What Is the Average Event Planner's Salary?

Party planner standing outside ballroom
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While most people do not go into event planning solely for the money, the industry has grown rapidly. Working as an event planner can be a lucrative career choice, but salaries can vary widely depending on the type of organization that employs you.

For example, if you work for a large corporation, planning annual meetings and conventions, you can expect a salary on the higher end of the scale. However, if you instead choose to work for a non-profit, planning fundraising activities, you may be on the lower side of the salary range.

Your location effects your salary as well. If you live and work in a metropolitan area, you can command a higher salary than an event planner in a more suburban or rural area.

Average Event Planner Salary and Career Outlook

As of 2017, the median annual salary for an event planner is $59,503, as reported by Salary.com. But salaries can go as high as $70,000 for event planners in the corporate world, and six-figure salaries are not uncommon for experienced, in-demand planners.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, event planning as a career field is expected to grow at an above average rate. By 2024, the industry is expected to expand by 10 percent, with over 100,000 job openings nationwide.

Achieving a Career in Event Planning

If you are looking to break into event planning, most employers are looking for candidates who have a bachelor's degree at a minimum, or several years of experience managing events.

With large meetings and conventions involving more travel and technology, employers expect more from event planners to ensure events go smoothly.

With certification is not necessary, many event planners opt to get a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential. The CMP credential gives them greater credibility, and in many cases, having the certification can help you get a job more quickly and command a higher salary.

If you are still in school, you can prepare yourself for your career and build a portfolio by taking on paid or unpaid internships. By working alongside experienced professionals while you're still in college, you can get hands-on experience planning events and take care of the day-of responsibilities. An internship can give you an edge when you're job searching and can help build your professional network.

Necessary Skills

To achieve as an event planner, you need to be meticulously organized. Even small events have many different components, including vendors, caterers, guest speakers, audio-visual technicians and more. You must be able to work with people at all levels, from senior executives to servers, to ensure that the event happens smoothly.

Negotiation skills are also imperative. Part of your job is to keep the event within budget, which often means going back to vendors to discuss pricing and negotiate a better deal.

Finally, the most important part of being a successful event planner is your ability to maintain your composure. Things can go wrong, and often do. Your speaker may not show up, the caterer may not have prepared enough food, or the video that is the keynote of the event may not play.

You must be able to handle every mishap gracefully and calmly and come up with solutions.

A career in event planning can be challenging, but it can be a lucrative job with strong growth potential in the future.