Event planning: The career and the training

There are opportunities for a person to pursue a career in event planning. Youth can develop skills to lead to this career through 4-H.

Have you been to a conference at a hotel or convention center? Have you been to a community event like a carnival or a community day with rides, food, vendors and concerts? Have you been to an event for people to network and meet each other? If you have been to any events like this, you may realize that planning and organizing are two keys for the success of these events.

From a business perspective, do you enjoy planning and organizing events for people? If you do, have you thought about a career as an event planner? In the U.S. News and World Report, event planners are ranked in the Best 100 Jobs for 2014. For 2014, it ranks number 9 as the best job in business and number 53 as the best job overall. Some required skills for event planners are creativity, organization, flexibility, multi-tasking, and strong written and verbal skills. Some of the duties of event planners include meeting with clients, planning the details of an event, coordinating event services, monitoring event activities and processing bills.

A bachelor’s degree is preferred and some experience in event planning will assist in obtaining a job in event planning. Students interested in this profession can major in marketing, public relations, communications, business or hospitality management. Michigan State University offers Communications as a major and Public Relations as a specialization in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. MSU also offers Marketing and Hospitality Business in the Eli Broad College of Business.

According to Michigan State University Extension, training for a career in event planning can start in 4-H.  At 4-H club and teen leader meetings, youth have the opportunity to work with adults to plan and organize a variety of activities and events. Youth who enjoy planning and organizing should take the lead to help plan different events or activities with adults for the 4-H club or the local county 4-H Teen Leadership Program. This will give them a start to gain some type of experience in event planning. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has resources to assist youth gain skills relating to event planning like the Michigan 4-H Communications Toolkit for writing, speaking and marketing.

Through 4-H or other youth organizations, consider how planning and organizing events (and activities) can benefit youth for a career as an event planner. Consider how this can give them skills, experience and lead them to a major in college.

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