How to Become an Event Manager in 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Event Manager

What does it mean to be an Event Manager?

An event manager is the individual who takes charge of planning organizing and executing events from beginning to end. They are responsible, for handling a range of event types including conferences, festivals, weddings, parties, fundraisers, and more.

The everyday duties of an event manager often include;

  • Meeting with clients to understand the objectives, budget, guest list, and other details related to the event.
  • Developing the theme, schedule, and program for the event.
  • Searching for and booking venues for the occasion along with caterers entertainment options transportation services and other necessary vendors.
  • Managing all staff members and volunteers involved in the event.
  • Supervising the setup of the event location as its smooth execution and dismantling afterward.
  • Ensuring that all aspects of the event meet quality standards while adhering to constraints and achieving desired goals.

In essence, an event manager acts as a conductor who oversees every aspect of an event to create a successful experience. They are responsible for both elements like developing themes and schedules well as logistical aspects such as scheduling arrangements, with vendors. Effective event managers possess a combination of creativity skills problem-solving abilities and excellent interpersonal skills.

Some types of events an event manager may work on include:

  • Conferences and conventions
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Galas and fundraisers
  • Weddings and social events
  • Community festivals
  • Trade shows and exhibitions
  • Corporate parties and outings
  • Product launches
  • Award ceremonies
  • Concerts and performances
  • Sporting events
  • Holiday events
  • Networking events

Event managers may work for event planning companies that are hired by clients to handle events. Or they may work directly for organizations and businesses with frequent events like hotels, resorts, convention centers, nonprofits, corporations, educational institutions, and more. Some event managers are self-employed as independent consultants.

The field is diverse and fast-paced. No two events are ever exactly alike. They get to combine their creative side with logistical coordination to pull off events ranging from small meetings to huge festivals. It offers an exciting career path for those who thrive on variety, organization, and helping events run smoothly.

Skills and Qualifications to be an Event Manager

To succeed as an event manager, certain skills and qualities are highly beneficial:

Important Skills

  • Organization: Event managers juggle countless moving parts and details. Being highly organized is crucial.
  • Budgeting: Maintaining budgets and managing costs is a central responsibility. Strong budgeting skills are essential.
  • Negotiation: They regularly negotiate with venues and vendors for the best rates. Strong negotiation skills can save a lot on costs.
  • Problem-solving: Issues large and small inevitably arise when planning events. They need to think quickly and solve problems creatively.
  • Attention to detail: Events require tending to endless tiny details. Having sharp attention to detail is a must.
  • Leadership: They guide teams of planners, vendors, and staff. Leadership skills are vital.
  • Multi-tasking: They work on multiple events simultaneously. The ability to juggle many tasks is indispensable.
  • People skills: Building relationships with clients and suppliers is key. Exceptional people skills help event managers succeed.
  • Customer service: Ensuring client satisfaction is the top priority. Event managers must provide exemplary customer service.
  • Communication: Event managers communicate constantly with stakeholders via email, phone, meetings, and more. Clear communication skills are essential.
  • Creativity: Event managers develop unique event themes, decor, activities, menus, and more. Creativity helps events be distinctive.

Useful Education and Backgrounds

There are various educational paths to becoming an event manager:

  • A bachelor’s degree in event management, hospitality, communications, public relations, business, or a related field provides a strong foundation. Some colleges offer dedicated event planning degrees.
  • Degrees in fields like marketing, project management, and finance can also be applicable. Courses in communication, business, and hospitality are helpful.
  • Formal training is not always required. Some experienced event planners advance to manager roles without a specific degree.
  • For those without a bachelor’s degree, completing an event planning certificate program at a college or university is recommended.
  • Gaining work experience under an experienced event manager can provide excellent training.
  • A background in hospitality, catering, wedding planning, or corporate event sales teams is a great preparation for an event management career.

Useful Certifications

  • The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification is the leading certification for event managers. It demonstrates mastery of event planning and management.
  • The Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) certification focuses on special events and fundraising galas.
  • Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) aims at corporate and business event planners.
  • Certified Event Designer (CED) certifies skills in event creative design and decor.
  • Certified Protocol and Events Management Professional (CPEP) concentrates on business etiquette and protocol.

