10 Best Meeting and Event Planning Colleges 2023

event planning colleges
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If you have a knack for organization, a passion for creating memorable experiences, and a desire to pursue a career in the vibrant world of event planning, our article on meeting and event planning colleges is right for you.

In this article, we will delve into the realm of meeting and event planning colleges, exploring the educational opportunities they offer, the skills you can develop, and the exciting career prospects that await you.

Additionally, we will discuss the diverse career pathways that await graduates of meeting and event planning colleges. From working as event planners in hotels, resorts, or event management companies, to starting your own event planning business or working in non-profit organizations and government agencies, the possibilities are vast and exciting.

So, if you are ready to embark on a journey of creativity, organization, and endless possibilities, join us as we explore the world of meeting and event planning colleges. Discover the educational opportunities, gain insights into industry trends, and take the first step towards a fulfilling career in this exhilarating field.

Meanwhile, below is our table of content.

What You Should know About Meeting And Event Planning:

Meeting and event planning is a dynamic and rewarding industry that requires a unique blend of creativity, attention to detail, and effective project management. From organizing corporate conferences and galas to planning weddings and festivals, event planners play a vital role in bringing ideas to life and ensuring the smooth execution of memorable occasions. As the demand for professionally organized events continues to rise, the need for skilled and knowledgeable event planners has never been greater.

Meeting and event planning colleges provide specialized programs designed to equip aspiring professionals with the essential skills, knowledge, and industry insights needed to excel in this field. These colleges offer a range of degree options, including associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, tailored to meet the varying needs and career aspirations of students.

Throughout this guide, we will explore the courses and curriculum offered by meeting and event planning colleges, highlighting key areas of study such as event design, logistics, marketing, and budgeting. We will also delve into the experiential learning opportunities available, including internships and hands-on projects, which provide invaluable practical experience and help you build a professional network within the industry.

Event Planner Career Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a majority of meeting, convention, and event planners are typically required to possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for these professionals was $49,370. The BLS also projected an 11% job growth rate for meeting, convention, and event planners from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the national average.

What to expect from a career as an Event Planner or Manager

While event planning may appear glamorous, it is a profession that demands significant effort. Event planners are responsible for coordinating various elements to create a cohesive experience, requiring a diverse skill set for achieving success in their projects.

U.S colleges offer event management and planning programs that equip students with essential skills such as organization, leadership, communication, and teamwork, which are crucial for thriving in the event planning industry.

If you possess the ideal blend of enthusiasm, sociability, and meticulousness necessary for a career as an event planner or manager, here are some important details you should be aware of.

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University of Central Florida

 Orlando, FL

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meting and event planning colleges

The University of Central Florida offers 1 Event Planning degree program. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2020, 221 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 221 Bachelor’s degrees.

 Based on 17 Reviews

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Iowa State University

 Ames, IA

meeting and event planning colleges

Iowa State University offers 1 Event Planning degree programs. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 105 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 105 Bachelor’s degrees.

 Based on 13 Reviews

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George Washington University

 Washington, DC

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meeting and event planning colleges 2023

George Washington University offers 1 Event Planning degree program. It’s a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 31 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 31 Bachelor’s degrees.

 Based on 7 Reviews

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Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

 Indianapolis, IN

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis offers 2 Event Planning degree programs. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 20 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 16 Certificates, and 4 Master’s degrees.

 Based on 5 Reviews

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Central Michigan University

 Mount Pleasant, MI

Central Michigan University offers 1 Event Planning degree programs. It’s a large, public, four-year university in a faraway town. In 2020, 81 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 81 Bachelor’s degrees.

 Based on 6 Reviews

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Southeast Missouri State University

 Cape Girardeau, MO

Southeast Missouri State University offers 2 Event Planning degree programs. It’s a large, public, four-year university in a small city.

 Based on 3 Reviews

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Brigham Young University

 Provo, UT

Brigham Young University offers 1 Event Planning degree programs. It’s a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2020, 13 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 13 Bachelor’s degrees.

 Based on 14 Reviews

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Sullivan University

 Louisville, KY

Sullivan University offers 1 Event Planning degree program. It’s a small, private for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 4 Event Planning students graduated with students earning 4 Associate’s degrees.

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Rochester Institute of Technology

 Rochester, NY

The Rochester Institute of Technology offers 2 Event Planning degree programs. It’s a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb.

