Many people hire an event specialist or event planner to save themselves time, energy and money. If you can stay cool under pressure and have strong organizational skills, consider a career as an event specialist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meeting and event planners earned a median annual salary of $46,260 as of 2013.
Choose a Specialty
As an event specialist, you will plan events that are social or business-related. You may have an interest in planning events for celebrations, such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or reunions. If you specialize in education-related events, you'll plan conferences, meetings or graduations. A specialty in corporate events means you’ll plan conventions or meetings. You may work for a corporation, hotel, banquet facility or event-planning firm. Once you gain enough experience, you can even start your own event-planning business.
Perform Your Duties
A job as an event specialist requires a lot of research. You'll consult with clients to find out what overall look and feel they'd like for their event. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the customs and etiquette of different cultures to do appropriate planning. When visiting different venues, you'll judge the overall attractiveness and suitability. You'll be responsible for coordinating arrangements for food, beverages, decorations, musicians, serving staff, speakers and photographers. You may have to present a proposal to your supervisor or client for final approval before putting your plans in motion.
As an event specialist, you'll spend a great deal of time in an office making phone calls and planning the logistics. Travel may be necessary, especially if you specialize in conventions or destination weddings. Your job will require that you coordinate several tasks at one time and meet deadlines. At times you’ll encounter clients who are difficult and demanding. Work hours can be long, especially during the period leading up to an event. During an event, you may have to work long days and weekends. Some aspects of the job require physical stamina, since you may have to walk or stand for long periods or carry supplies to the venue.
Qualify for the Job
Event specialists may have education or work experience in many different fields. Some have backgrounds as administrative assistants and have planned smaller events before moving into larger events as a specialist. Others accumulate experience working in sales and marketing in a hotel. Some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, public relations, communications, business or hospitality. If you are in college and plan a career as an event specialist, gain work experience by volunteering to plan events for clubs and organizations.
Learn the Job Outlook
The BLS projects a 33 percent increase in jobs for meeting, convention and event specialists between 2012 and 2022, compared to 11 percent for all jobs. Despite the high growth, competition for employment will be keen. Applicants with a related bachelor's degree, work experience or professional certification will have the best opportunities.