Key Personal Qualities

  • Creativity – Event managers brainstorm creative ideas for events.
  • Composure – Keeping calm under pressure is imperative when issues arise.
  • Flexibility – Event managers must adapt to changing circumstances and needs.
  • Discretion – Managing confidential client data and event details discreetly is mandatory.
  • Optimism – Exuding a positive attitude puts clients at ease and motivates staff.
  • Energy – The job requires abundant energy to manage many logistics and details.
  • Dedication – Event managers must be willing to work long, irregular hours including weekends and nights.

The right mix of skills, education, and personal traits makes for a successful event manager able to expertly handle any type of event.

How to Become an Event Manager

event manager
event manager

For those aiming to break into a career in event management, there are several steps to take:

Gain Relevant Experience

  • Take on any event-related roles you can to gain experience – paid roles, internships, volunteer work, and more.
  • Assist at events with setup, registration, guest services, tear down, or other tasks.
  • Shadow or assist an event manager to observe their processes.
  • Get experience in related fields like catering, hospitality, wedding planning, or corporate event sales.
  • Build a portfolio documenting events you help plan and manage.

Earn a Degree or Certificate

  • Earning a degree in event management, hospitality, or a related field provides fundamental training and education on planning, organizing, promoting, and executing events.
  • Completing an event management certificate program is a faster option that offers event training for those without a bachelor’s degree.
  • Consider earning industry certifications like CMP or CSEP to boost your credentials.

Develop the Right Skillset

  • Take courses and seminars to hone key skills like budgeting, negotiation, marketing, and project management.
  • Develop proficiency in event management software and platforms for tasks like registrations, invoicing, surveys, etc.
  • Improve communication and people skills through public speaking groups like Toastmasters.
  • Build leadership abilities by taking on volunteer coordinator or chairperson roles in a professional or community group.

Network and Make Connections

  • Attend industry meetups, conferences, and events to connect with fellow event professionals.
  • Join professional associations like Meeting Professionals International (MPI) or International Special Events Society (ISES) that offer education, resources, and networking opportunities.
  • Follow event industry leaders on social media and read industry publications to stay up-to-date on trends.
  • Connect with event managers on LinkedIn to learn about job openings and gain insider advice.

With dedication and persistence, you can gain the experience, skills, and connections to launch a rewarding career managing events and bring visions to life!

Types of Event Management Jobs

Event Manager

Event management is a varied field offering diverse career paths and options:

Corporate Event Manager

Corporate event managers work internally for companies to plan events like conferences, trade shows, training, company parties, golf outings, awards ceremonies, and more. They coordinate logistics, manage vendors, ensure brand consistency, and support the company’s business goals. Most work regular weekday hours at company offices and event venues.

Association Event Manager

Associations have frequent events like member meetings, conferences, fundraisers, and networking functions. Association event managers handle the end-to-end planning and execution of these member events. Some associations focus on particular industries like healthcare, technology, education, and more.

Nonprofit Event Manager

Nonprofits like charities, foundations, and advocacy groups depend on events to engage supporters and raise funds. Nonprofit event managers plan galas, walks/runs, golf events, auctions, and more. Creativity and passion for the cause are valued in this role.

Festival and Special Event Manager

These managers handle large community events like cultural festivals, sporting events, parades, and celebrations. Responsibilities include planning, logistics, obtaining permits, security, vendors, and managing many staff and volunteers.

Wedding and Social Event Manager

Wedding and social event planners handle private events like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. This fast-paced role involves juggling countless details and making high-stakes events perfect for clients.

Hotel and Resort Event Manager

Hotels and resorts have regular events from small meetings to huge conferences and weddings. Their event managers handle planning and operations for all on-site events working closely with sales, catering, and banquet teams.

Convention Center Event Manager

Managing giant conferences, trade shows, and public events at convention centers and exhibition halls involves extensive logistical coordination. Responsibilities include vendor management, booking space, scheduling, staffing, and setup.

