How to Become a Party Event Planner

by Karen Schweitzer

Party event planners coordinate a party or special event from beginning to end. Most party event planners specialize in events like weddings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, corporate affairs and other celebratory gatherings. A degree, work experience and certification can all combine to help you become successful party planner.

Earn a Degree

Employers prefer to hire party event planners with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management or a related field such as marketing, public relations, communications or business. If you do not have a degree, one to two years of work experience in event planning might be a substitute for your lack of educational experience. Earning continuing education credits through seminars and other short programs can also serve as a substitute and increase your knowledge of event planning.

Get an Internship

An internship can provide hands-on experience while you earn your degree. There is no limit to the number of internships you can complete while you're in school. Participating in internships in the summer, while you are on break, or during school sessions can provide a chance to plan multiple parties and events. You can discuss internship opportunities with the career services department at your school. Contacting established party and event planners in your area to request an internship opportunity is another avenue to explore. Your chances of acceptance will be greater if you are ready to start immediately, willing to work for no pay and eager to learn from more experienced planners.

Gain Work Experience

Many party event planners start out at the entry-level, taking on small tasks rather than planning entire parties. This gives them time to gain experience and build a reputation in the industry. For example, planners might begin their careers as caterers, focusing on just one aspect of the party until they have enough experience to start their own business or take on the planning of a whole event.

Get Certified

You don't need to be certified to be a party event planner, but certification can help you demonstrate expertise and set you apart from other event coordinators. The International Special Events Society administers a certification program for special event planners. You need at least three years of full-time professional experience in the special events industry to become a Certified Special Events Professional. It is also necessary to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of event planning and coordinating to become certified.

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.

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