Meeting, convention and event planner: Both work and fun

Everybody has a friend who throws fabulous parties, knows the best restaurants or has a suggestion for what to do on the weekends. These social butterflies understand the specifics that go into creating a well-received event, down to the venue to choose, food and travel logistics and the guests to invite.
But did you know that this party-savvy personality is an essential part of the business world as well? Called meeting, convention and event planners, these detail-oriented experts know how to run the show. They coordinate all aspects of professional meetings and events, including location booking and transportation arrangements. They also help facilitate other details in conjunction with internal teams, such as marketing or sales.
The party's just getting started for meeting, convention and event planners and those interested in pursuing this career. The occupation has seen 10 percent job growth since 2010, and there are 12 active candidates for every 25 jobs posted.* Better yet, this field is expected to continue growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation is projected to grow 44 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS notes, "As globalization increases and businesses continue to recognize the value of professionally planned meetings, the need for meetings and events is expected to grow." Those interested in a career as a meeting, convention and event planner can look forward to a median annual pay of $47,380.
In order to maintain a successful business, education is key. While 50 percent of meeting, convention and event planners have a bachelor's degree, others have chosen different education routes. But according to the BLS, "Job opportunities should be best for candidates with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management."
  • Doctorate or professional degree -- 1 percent
  • Master's degree -- 10 percent
  • Bachelor's degree -- 50 percent
  • Associate degree -- 8 percent
  • Some college, no degree -- 20 percent
Some common educational courses or programs that meeting, convention and event planners take include meeting and event planning, sales and sales operations and hospitality management.
Skills and experience
Businesses that book meeting, convention and event planners expect a well-organized event and someone who can understand their needs and requirements. So it's essential that these workers excel at customer service, clerical skills, sales and marketing, reading comprehension, verbal communication and time management/coordination.
These skills are perfected over time, which is why many meeting, convention and event planners stay in their role long term. Twenty-eight percent of meeting, convention and event planners have six to 10 years of experience; 18 percent have 11 to 15 years of experience and 21 percent have three to five years of experience.
Where the jobs are
Though this occupation has 12 active candidates for every 25 jobs posted, there are some areas in the country where meeting, convention and event planner jobs are especially abundant. The top cities to find these jobs are Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta.
Depending on the organization such planners work for and the industry in which they specialize, this occupation may go by other titles, including travel guide, program director, general and operations manager and spa and resort manager.
As the economy improves and more businesses are able to invest in well-organized events, the demand for meeting, convention and event planners will only continue to grow.

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