How to Choose a Party Planner School
Have you always been an outgoing, organized person with an eye for detail? Do you love to have fun and encourage others around you to enjoy themselves? If so, an event planning career could be the perfect fit for you. Once you’ve made the decision to pursue this career path, it’s time to become properly trained and certified. After all, you want to offer your clients the very best planning services, and you can’t do so without the right knowledge and skills under your belt.
Because the right training can make or break your event planning career, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s why we’re here to help you choose the right party planner school for your interests and career goals. Read on and take notes!
What to watch out for
Instead of diving into what a party planning school should offer you, we’re going to start with a list of poor practices you should be mindful of (a hall of shame, if you will). Not all party planner schools are created equal, which is actually positive! You have a number of options when choosing the right training, but you need a trained eye to know what to look for. Here are some very common practices common amongst subpar party planning schools…
No hands-on training
Many career-focused schools will provide students with piles of course textbooks, knowing that the student will gain the skills they need by studying. If you’ve got your sights set on party planning, however, your education will look very different. Event planning is one of the most hands-on, practical careers out there, and you’ll only learn through doing. This is why it’s vital for your party planner school to have a lengthy list of practical assignments that cover topics ranging from sourcing decorations online to coming up with a theme for a baby shower. You’ll need to be able to think on your feet in this industry, and to consider all possibilities when planning an event.
Part of what makes event planning courses so fun is the fact that you can work through real-life scenarios and actually learn what it’s really like to be a professional party planner! You don’t want to earn your certification only to realize you lack the necessary tools and knowledge to be competitive in the industry!
As a student in any course, you need to be mentored and nurtured by your instructor. Specifically, as an aspiring party planner, you need to be shown the ropes in a variety of different ways. Critical thinking skills will ensure you provide your clients with the best possible service, while an ability to budget and see the big picture will allow you to plan the best events possible. The instructor of your party planning courses, therefore, needs to have some serious industry experience under their belt, and has to be willing to share their expertise and insider tips with you as the student. Otherwise, how will you possibly learn?
As you research potential party planner schools, make sure you find out who your instructors are. Learning from the best is undoubtedly going to give you a competitive edge when you graduate, and who knows, you may even develop a great relationship with your instructor and go on to work with them!
Pro Tip: To help you be the best possible planner, feedback is essential. And if you choose the right school, your clients won’t be the first to provide you with opinions and reviews! You need tutors who are not afraid to tell you exactly what they think about your assignments. Choose a school with instructors who are both well-seasoned and not afraid to provide constructive criticism. You’ll benefit greatly from this, and so will your future happy clients!
No reviews or credentials
It’s human nature to want to read successful accounts of those who have walked your path – especially before making a big life decision! You can really judge how good a program is by the long list of successful entrepreneurs who have completed the course, often featured as reviews on Facebook. These testimonials will come directly from students and graduates, who have begun their careers and likely also have websites or social accounts for you to view as further testimony of the school. If they’ve started their own businesses, or are working various event jobs, you’ll be able to find out – and can even reach out to them for their insights into the school!
When should you be worried? When there are no reviews to be found, or when the school is missing an accreditation. A lack of these features shows that the school has failed to produce happy, successful graduates, and that they do not operate an honest and fair institution. Steer clear!
What it SHOULD look like…
We get it – the list above is pretty discouraging, especially since these are common among party planner schools. However, knowing to look out for these common issues will allow you to make the right decision about your education. So, what does the ideal party planner school look like? Here is a list the school should have:
The right content to promote success
We mentioned earlier that not all event planning courses are created equal, but that’s a good thing! In order to ensure your party planner training is as thorough as possible, the right course material is key. Our recommendations? Risk management should have its own unit – this is an integral part of the planning process that is applied at every stage, including scouting venues, budgeting, and sourcing caterers. The curriculum should also dedicate significant time spent to post-event evaluation, which will provide you with helpful insight into your own party planning skills. Not only is this important as you learn, this insight is absolutely essential if you may be interested in running your own business someday. Make sure your party planner school teaches this! Finally, you should be entering into the industry with an understanding and sensitivity to cultural variations. More and more social groups are seeking to throw events outside of the usual party theme, so your course should be teaching you what you need to know to avoid a potential PR disaster.
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of hands-on training and how a lack of it signals a red flag. In that same vein are internship opportunities, and these are a key feature of any school. Internship or co-op placements will allow you to put your skills to use in the real world, giving you the opportunity to network and potentially land yourself a full-time job in the future. In the case of the best online party planner schools, online career resources are just as important – you’ll be given the chance to connect with fellow students and graduates in online forums. This is an excellent way to share ideas and connect with learn from other professionals! Who knows, you may end up with an event job in the process!