Event Planning and Management: Online Bachelor's Degree
If you find yourself acting the host more often than not, or if you enjoy coordinating social events, you might want to look into pursuing a bachelor's degree specializing in event planning. You may be able to turn a natural knack for event organization into a career as a wedding planner, convention center coordinator or hotel event manager among other career options. Read on for more information. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Event Planning and Management Are Available?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), though you may not need a bachelor's degree to secure a position in event planning, many employers prefer it (www.bls.gov). Although some schools offer event planning and management as a major, you may have better luck locating a bachelor's degree in an area such as hospitality management, with an emphasis or specialization in event planning. Although the National Center for Education Statistics only lists four schools that offer a bachelor's degree in meeting and event planning, it lists over 150 schools that offer a bachelor's degree in hospitality administration (www.nces.ed.gov).
Online programs emphasizing event planning and management are somewhat rare. By contacting the individual school, you can find out if it offers degree programs or classes in an online format. Schools may not offer all courses online. In that case, the school often recommends another school near your home, where you can fulfill program requirements in a live setting. You must also complete internships and practicums in-person.
What Can You Tell Me About Program Content?
Online programs are generally presented asynchronously, which means you can participate at your convenience. Some programs are degree-completion programs. In order to participate, schools require you to either hold an associate's degree or have completed a comparable number of college credits. Degree-completion programs consist entirely of upper-level courses. Completion time for programs can vary due to content and whether you participate on a full or part-time basis.
Online and on-campus programs consist of about 120 credits and can lead to a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Professional Studies or Bachelor of Applied Science degree in areas such as hospitality and tourism management, human environmental science or information technology. Within these fields you may be able to specialize in event planning and management.
Typical courses include convention and meeting planning, food and beverage operations, entertainment and production, facilities management, wedding planning, quantity food production and destination management. You may have the opportunity to complete a practicum at the school or an internship at a school-partnered restaurant, hotel, country club or other facility that hosts events.
You may have the opportunity to enroll in online professional development courses. Organizations such as Meeting Professionals International, the Professional Convention Management Association and the Society of Government Meeting Professionals offer webinars and individual online courses in event planning or management.
What Is The Career Outlook?
With a bachelor's degree specializing in event planning and management, you may qualify for an entry-level position with a convention and visitors bureau, in hotel management or convention services, restaurant management, country club management or as an event planner with a large corporation or adult resident community. The BLS states that although certification isn't necessary to practice as an events planner, it may enhance your employment and advancement possibilities. With a combination of work experience and education, you may qualify to sit for a certification examination such as those administered by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals or the Convention Industry Council.
In 2010, the BLS projected that the employment of meeting and convention planners would increase by 16% from 2008 to 2018. During 2010, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for meeting, convention and event planners was $48,780.
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