Online Degrees in Event Planning

Event planners are hospitality professionals tasked with coordinating and producing all aspects of an event. These events can range from major productions, like conventions, meetings, concerts, or sporting events, to smaller affairs. Using a combination of customer service, marketing, and interpersonal skills, event planners must display an exceptional attention to detail to ensure that their clients' events go off without a hitch. Event planning degree programs can help prepare aspiring event planners for careers in this fast-paced and competitive space.

How to Choose the Right Event Planning Degree

Entry-level positions in event planning may only require a high school diploma or certificate along with relevant experience. However, as events become bigger and more complex, many employers look for candidates who hold at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Management positions may require a graduate-level degree.

Online degrees in event planning range from certificate programs to master's degrees. Interested students should carefully choose the degree path that will help them achieve their long-term career goals. In the chart below, you'll find the types degrees available, along with some common positions they could lead to:


Length of Completion

Potential Careers

Certificate in Event Management

Less than two years

Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner; Food Service Manager; Lodging Manager

Associate in Event Planning

Associate degrees typically take up to two years of full-time study to complete.

Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner; Food Service Manager; Lodging Manager

Bachelor's in Event Planning and Meeting Management

These programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.

Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner; Food Service Manager; Lodging Manager; Fundraiser

Master's in Hospitality Management

These programs take up to two years of full-time study after completion of a bachelor's degree.

Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner; Food Service Manager; Lodging Manager; Fundraiser

Students who enjoy handling the details of special events, wish to work with non-profits, and have a desire to work in a fast-paced industry may be a great fit for event planning degree programs. A love for entertaining guests, juggling logistics, and a keen eye for details are a must. Courses in these programs commonly cover areas such as event management, conference management, meeting planning, special events coordination, and more.

What to Expect in an Event Planning Program

While pursuing an online degree in event planning, students can expect to receive training that is specifically focused on preparing for and supervising large and small-scale events. They'll also receive training and knowledge related to the hospitality industry as a whole.

In addition to planning and managing the actual events, positions in the event planning industry require employees to understand a wide variety of business and marketing concepts. Through online degrees in event planning, students can obtain the basic knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this growing industry. Curriculum will vary by school and degree type. However, core courses in event planning typically include:

  • Fundamentals of Event Management
  • Mechanics of Event Planning
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management Research
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Events Entertainment
  • Sporting Events Management
  • Approaches to Philanthropy
  • Principles of Conference and Meeting Management
  • Principles of Advertising and Marketing
  • Introduction to Small Business Management
  • Special Event Coordination
  • Wedding Planning and Management
  • Attractions and Parks Administration
  • Club Management

For most online degrees in event planning, internships are required to be completed prior to graduation. These internships are typically completed with local convention centers, festivals, entertainment venues, or other hospitality businesses involved in event planning. Along with real-world experience, internships provide students with opportunities to network with industry professionals, and may lead to entry-level employment positions.

Event Planning Degree Specializations

Because different events require specialized knowledge and skills, graduates of event planning degree programs may be able to specialize in the following areas:

  • Association Planning
  • Convention Service Management
  • Corporate Planning
  • Event Planning
  • Government Meeting Management
  • Healthcare Meeting Management
  • Non-Profit Event Planning

Although most event planning programs do not offer degree specializations, students may select elective courses that will help prepare them to specialize in their particular areas of interest after graduation.

Benefits of an Online Degree in Event Planning

Event planning is a complex discipline that requires employees to master a number of different skills in order to be effective. When meeting with potential clients, event planners must display excellent customer service and sales skills. During the actual coordination and production of the event, it is the event planner's job to oversee all aspects. This requires a sharp attention to detail and excellent work ethic. Additionally, event planners need to understand the basics of design and certain computer applications.

In today's marketplace, much of the event planning process takes place online. That makes online degrees in event planning the perfect fit for students interested in this exciting field. Students enrolled in event planning degree programs online learn how to use technology to effectively communicate and connect with their professors and fellow classmates. They also learn how to leverage new technologies to acquire the most up-to-date information and deliver memorable state-of-the-art experiences.

Online students typically have the ability to complete coursework whenever it is convenient for them. Because of this, working adults and students with families are a perfect fit for the online learning environment. With round-the-clock access to study materials and lectures, students in online programs have the flexibility to design a study schedule that suits their already busy lifestyle.

Careers in Event Planning

As part of the greater hospitality industry, event planners can find themselves working in any number of different business venues. In each case, event planners concern themselves with meeting the expectations of their clients and providing a memorable (and seamless) experience for all who attend. Excellent customer service skills, an attention to detail, and basic sales and marketing know-how are required for any event planning position. Using wage and employment data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the chart below lists several career options for graduates of event planning degree programs:

Average Salary
Expected Job Growth
(2014 - 2024)
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners95,850$52,02010.2%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

To learn more about online degrees in event planning, visit any of the school websites listed below.

Food Service Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm
Fundraisers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/fundraisers.htm
Lodging Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm
May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm

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