The Pros and Cons of an Event Coordinator Career
The career prospects for event coordinators are very bright, with a variety of job settings available. Continue reading to learn more details about an event coordinator career to see if it's right for you.
|Pros of an Event Coordinator Career|
|Excellent career prospects (33% growth projected from 2012-2022)*|
|Variety of employment settings possible (state and local governments, hotels, religious organizations, support services)**|
|Job provides variety (scoping out locations, meeting with clients and vendors, meal planning, advertising)*|
|Job benefits include travel and food***|
|Cons of an Event Coordinator Career|
|Job can be stressful when problems arise, such as last-minute changes by clients*****|
|Long, irregular hours with some weekend work*|
|Conflict situations frequently occur****|
|Coordinators are responsible for the health and safety of attendees****|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Schoolcraft College, ***University of Pennsylvania, ****iseek.org, *****U.S. News & World Report.
Essential Career Info
Job Description and Duties
Event coordinators plan events such as conventions, weddings and conferences. They must consider every detail, including location, cost, food, transportation and rooms. Event coordinators also select service providers, such as caterers, florists, speakers and entertainment. They solicit bids, negotiate contracts and coordinate the variety of services needed to plan a successful event. In some cases, event coordinators must also market and promote events in order to encourage attendance, so public relations and advertising can be part of the job description. They might do this by mailing invitations, creating brochures, advertising through various types of media and developing a website.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
The mean annual wage of an event planner in 2014 was $50,190, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Career prospects for this occupation are excellent, with the number of jobs expected to increase by 33% between 2012 and 2022, much higher than average.
As technology has progressed, event coordination has become more complex, so many employers require a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, business, marketing, public relations or a related field. Sometimes a few years of pertinent experience are accepted in lieu of a degree. A formal education program for event coordinators typically covers topics like site selection, contract negotiation, budgeting, event promotion and marketing. You might also study meeting planning basics as well as special event planning, food and beverage selection, and wedding and social event planning.
An event coordinator must have computer skills, as well as time management, critical thinking and decision-making abilities. You'll also need to be able to organize and prioritize your tasks. Additional skills include:
- Written and oral expression and comprehension
- Inductive and deductive reasoning
- Orientation toward service industry
Actual Jobs Posted by Employers:
Most employers of event coordinators want to see experience, and some require a college degree. Job postings for event coordinators typically specify the kinds of duties required. Following is information from actual job listings that were posted in April 2012:
- A consulting company in New York seeks a senior event coordinator with five to seven years of experience for a full-time position that requires travel ten times a year. This coordinator will supervise staff and oversee events lasting for three or more days with a minimum of 250 attendees. Duties include selecting speakers and entertainment, interacting with clients and managing budgets. An associate's degree is required.
- A Minnesota hospitality services company wants to hire an event coordinator with a bachelor's degree and one or more years of experience for a temporary, full-time position. The candidate will manage all functions of this project, including merchandising, audiovisual presentation, food and beverage service, budget and programs. The coordinator will also act as liaison between the client, vendors and management.
- A bowling center in Connecticut is looking for an event coordinator with an associate's degree and at least one year of experience to work part time developing programs and events. The candidate must have marketing and sales skills in order to solicit business. Front desk duties will also be required.
Standing Out in the Field
You can increase your value as an event coordinator by accepting more responsibility and learning new tasks. Finding ways to improve efficiency is another way to get noticed. If you have experience without a formal education, obtaining a certificate in event planning or a degree in hospitality management or an associated field can be a step to career advancement. When you get enough experience under your belt, it is possible for you to start your own consulting business in event planning or to get promoted to an executive directorship.
Joining a professional association for event coordinators is another way to improve your skills and demonstrate your professionalism to employers and clients. There are associations, like the Association of Bridal Consultants, for coordinators who work in specific niches, and there are also organizations open to every type of event coordinator, such as the Association of Meeting Professionals and the Event Planners Association. Membership in a professional association offers networking opportunities and educational resources that can help you advance in your career.
Other Careers to Consider
Public Relations Specialist
If you like working with people and the media, but don't want to be responsible for all of the activities that an event coordinator must juggle, a career in public relations might be more to your liking. Public relations specialists are the liaisons between an organization and the public. Their job is to create and preserve a certain image for their client. Their job duties include arranging interviews, writing press releases and developing contacts in the media. Like event coordinators, public relations specialists generally need a bachelor's degree to obtain employment, but the pay is higher, with a mean annual wage of $60,000 in 2011, according to the BLS. The career prospects for public relations specialists are good, with a projected job growth of 21% between 2010 and 2020.
Lodging managers are responsible for the operation of accommodations where people spend the night without the need to consider all the other aspects involved in event planning. They work in various settings, including hotels, inns, boardinghouses, resorts and camps. Their job duties include keeping track of the budget, ensuring that the facilities are clean and attractive in appearance, answering visitors' questions and registering guests. They also interview and train employees and handle staff discipline. According to the BLS, lodging managers received a mean annual wage of $55,000 in 2011. Career prospects aren't as good as those for event coordinators and public relations specialists, with job growth projected to be only 8% between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than average.