How Much Does an Event Planner Make?

Event planners conceive gatherings from the ground up, which may require long work hours and extensive travel. Learn more about this career and the factors that affect the salary you might earn. Schools offering Hospitality Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Event planners, also known as a meeting and convention planners, put together events, such as national conventions, home and garden shows, movie premiers or business meetings. As an event planner, your duties include organizing and overseeing all aspects of these events, including finding and booking appropriate locations, coordinating food and entertainment, arranging for proper audio/video equipment and negotiating contracts. You are also responsible for assessing the overall effectiveness of events in order to determine the best course of action for future endeavors.

Average Salary Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2012, the average yearly salary for meeting, convention and event planners was $49,830 (www.bls.gov). The bottom ten percent made $26,560 or less, while the top ten percent made $79,270 or more.

Salary by Industry

The industry employing the greatest number of meeting, convention and events planners in May 2012 was the traveler accommodation industry, which includes hotels, motels and casino hotels; it employed 8,250 professionals at that time, according to the BLS. Business, professional, labor, political and similar organizations had a mean wage of $55,250, and the average wage was $53,600 for other support services.

The industry with the highest salary was other investment pools and funds, which paid an average wage of $90,420 in May 2012, according to the BLS. Aerospace product and parts manufacturing paid an average wage of $75,660, while wired telecommunications carriers paid an average wage of $74,040.

Salary by Location

As of May 2012, the BLS reported that California, New York, Texas, Florida and Virginia employed the most meeting, convention and event planners. Average salaries for these states were $53,870, $57,300, $45,110, $48,270 and $54,770, respectively. New York and Virginia also had some of the highest salaries in the country. Average salaries were also high in the District of Columbia ($67,120), Massachusetts ($58,860) and New Jersey ($57,730). The lowest average salaries in the country ranged from $28,360-$42,690. Some of these locations included Wisconsin, Kentucky, Utah, Nebraska, Montana and West Virginia.

Salary by Experience

January 2014 salary data from PayScale.com reported that event planners with less than a year of experience earned wages of $27,274-$48,656. Annual salaries increased to $27,812-$51,680 with 1-4 years of experience, $32,116-$69,217 with 5-9 years of experience and $32,685-$78,759 with 10-19 years of experience.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects very fast job growth for meeting, convention and event planners over the decade spanning 2012 through 2022. Growth is expected to reach 33%, and having a related bachelor's degree or professional certification can improve your job prospects. Work experience is also helpful because of the strong competition in the field.

Education Requirements

Many employers would like you to have a bachelor's degree before hiring you as an event manager, according to the BLS. You may choose to earn a degree in the area that the company you wish to work for specializes in, such as communications, business or hospitality management. Some schools also offer degree and certificate programs or continuing education courses in meetings management designed for people looking to enter the occupation.

Though not required by employers, you may also choose to complete a master's degree program or earn industry certification to increase your advancement options and earning potential. Possible certifications include the Certified Meeting Professional credential offered by the Convention Industry Council and the Certified Government Meeting Professional credential from the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.

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