Destination Management Company (DMC) Event Manager

DMCs specialize in creating corporate events, meetings, and incentive trips to desirable destinations. Their creative event managers handle all local event production and management for corporate client programs.

The diverse options allow finding a role tailored to your skills, interests, and goals. With experience, event managers may advance to senior manager, director, or partner-level positions. Some leverage their skills to successfully start their event planning businesses.

Event Manager Salaries and Job Outlook


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for meeting, convention, and event planners in the U.S. is $50,280 as of May 2021. The lowest 10% earn less than $30,910 and the highest 10% earn more than $88,610.

Factors impacting salaries include:

  • Location: Salaries are higher in major metro areas and coastal cities. The highest salaries are in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Boston.
  • Experience: More seasoned managers earn substantially higher pay than entry-level.
  • Industry: Corporate event managers typically earn the highest salaries.
  • Employer: Salaries are higher at luxury hotels, big corporations, convention centers, and large event planning agencies.

The pay scale can range quite widely in event management:

  • Entry-level / Assistant Event Manager: $35,000 – $50,000
  • Event Manager: $45,000 – $70,000
  • Senior Event Manager: $60,000 – $90,000
  • Event Director: $75,000 – $120,000+
  • VP of Events: $100,000 – $150,000+

There is great potential to advance and increase earnings throughout a career. Gaining a reputation as an innovative, highly capable event manager leads to prime job opportunities.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for event managers is very strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of meeting, convention, and event planners to grow by 23% from 2020 to 2030, adding 33,200 new jobs. This is much faster growth than the average occupation.

Several factors contribute to the rosy outlook:

  • Businesses ramping up in-person conferences, trade shows, trainings, and corporate events as the pandemic wanes.
  • Increased leisure travel drives demand for more events at hotels, resorts, casinos, and tourist destinations.
  • More associations are resuming their regular conventions, conferences, and member events post-pandemic.
  • Weddings, parties, and social events rebounded after pandemic slowdowns.
  • New event venues, hotels, and convention centers continue to open worldwide.

Virtual and hybrid events are also now an increasing part of the job. Event managers adapt their skills as technology evolves.

Overall, a growing global economy, increasing business travel, and waning pandemic impacts signal abundant opportunities for aspiring event managers in the years ahead!

Insider Tips for Aspiring Event Managers

Gain any experience possible

Take any internship or volunteer opportunity you can get – even unpaid roles – to learn the ropes and make connections. Experience is invaluable.

Build vendor relationships

Having good relationships with venues, caterers, rental suppliers, A/V companies, etc. provides preferred access and better rates.

Master contracts

Understand legal contracts thoroughly. Poorly written contracts can cause major problems down the road.

Follow event trends

Keep up with the latest event technology, decor, activities, and production elements to infuse new ideas.

Manage client expectations

Avoid over-promising early in your career. Under-promise and over-deliver.

Balance creativity with practicality

Blend innovative ideas with cost, venue, and other logistical constraints. Creative visions must be executable.

Join industry groups

Networking groups like MPI and ISES provide education, career guidance, job boards, and connections.

Keep learning

Read industry blogs and books. Attend conferences and workshops. Successful managers continually expand their skills.

Stay calm under stress

Issues inevitably arise at events. Keep a level head to quickly solve problems.

Know when to delegate

You can’t do everything alone. Rely on your team members and assign tasks according to their strengths and expertise.

By following this advice, aspiring event managers can gain expertise and establish a stellar reputation. With passion and dedication, a fulfilling career bringing events to life awaits!


Event management offers an exciting, fast-paced, and rewarding career path for those who enjoy organizing, planning events, and bringing people together. As in-person events rebound from the pandemic, skilled event managers are in high demand.

This guide provided a comprehensive overview of what event managers do, what skills are required, how to gain experience, potential career paths, salary outlooks, and insider success tips. With the right combination of natural abilities, education, and drive, a future as a professional event manager can become a reality.

Event managers play a vital role in executing meaningful events and creating memorable experiences. If you dream of coordinating impactful events from creative vision to flawless execution, a career in event management may be the perfect choice!

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