Where Can Your Event Planner Certification Take You?
Are you bored to tears at the thought of sitting at a desk all day? Are you organized and outgoing? Do you have the stamina to work on your feet all day—and think quickly on your feet too, while you’re at it? If so, a career in event planning may be perfect for you. And we’ve got good news—it’s a highly dynamic career path to choose. To receive your event planner certification, all you need is your outgoing personality and a drive to succeed, and you’ll be on a very exciting track!
Optional step: getting that event planner certification. We’ve covered the pros and cons of event planner certification before, but just where can a certification as an event planner take you? We’ve got your answers!
Think about the next 5 years—where do you see yourself? Maybe you want to work in a big city as a corporate events planner, or independently as a wedding planner. Wherever you want your event career to take you, create a plan for yourself that outlines the path you need to get there. Does that path involve event planner certification? Should it?
In general, event planning is an unregulated industry, which means that you don’t need to become formally licensed to work in this field. You can start in an entry-level role and work your way up, but there are definitely advantages to completing proper event planner certification and there are programs available that will only take a year to complete. Before deciding, look into what kind of event planner certification might be right for you.
The sooner you’re certified, the sooner you can begin your career journey!
Once you have your event planner certification—whether it be an International Event Planning Professional (IEPP), or an International Event and Wedding Planner Professional (IEWP), for example—it’s time to get out into the world! These are two very different certifications and each can lead you down a road of possibilities.
With your IEPP certification, some events you’ll organize will include:
- Birthday Parties
- Charity Galas
- Corporate Events
With this certification, you’ll be focused on parties and events, rather than weddings.
Upon graduation, getting your foot in the door can be a challenge. This is where your stamina and drive come in—don’t wait around for your ideal job to arrive. Grab opportunities as they pop up. Don’t be afraid to take assistant roles at hotels or public relations firms. Don’t overlook volunteer positions, either—you’ll gain valuable, hands-on experience, and a chance to network. Who knows, a connection you make could prove invaluable one day!
If you earned your IEWP certification, you’re more wedding-focused. In addition to weddings, you’ll organize some of these events:
- Stag & Doe Parties
- Engagement Parties
Wedding planners and event planners share many of the same skills, but wedding planners are much more specialized. If you’re certified as a Wedding Planner, you can specialize in fields such as luxury weddings, destination weddings, same-sex weddings, and themed weddings.
Really, the sky is the limit!
Being Certified Has its Perks!
Certification as an event planner can open many doors for you, and this includes access to professional event planning associations and conferences—and often discounted ticket rates. Joining an association or attending a conference will allow you to meet other professionals to network and create brand awareness. It can also take you around the world for a specialized meeting, workshop, or conference!
- The Event Planner’s Association (EPA) is a California-based national trade association for event professionals that allows members to network with one another and share insights and tips. Some of their annual events include a Wedding Professional’s National Convention and a Summer Bash to connect with hospitality and event professionals. Their website also has a career section with current job opportunities in your field.
- The Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) is a growing association of independent event planner entrepreneurs. They hold thousands of conferences and events across Canada every year, and membership includes discounted tickets! In order to become a member, you must be a self-employed event planner or owner, but there is a special membership for professionals who work for event planners. So no matter where you are in your career, you can still participate in and reap the benefits of this association.
- Wherever you live, there’s bound to be a local, national, or international association to help you meet other professionals, access valuable planning resources, and continue to learn. Do a little research!
- Luxury Wedding Planners are one lucky bunch—Engage! Summits bring together the best in the luxury events industry for three day conferences. Some upcoming summit locations are Puglia, Italy and Sea Island, Georgia! The lineup of speakers is always first class, and the events allow attendees to learn, plan, and be inspired by one another.
- The Event Planner Expo, which takes place in October, is New York City’s biggest event industry networking event and allows event planning professionals to form relationships and gain new business. This conference is a great way to build your contact list and create brand awareness while mingling with other professionals in one of the most exciting cities in the world!
- Check out our list of wedding and event industry conferences from a previous post!
Oh, the Possibilities!
Event planning is such a dynamic career path.
As with any field, continuing to learn and expand your expertise is key to growth and success. As an event planner, you wear many hats in your role and are constantly using your creative muscles to execute beautiful events.
Keep on top of current event and wedding planning trends by reading the latest publications—these can include magazines, books, and newspapers. For example, if the current trend in corporate parties is the use of photo booths, educate yourself on what is required to assemble them and how to acquire them on a budget. Or if treat tables are becoming more popular at weddings, become an expert at different varieties of these tables so you can make informed suggestions to your clients.
Do your research on industry websites and make notes for future events, and lastly, don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off of your peers. Expanding your knowledge base will allow you to grow within your career, and enjoy the possibilities that lay ahead!