Event Planning Training

What to Look for in Event Planning Courses

One of the most common questions I receive is about event planning training, certification, and/or online courses.

"What event planning training do I need to start my career?"
"What online event planning courses should I take?"
"Which event planning certification courses are best?"
"What do you think of the _____ course?"

Of course, these are very legitimate questions, and ones that you should be asking. And yet, this is one of the most frustrating questions to me.

This is frustrating for me for a number of reasons:

  • First and foremost, I hate to recommend (for or against) any event planning training course unless I know, first-hand, what it's like. But, since I am well established in my career, I simply do not need to take any courses! So how can I, in good conscience, say one course is better than the other?
  • Every single one of my readers is coming from a different place. My advice to a person just graduating high school is going to be different than my advice to a person who is in her mid-50's and is trying to change careers. For more on whether further education is the right step for you, be sure to read my advice on schooling on the Event Planning Courses page.

  • Along the same lines, my advice about what event planning training you need changes according to your personal goals. My advice to someone who wants to be a wedding planner is entirely different than my advice to someone who wants to be a corporate meeting planner.
  • Perhaps most importantly, my answer is dependent on your personal expectations of what you will get out of taking an event planning training online course. If you think that, by merely having an online course listed on your resume, you're guaranteed to get a job, then you're going to be sorely disappointed.  If, however, you see your course as an opportunity to learn the basics of a career in which you hope to spend the next few years of your life, then you are more likely to have the right mindset to succeed.  

Recommended Online Courses

With that being said, it is still only fair for me to try to recommend some event planning training courses to the best of my ability. Below are some courses that, based upon their websites, I do or do not recommend.

But before we go any further, I'm going to do a shameless plug for my own online Event Planner eCourse. I actually created this course out of reluctance; it wasn't something I really wanted to make time to do. However, after hundreds of my subscribers and readers kept writing into me, asking which event planning training courses to take, I began to investigate the courses that are available out there.

And I was stunned, shocked, and disappointed to see what companies are putting out there and calling it a course....not to mention the insane prices they charge for it. I looked into course after course; and I kept finding the same crap (pardon the French). They teach you nothing more than how to plan weddings or kids' birthday parties; and then slap on an exorbitant fee, and call it a course! Worse yet, they convince you that you need their "certification" to begin your career; when in reality most of these certifications mean nothing to your future employers.

*** Let me tell you a secret that none of these companies want me to tell you....you simply can not make a living planning birthday parties and corporate luncheons. To create a successful career in event planning, you need to focus on large-scale events and corporate meetings, conventions, and incentives. ***

And making a living as a wedding planner is difficult and not recommended (keep reading the info below to find out why).

And yet, every single course out there focuses on weddings and parties.

And so, I decided it was time to create my own event planning training course; a course that focuses on real-life skills to apply to real-life, successful event planning.

  • Event Planner Course: How to Plan Events
    This course will focus on the elements needed to plan large-scale events and corporate meetings, conventions, and incentives. It will teach you why this should be your focus, as well as the nuts and bolts of how to do it.Trust me, I'm not saying bad things about other certifications just to get you to buy my course; the reality is I created my event planning training course because there aren't any courses out there I felt comfortable recommending!

But first, I want you to read my reviews below. Please remember I wrote these reviews before I created my course; actually, I created the course BECAUSE of what I learned while writing these reviews! After really investigating what event planning training courses are available out there, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.


Things to Look for When Choosing an Online Course

I have a few "pet peeves" that always stick out to me as "red flags" when investigating an event planning training course; and think they are great guidelines for you to keep in mind when doing your research.

I would be very, very cautious (and most likely would recommend you stay away from) any course that focuses on the following:

  • Wedding Planning. Wedding planning is a very competitive industry to break into.  Additionally, due to the nature of the business, you are constantly having to drum up business (there are very few repeat customers in wedding planning).  Brides want the world for free, and will work you to death for one set fee.  And until you break into large-scale weddings, your income will be less than that of a corporate planner, with much more stress.  

  • Party Planning as a career.  It is very, very difficult to make a living planning "parties" (as opposed to large events or corporate meetings and incentives). Especially in this tough economy; why would Mrs. Jones pay you to plan her 6-year-old's birthday party when she feels it's something she can do herself? More importantly, how much is she willing to pay? I can guarantee that Microsoft has a bigger budget for its planners than Mrs. Jones does for a birthday party.
  • Starting your own event planning business at the end of the course. This topic just about makes my head spin off. It completely blows my mind that anyone would ever promise you that you can start a company doing something you've never done before. However, if you feel you are able to do this, I encourage you to learn the basics; please read my page on starting your own event planning business.

  • Getting your event planning certification at the end of the course. Certification is not a short-cut to education and experience; and all beginner-level "certifications" promise more than what they're worth. There aren't any beginner level certifications that mean anything to any potential employer, other than the fact that you took the initiative to learn something about the industry. As I mentioned before, you should take courses to further your education about the industry; not in hopes that it's a shoo-in for a job.  To read much more about this, be sure to check out the Event Planner Certification page.

If you approach these event planning training courses with realistic expectations, then they might be worth it. But what makes me angry is that they promise you things that you won't, in reality, get out of the course; for example, making a great living planning birthday parties, or that you'll be capable of starting your own business right away.

That, to me, qualifies as a scam.

Be sure to research your options carefully; and above all, follow your gut!  

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I understand that you might not be sure.  So I'm offering this eBook at the very lowest price possible (just to cover my expenses) so you can see if event planning is right for you.  If not, then you've lost no more than the cost of a cup of coffee.  

Or, perhaps you'll discover that this is exactly the dream you've been waiting for....

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