on what you’re planning.

Event Planning: What You Need To Know

To be a great event planner, you need to be organized and fun in equal measures. You need to do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it. And you’ll need to find new ways to make events enjoyable for guests. A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.

  • Organization
  • Client Management
  • Communications
  • Reliability
  • Creativity

Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about event planning careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.

Degree Options for Event Planning Careers

Vocational and Trade

A qualification in hospitality, such as hotel management, planning, hospitality or tourism management, can be useful for an event planner (as is work experience in hospitality).

Bachelor’s degree

However, many businesses prefer event planners with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, communications or business. For those with degrees, experience working in a related field such as hotel management, planning, hospitality or tourism management, is still very valuable.

Some employers may also prefer candidates who have received a credential from the Convention Industry Council or the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, which are organizations that offer voluntary certification in the practice.