Event Planning Classes

Which College Courses are Best to Start
Your Event Planning Career

***This page discusses the best options for those who are going to college or university.  
If you're looking for online event planning classes,
then click on this link to read about my online event planning courses ***

So you've decided you want to be an event planner.  And you're either just graduating high school, or perhaps are in the first year or two of college and it's time to choose a degree program.  Or, perhaps you've decided you want to back to school, or finally pursue a degree after all these years.  Whatever your situation is, you want to choose the degree or program that will most benefit your future career as an event planner.  

As you may have discovered, event planning classes at colleges and universities are very rare; and event planning degrees or programs are nearly non-existent.  That is because until very recently, event planning was not viewed as a legitimate career path; therefore, there are very few colleges or universities that offer event planning classes or degrees.  Click here to read about the few schools or universities that offer event planning classes, programs, or degrees).

So it is more than likely that you are not able to attend one of the very few schools that offer event planning programs.  Perhaps you are attending a school or university that doesn't offer event planning classes; and yet you know you want to pursue a career in events. What should you do?

First of all, it's important to realize that event planning is not like many other fields, where your degree can make or break you.  It's not like becoming a doctor,or a teacher, or an engineer; in the event planning industry, your degree is relatively insignificant. However, it IS important to HAVE a degree; so definitely go to school!  

You will need to learn how to plan events on your own, which I will discuss in greater detail further down below; but in the meantime, what classes and/or degree should you pursue?

  • If you have a "second runner up" passion or desire for a career, then take courses that will assist with that choice. For example, if you want to be an event planner OR a writer, then pursue a degree in Journalism (in addition, of course, to any event planning classes that are offered, if they are offered at all). If you want to be an event planner OR a teacher, then pursue a degree in education. That way, if your event planning career doesn't pan out for any reason, then you are ready to pursue your second choice career.
  • If you have your heart set on becoming an event planner and you don't have a second career choice, then I would strongly encourage you to pursue a degree in Business, with a minor in Marketing. I suggest this for two reasons; first of all, many people who go into event planning eventually decide to open their own business. Therefore, a Business degree will prove essential. Secondly, if event planning doesn't work out for you, or if you decide after fifteen years of the business to go in another direction, then a Business degree applies to just about any career path you might someday choose.
  • Similarly, a Communications degree would be a good choice. Although not as widely applicable as a Business degree, a Communications degree would create a good foundation which would prove useful in event planning.
  • And finally, many schools offer a Hospitality degree. This is also a good choice, however research this carefully. Many Hospitality degrees focus mostly on restaurant management and often hotel management, in addition to offering a few event planning classes. While the hotel side could apply toward an event planning career, it is not ideal (unless you want to go into Convention Services, which is the "event planner" within a hotel); and the restaurant courses are a waste of your time (unless, of course, restaurant management is an interesting option for you).  Therefore, don't fall for a Hospitality degree off the title alone.  Really research what you will be learning; you'd be better off with a Business degree than learning about restaurant management just because it's under the Hospitality program.  

Remember, once you start trying to break into the event planning industry, very few employers will care what your degree is in; because we all know that there aren't many event planning degrees available.  The only thing that employers care about is what you know about event planning. So, choose your degree based upon your back-up plan, and then learn about event planning on your own.

But how do I learn about Event Planning?

If you can't attend one of the few universities that has an event planning program, then you still need to learn the basics of how to plan events.

As I mentioned before, in these tough economic times, potential employers simply do not have the time or the resources to train beginners on how to plan events. They want someone who can hit the ground running. Therefore, pleading with them to "just give you a chance" because you "really, really want to become an event planner and just know I'd be great at it" won't work.

This means that you have to take it upon yourself to learn all about event planning on your own. 

You need to impress them with a resume and cover letter that shows them you know at least the basics of planning and the industry lingo. If you can't do this, then you'll never even be given the interview.

Check out my own fluff-free, affordable online Event Planner Course. It could be the smartest move you make toward your career!


But Knowledge Alone isn't Enough

And the most important advice I can give you?   While taking attending college, take this time to GET EXPERIENCE!

While event planning classes, education, and training are important, nothing is more important to getting a job in event planning then having hands-on experience.

Get involved with the event planning team at a sorority or fraternity, or other equivalent group. See if you can get involved with homecoming events, parent-day events, or anything else that is hosted by your school.

Also remember that there are plenty of events happening in your community that aren't related to the school.   Marathons, Race for Cure, the Avon Walk, Oktoberfests...and the list goes on and on. 

However, the market is so competitive these days, that even many volunteer positions require that you know the basics of how to plan events and the lingo of the industry. Therefore, unless you are able to attend a university that offers event planning classes, you simply must take it upon yourself to learn everything on your own.

You are at the prime time in your career to get it started off on the right foot. Take the time and energy to invest in volunteering; and I can guarantee it will shape the rest of your career!