Missouri State University-Springfield

 Springfield, MO

Missouri State University-Springfield offers 1 Event Planning degree program. It’s a very large, public, four-year university in a midsize city.

Event Management and Planning Courses

Event management and planning programs offered by colleges focus on teaching students the necessary skills to effectively plan various types of events, ranging from meetings and conferences to formal dinners or parties. These programs typically consist of courses that can be categorized into three key areas:

  1. Business Skills: Students learn essential business skills that are crucial for event planning. This includes areas such as accounting, organization, time management, teamwork, and operations management. These skills are necessary for efficiently managing budgets, coordinating logistics, and ensuring the smooth execution of events.
  2. Industry Skills: The curriculum also covers industry-specific skills that are relevant to event management. Students are trained in catering management, including topics such as food and wine pairing, beverage theory, and proper serving techniques. These skills enable students to make informed decisions regarding menu planning, manage catering services effectively, and create memorable dining experiences for event attendees.
  3. Personal Skills: Event management programs also emphasize the development of personal skills essential for a successful career in the industry. This includes career preparation, communication skills, confidence building, leadership development, and self-promotion techniques. Students are prepared to present themselves in a professional manner, effectively market their services, and navigate the job market to secure employment opportunities.

In addition to classroom instruction, event management programs may incorporate hands-on training, case studies, and work placements to provide students with practical experience in the field. These opportunities allow students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios, further enhancing their understanding of event planning and management.

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Event Management and Planning Jobs and Salaries

A number of different specialties exist for event planners, including:

  • Personal events (weddings, birthdays, etc.)
  • Festivals and concerts
  • Corporate events
  • Trade shows and conventions

Upon graduation, event management and planning program graduates have various career options available to them. They can choose to work independently as consultants, providing event planning services to clients, or they can pursue full-time positions in diverse sectors such as hotels, resorts, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and many others. These opportunities expose them to a wide range of event planning experiences and industries.

The salaries of event planners can vary depending on factors such as the types of events they handle and the positions they hold within established organizations. For entry-level graduates of event management and planning programs, the average starting salary is typically around $30,000 per year. However, as they gain experience and expertise in the field, their salaries are likely to increase. Event planners with a higher level of proficiency and responsibility can earn higher salaries commensurate with their experience and position within the industry.

Event Planning Programs

As mentioned, there are undergraduate and graduate certificate programs available in event planning, as well as associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. While many of these programs result specifically in an event planning degree, some of these programs may combine related topics like hospitality or sports management. There are some degree programs related to event planning available at the doctoral level, but most of these programs result in a hospitality degree.

There are some online and hybrid degree programs in event planning available for flexibility. Below we discuss the common degree levels for event planning in more detail.

Associate’s Degree

At the associate’s level, students have the option to pursue degrees such as an Associate of Technical Arts (ATA) in Event Planning or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hospitality Management with a specialization in event planning. These programs typically have a duration of two years and may offer flexible options such as online or evening courses. While a bachelor’s degree is often preferred for event planners, an associate’s degree serves as a valuable starting point in the field. The courses included in these programs may cover various topics, including:

  1. Event Planning Fundamentals: Introduction to the basic principles, concepts, and processes of event planning.
  2. Event Design and Decor: Exploring techniques for designing and decorating events, including themes, color schemes, and layout arrangements.
  3. Venue Selection and Management: Understanding how to choose appropriate event venues and effectively manage logistics related to venue coordination.
  4. Budgeting and Financial Management: Learning the principles of budgeting, financial planning, and cost control specific to event planning.
  5. Marketing and Promotion: Studying strategies for promoting events, including marketing techniques, social media, and public relations.
  6. Event Production and Operations: Managing the operational aspects of event production, including timeline management, vendor coordination, and on-site logistics.
  7. Risk Management and Legal Considerations: Understanding risk assessment, safety protocols, and legal considerations associated with event planning.
  8. Event Technology and Audiovisuals: Exploring the use of technology and audiovisual equipment to enhance events, including lighting, sound systems, and multimedia presentations.

It’s important to note that specific courses may vary between programs and institutions, but these topics provide a general overview of the subjects typically covered in associate’s degree programs focused on event planning.

