How to Become a Certified Event Planner: 4 Tips for Getting Started
Want to know how to become a certified event planner? QC Student Ambassador, Shawniece Evins, has 4 tips to get you started! In addition to being the co-founder of Heart and Bustle, LLC., Shawniece is currently a student of QC’s Event & Wedding Planning and Event Decor courses.
Are you ready to quit your 9-5 job and become a certified event planner? First of all, that’s awesome. Congratulations! What better time than now to turn your dream into a reality, right? Now, the first question is: how should you get started?
Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips to help you launch a successful career. So, let’s dive right in!
Signs That You’re Destined to Become an Event Planner
Are you the first person that your family and friends call for assistance whenever they have an event to plan, no matter how big or small? Do you love taking on huge important projects and ensuring that everything is taken care of? If you answered yes to these questions, guess what? A career as a certified event planner is perfect for you!
A question that I get asked a lot is, “How do I know if event planning is just a hobby, or if it’s something that I should actually pursue as a career?”
If you’ve asked yourself this very question, then I urge you to first consider what exactly it is that draws you to event planning. Follow that up by asking yourself if you possess most or all of the following 5 personality traits:
- You have Monica Geller-level organizational skills
- You never leave out a single detail
- You’re ambitious, competitive, and goal-oriented
- You love connecting with others and building lifelong relationships
- Making lists, taking notes, and creating plans are some of your favorite things to do
If you exhibit these traits, it’s time to get your professional career as an event planner started!
Why I Decided to Become a Certified Event Planner
Growing up, I would watch movies like The Wedding Planner and TV shows like Platinum Weddings. They planted the seed of me wanting to become an event planner. Back then, I thought that this desire was just a dream; that I wouldn’t be able to actually achieve this career.
But a few years later, while I was enrolled in a Hospitality and Travel program, I realized that event planning fell within the hospitality industry. So, I did my internship at a local museum. I was SO excited when it was finally time for me to work with the Special Events team! I continued to work at the local museum after graduation so that I could learn more about the behind-the-scene work that goes into event planning.
Eventually, I moved on to become the Event Sales Manager for a few different hotel chains. During my time in this role, I knew that I would eventually start my own company and become a certified event planner. This path worked out perfectly for me! I now have many contacts in every aspect of the event planning industry. Plus, I’ve already made a name for myself. My previous experience also gave me a leg-up on other planners in my area, since I’ve already worked in pretty much every role that you can think of when it comes to events.
How to Become a Certified Event Planner
Here are 4 of my top tips to help you get your career started…
You can never do too much research! This is your future we’re talking about here. So, take your time to research what an event planner really does on a day-to-day. A lot more goes into event planning than what meets the eye. Knowing exactly what to expect before you jump into the working world is very beneficial.
“Event planner” is such a broad term. While you are researching what’s required to become an event planner, look into each type of event planner and what they do. This will help you determine which types of events you want to specialize in. For instance, you can be a private event planner, a wedding planner, or perhaps even a corporate event planner.
I’ve had the great fortune of having the opportunity to plan a wide variety of different events. In doing so, I’ve been able to narrow down my niche: planning social events, with heavy focus on wedding planning. From time to time, I still take on clients that fall within a different niche, in order to ensure that I don’t get rusty in those areas.
When conducting your research, don’t forget to look into the different career paths you can pursue once you have your certification. For example, do you want to start your own company or do you want to join another planner’s team?
2. Enroll in a Reputable Certification Program!
With so many programs out there, it can be a bit overwhelming to find the perfect course for you. I had to learn the hard way that not all event planning programs are created equal. I discovered that receiving a certificate for event planning is a lot different than becoming a certified event planner. When you earn a reputable certification, you can join industry groups such as ILEA and the Association of Bridal Consultants. Joining groups like this will take you really far!
It’s also critical that you put a lot of thought into whether you want to attend an in-person program or pursue your training through an online course. Personally, I chose to do my courses online. This was mainly because my schedule doesn’t really permit me to attend a physical class at a set time, in a set location. It’s extremely convenient that QC Event School’s learning environment flexible, self-paced, and offered entirely online. I also love that QC offers around the clock support for all of their students, and that they have a Virtual Classroom group on Facebook.
3. Take Your Training Seriously!
Since your online course will likely be self-paced (such as it is with QC Event School), it can quickly become easy to drag your feet and procrastinate. I can’t lie, I did take a brief break from my studies in order to focus on my event planning company. This is totally fine! After all, QC gives you a full 2 years to complete your course because this school understands that life sometimes has other plans. However, I am now back at it – and that’s the important thing. You need to have a certain level of self-discipline if you really want to make a successful career for yourself.
When working on your course units, ensure that you treat each scenario as if it was with an actual client. Be sure to check your spelling and grammar, and always be as detailed as possible. To take it a step further, I try to make each scenario into a project/vision board. Doing this will help you when you’re actually working with real-world clients, because it will help your clients to better visualize the concept and ensure you are both on the same page.
4. Take Advantage of the Optional Business Training!
At the end of each QC courses is an optional unit entirely focused on business training. Because you have the choice to skip over it, you might be tempted to skip to do so, in order to graduate faster and receive your certification. However, I strongly recommend that you take the time to complete this unit as well! I actually jumped right into the readings for this unit, just so I could see what sort of lessons I could implement into my professional business right away. I love the fact that this unit provides me with a host of forms that I can use in my career, such as budgeting templates, checklists, site tour evaluations, and more!
Why I Recommend QC Event School
QC Event School has so much to offer both aspiring and experienced event planners! Their training will definitely prepare you for the world of event planning. If you’re already established in the industry, their Advanced and Specialty Courses can help you take your skill-set to brand-new levels. I can go on and on for days about the many advantages of enrolling with QC. However, here are the Top 6 reasons why I recommend this school:
- QC tutors are actual industry professionals with years of experience!
- Each course is self-paced and less than 40 hours long!
- You have 2 full years to complete your course!
- You’ll be able to interact and network with other students with such resources as the Online Student Center and the Virtual Classroom!
- QC always offers monthly specials on courses, ensuring that each program is affordable!
- As a student, you’ll receive 50% off each additional course you enroll in (forever)!
If you’re still trying to decide if QC Event School is the right fit for you, I encourage you to join the Virtual Classroom so that you can connect with me, other students, and QC’s tutors! 🙂