How to Become a Lead Event Planner?

Are you thinking of becoming a Lead Event Planner or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Lead Event Planner, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Lead Event Planner job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
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Steps to Become an Event Planner

An event planner organizes and coordinates every aspect of a variety of social and professional events. If you have strong organizational and communication skills, you might want to become an event planner. In this article, we discuss the process you can take to become an event planner. Follow these four steps:

Earn a bachelor's degree.

Typically, most employers want to hire an event planner who has at least a bachelor's degree. Consider enrolling in an undergraduate degree program in meeting and event management. Some of the courses taught in these programs focus on human resource management, event sales, relationship management, and financial accounting. Other undergraduate programs you can major in include hospitality management, public relations, communications, and business management.


Get hands-on experience.

An excellent way to learn more about the industry is through hands-on experience. Depending on the undergraduate program you're enrolled in, you might have a chance to put your studies into practice via an internship at an event planning company. Outside of the classroom, you can look for volunteer opportunities at schools, festivals, or sporting events.


Put together a portfolio.

A portfolio is an excellent way to show off all your skills and accomplishments. They can include photos of events you've personally organized, testimonials, event brochures, and invitations. If you had to overcome any difficulties with specific events, whether that includes tight deadlines, budget constraints, or unforeseen issues with vendors, make sure you explain how you overcame these issues to put on an amazing event.


Select a specialization.

While some event planners work at all types of events, you might want to consider specializing in a certain type of event. This is key especially if you plan on starting your own business. Some of the more popular choices include weddings, birthdays, fundraisers, conferences, corporate retreats, and business meetings.


Obtain certification.

To prove that you have the knowledge and skills to work as an event planner, consider obtaining one or more of the following certifications:

  • Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP): Offered by the International Live Events, the CSEP designation recognizes those who have the ability, knowledge, and skill to plan a special event. You need at least three years of experience in the field and a passing grade in the examination.
  • Certified Meeting Professional (CMP): The Events Industry Council (EIC) issues this certification, which is given to those who specialize in organizing conferences and meetings. You must pass a written exam that covers meeting management.
  • Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE): Given by the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE), the CPCE is a nationally recognized program designed to give event planners the chance to establish themselves as experts in the catering, hospitality, and events industries. You must complete a training program and pass an exam.
  • Certified Conference and Events Professional (CCEP): The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) issues this designation, which is for those who want to organize events more effectively. You need at least two years of experience, have at least a bachelor's degree, submit a resume, and complete the CCEP program.

Lead Event Planner Career Path

Lead Event Planner

5 - 7Years of Experience
$48K - $75K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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45% advanced to

Assistant Director of Events

5 - 7Years of Experience
$48K - $75K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Associate Director of Events

5 - 7Years of Experience
$48K - $75K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Salary Trajectory

Lead Event Planner Career Path

Entry Level Event Planner
Events Associate Manager
Freelance Event Planner
Event Planner Manager
Event Planner Supervisor
Lead Event Planner
Senior Manager of Events
Assistant Director of Events
Associate Director of Events
Director of Events
Vice President of Events

Related careers in the Marketing Industry

Interested in other Marketing careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Lead Event Planner skills. Discover some of the most common Lead Event Planner career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Event Coordinator
0% skills overlap
31% transitioned to Event Coordinator