  • Risk management
  • Catering
  • Hospitality management
  • Entertainment

Bachelor’s Degree

Both on-campus and online bachelor’s degree programs in event planning and management are available to students. These programs are typically offered as Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees. Some programs may also incorporate other related subjects, such as hospitality and event management or sport, event, and hospitality management.

These bachelor’s degree programs often provide hands-on learning opportunities through field experiences and internships, allowing students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. The typical duration to complete these programs is four years. The courses offered in these degree programs cover a wide range of topics, including:

  1. Event Planning and Coordination: Learning the principles and strategies of planning and coordinating various types of events.
  2. Event Marketing and Promotion: Understanding the marketing techniques and strategies used to promote events and attract attendees.
  3. Event Design and Production: Exploring the creative aspects of event design, including themes, decor, audiovisuals, and production management.
  4. Financial Management for Events: Developing skills in budgeting, financial planning, and cost management specific to event planning.
  5. Event Logistics and Operations: Understanding the logistical aspects of event management, including venue selection, vendor coordination, and risk management.
  6. Event Technology and Digital Tools: Learning about the use of technology and digital tools in event planning, such as event management software and online registration systems.
  7. Professional Communication and Negotiation: Developing effective communication skills for working with clients, vendors, and stakeholders, as well as negotiation techniques for contract agreements.
  8. Legal and Ethical Considerations in Events: Examining the legal and ethical issues that arise in event planning, including contracts, liability, and professional ethics.
  9. Event Evaluation and Assessment: Learning how to evaluate the success of events, collect feedback from attendees, and assess the return on investment.

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Master’s Degree

Master’s degree programs in event planning are available under various titles, such as Master of Science (MS), Master of Tourism Administration (MTA), or similar designations. Some programs may also include terms like event management or event and meeting management. Certain programs offer a mix of online and on-campus coursework, providing flexibility for students. The duration of these programs can range from 18 months to two years.

Similar to bachelor’s degree programs, master’s degree programs in event planning emphasize experiential learning opportunities. Students engage in client-based projects, internships, and other practical experiences to gain hands-on industry knowledge. A capstone course or thesis is typically required to demonstrate mastery of the subject. In these programs, students may delve into various topics, including:

  1. Strategic Event Planning: Developing advanced strategies and techniques for planning and managing events, including budgeting, marketing, and logistics.
  2. Event Marketing and Sponsorship: Exploring advanced marketing approaches and sponsorship strategies for events, including brand partnerships and promotional campaigns.
  3. Event Operations and Risk Management: Analyzing advanced operational aspects of event management, including risk assessment, crisis management, and contingency planning.
  4. Global Event Management: Examining the complexities of organizing and managing events on an international scale, including cultural considerations, legal frameworks, and logistical challenges.
  5. Event Technology and Innovation: Investigating the latest technological trends and innovations in the event industry, such as event apps, virtual reality, and data analytics.
  6. Event Sustainability and CSR: Exploring the concepts of sustainability and corporate social responsibility within the context of event planning and management.
  7. Event Evaluation and Impact Measurement: Developing skills in evaluating the success and impact of events, including methods for data collection, analysis, and reporting.
  8. Leadership and Professional Development: Enhancing leadership skills and focusing on professional development for event planners, including strategic decision-making, team management, and industry networking.

Conclusion

meeting and event planning colleges provide valuable educational opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing careers in the field. Whether through associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree programs, these colleges offer a wide range of courses that cover essential skills and knowledge needed for success in the industry. Students can expect to learn about event planning fundamentals, event design and production, marketing and promotion strategies, financial management, and more.

Furthermore, meeting and event planning colleges often prioritize hands-on learning experiences, such as internships, client-based projects, and practical simulations, allowing students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. These experiences not only enhance their understanding of event planning processes but also provide valuable networking opportunities.

Graduates of meeting and event planning colleges have access to diverse career pathways, including roles as event planners, consultants, or managers in various sectors such as hospitality, tourism, corporate organizations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The demand for skilled event planners continues to grow, and with the comprehensive education and training received from these colleges, graduates are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the industry.

Whether you’re just starting your educational journey or looking to advance your career, meeting and event planning colleges offer the resources and support needed to thrive in this dynamic and exciting field. Embrace the opportunity to turn your passion for organizing memorable events into a fulfilling and successful profession.

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