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Event Planner 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. After all, as I say over and over again:

** The most important thing to understand as you start your career in event planning is that no one is going to hire you and then train you how to plan events.  This means that you must take it upon yourself to learn the basics of how to plan events before you even begin to apply for entry-level jobs. And, if you want to become an event planner, you simply must learn how to plan events!  *** 

So, the next natural question is:  ok how do I learn about event planning?  

For most people, going back to college or university isn't an option; and to be honest, I don't think it's worth it anyway.  Of course, if you are just heading into college, then it's vitally important to get a degree!  But if you've been out of school for a number of years, it's not worth it go back; besides, there are very few schools with event planning programs anyway.  For more on this topic, be sure to read this page about event planning schools.  

Therefore, the next most logical option is to take an online course.  But there are so many out there, and it can get overwhelming deciding which one is the best for you.  Below I have outlined some of the "red flags" that you should look out for when searching for an online event planning training course.  

But first....

But before we go any further, I'm going to do a shameless plug for my own online Planning Events Course. I never anticipated creating a course; it was not in my plans at all when I first created this website. However, after hundreds of my subscribers and readers kept emailing me and 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 simply can not make a living planning birthday parties and anniversary parties. To create a successful career in event planning, you need to focus on special events and corporate meetings, conventions, and incentives. ***

And, in my personal opinion, 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.

Planning Events Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Plan Events
This course will focus on the elements needed to plan special  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.  This is the only course out there that teaches you what you really need to know to begin a career as a planner.  I created this event planning training course because there aren't any courses out there I felt comfortable recommending; and so I created it specifically for people who want to do more than plan birthday parties or weddings.  


Red Flags to Look for When Choosing an Online Course

There are a few things 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 special 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.
  • Combining wedding planning and event planning.  The most important thing to look for is what the course has to teach you. Study the course outline very carefully and really analyze what they are teaching.  If you want to go into special events and hope to plan fundraisers for non-profits, then why would you take a course on wedding planning?  Even if a course teaches "wedding planning AND event planning," then half that course is a waste of your time and money.  Not to mention, wedding planning is not the same as special event planning, and so any course that treats them the same is more than likely not going to teach legitimate.material.
  • 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.  It is a tough industry in which to find clients; it's even tougher to win over clients when you don't have any events to show in your portfolio!  You can start your own business, once you get two or three years of experience.  Event planning has a steep and quick learning curve, so you don't have to put your dream off for long….but I really encourage you to make your mistakes before you have your own business to lose!  

  • 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 guaranteed way to get a job.  To read much more about this, be sure to check out the Event Planner Certification page.

What makes me most angry about so many courses out there 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.

So be sure to research your options carefully; take a course for what it has to teach you, not just to put some "certification" on your resume.  Investigate, reach out and ask them questions, and always trust your gut.