How to Become a Hospital Event Planner

by Karen Schweitzer

Hospital event planners coordinate meetings, parties, fundraisers and events for hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities. They sometimes handle an entire event, from beginning to end. Duties include finding volunteers and vendors for events, choosing a location, working within a budget and organizing speakers, raffles, entertainment and activities. Hospital event planners might need to consider everything from planning to the marketing needed to advertise and highlight the event. The path to a career as a hospital event planner includes education, work experience and certification.

Earn a Degree

Hospitals and other medical facilities prefer event planners with bachelor's degrees in hospitality management or a related area such as marketing, project management, communications or business. Other education options include seminars, certificate programs, diploma programs and courses focused on event planning. Work experience can sometimes serve as a substitute for academic experience, but may not satisfy qualifications requirements for all employers.

Gain Special Skills

The most important skills to gain for event planners include organization, time management, multitasking, communication and creative skills. Some event planners get experience by studying or working in a specific area of event planning, such as catering, public relations or hospitality management. Entry-level event planners can also get skills through job experience. They can perform small tasks, such as finding fundraiser sponsors, creating press releases to advertise an event, selling tickets to attendees and preparing event budgets for analysis, all under the supervision of a more experienced hospital event planner.

Volunteer and Intern

Some employers prefer event planners with experience in event planning, public relations or a related field. Volunteering or interning at a hospital or facility that has special events or fundraisers could provide the opportunity to become comfortable in the field and learn more about event planning and marketing. A formal internship could provide important work experience for your resume and allow you to work with and learn from other event planners. Contact hospitals in your area to see if a formal internship is available or could be arranged. A temporary internship might eventually lead to a full-time job offer. If you cannot get a formal internship, offer to volunteer for a job at the hospital. A volunteer position still gives you a chance to network and refine your communication skills in a hospital environment.

Get Certified

Certification is optional for hospital event planners. However, certification does demonstrate your event planning expertise and could set you apart from other event coordinators. The International Special Events Society certifies special event planners. You must have a minimum of three years of full-time professional experience in the special events industry to be eligible for the Certified Special Events Professional designation. A passing score on an exam is also required.

About the Author

Karen Schweitzer is a writer and author with 10-plus years of experience. She has written 11 non-fiction books and currently works as a senior editor for In her spare time, she blogs and assists clients with article writing, editing, proofreading and other projects.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images