How to Become a Certified Event Planner
Have you been thinking about launching a new career? Becoming a certified event planner is an endlessly fun and rewarding job. The hard work you put in is always recognized when you pull off a show-stopping event. And the best part? Being certified means you’ll have plenty of industry opportunities on the horizon.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s go over the logistics of getting certified. Then, we’ll cover what you can do after graduation. Stick around!
Choosing Your Event Planning Programs
Earning a certification means you’ll need to take one or more event planning programs. So, which event planning school should you enroll with? How can you tell what schools are reputable and offers quality education and what schools are lying about their programs?
The first question you must tackle is: Do you want to take event planning courses online vs. offline (in-class). In-class courses are great—after all, it’s a learning format you’re familiar with. But, honestly, event planning schools online are underrated. Yes, there are many terrible and fake event planning courses online—no one is saying they don’t exist. These programs, run by scammers or people who want to earn a quick buck, give all online courses a bad rap. But there are some diamonds in the rough out there! To discover them, you’ll need to know how to do research.
What to look for in your event planning class:
When researching event planning courses online, find answers for the following questions. If this information is impossible to find (even after contacting them), take it as a major red flag and look elsewhere!
- Will you have a tutor with whom you can work one-on-one?
- Who are their instructors and tutors? Do they provide biographies of their achievements and linkable websites to their businesses?
- What are their practical assignments like? Do they have course previews or sneak peeks available?
- How is feedback for assignments given? Will you be able to tell it’s personalized to you?
- How much student support is available during the entirety of the course?
- Will you be earning an industry-recognized certification?
- Do they provide you with some degree of business training? (Resume writing, cover letters, how to network, etc.).
- Does your institution offer additional planning courses to expand your skillset?
If you want to start an event planning business, you’ll need a certain amount of competency in business skills. These include marketing, advertising, accounting, and an understanding of the legal aspects of the job, such as liability and contract law. Make sure you select a course that gives you the option of completing business units. You can thank us later!
After choosing a program, make sure you dedicate real time to studying. If this is a career you really want to pursue, don’t let it fall to the wayside. It should be one of your utmost priorities. Now, hit the books!
Event Planner Skills You Need to Succeed
Many event planning courses are designed to teach you all about the nuts-and-bolts aspects of event and wedding planning. But you’ll also need the right mix of soft skills to help you make your chosen career a success. So what are some of the essential skills?
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
- Exceptional organizational skills—especially because successful event planners are usually working on multiple events at the same time
- Time management and multitasking skills
- Be able to visualize the big picture without losing sight of smaller details
- The ability to stay calm and in control in a crisis
- Be able to quickly recognize and solve problems, and apply creative and unconventional solutions when necessary
- Be able to work with all kinds of people
- Be prepared to work long hours, including on weekends and public holidays
One of the most important aspects of the job is to have a strong love of and talent for working with people. It’s an incredibly social career! You must be tactful, patient, and calm with clients, vendors, and suppliers in all situations. Many clients don’t always know exactly what they want, and you must help them figure it out. Planning an event like a wedding often means trying to please multiple different people at once—we never said it would be easy!
What to expect after earning your event planning certification
Working as an event planner is an uphill battle. You’ll have many competitors in your field that you’ll have to beat out in order to stay afloat. Getting your planning certification is only your first step. Using those business skills you learned in your event planning course along with your certificate, you’re already ahead. Next is finding ways to differentiate yourself from the competition…
Start Networking (if you haven’t already)
Building a network of wonderful event professionals will do wonders for getting your name out there. They might connect you with job opportunities. Fellow event planners might know of clients they can’t take but that they’d be willing to refer you to.
Network online in forums and on social networks, interact with other planners at conventions or seek out other professionals who might want to work with an event planner, like caterers, photographers, and businesses that regularly host parties.
Build a compelling brand as an event planner
One of the smartest things a young event planner can do in their first year is build their brand and establish a solid presence online and in their local industry.
When you’re not volunteering or assisting, work on building a quality website, starting a blog, and creating a professional portfolio. The stronger your branding platforms are, the more easily potential clients and employers can see the quality of your work, making them more likely to hire you.
Offer lessons, workshops, or parties
If you find that you have space between work opportunities, do something about it! Don’t just sit back and wait until something falls into your lap. Event planning is one of the few industries where professionals can create work for themselves.
Between jobs, tell your friends and past clients that you’re available to teach instructional workshops and planning parties where guests learn how to host great events of their own. Even one-time jobs like these support your resume, and they also show potential clients and employers that you’re proactive about your career.
Did we miss a step? Let us know!