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If you've ever attended a wedding, birthday party, corporate event or bar mitzvah and marveled at how successful the event was, chances are the occasion was the work of an event planner. If believe you have what it takes to leave lasting impressions with attendees of a special event, a career in events planning is for you. A license is not required, but being certified helps you get a leg up on the competition.
If you have ever been involved with planning for a special event, you know the attention to detail required for the event to go off with out a hitch. Event planning is not only for celebrations but also for conferences and corporate meetings, product launches and commemorations. It's one thing to plan your best friend's birthday party and another to plan an event for political fundraiser or industry conference. Among other things, professional event planners handle duties such as conducting research, creating event design, securing a site and arranging for food, decor and entertainment.
While there is no license requirement to become an event planner, it’s probably in your best interest to obtain a Certified Special Events Professional, or CSEP. According to the International Special Events Society, the CSEP is "the hallmark of professional achievement in the special events industry." Receiving such a designation distinguishes you from the competition and speaks volumes to your potential clients about your level of commitment to your craft. You may also obtain certification as a Certified Meeting Planner.
Many colleges and universities offer courses in the field of event planning. For example, San Diego State University offers a certificate in partnership with Meeting Professionals International. Choose a program that is right for you and endorsed by a trade organization.
Becoming certified as a professional event planner may open up opportunities to expand your business, particularly if you currently plan events on a small scale. Large organizations are reluctant to use small mom-and-pop operations that do not have proper licenses or registrations. This requires that you officially register your business with the IRS, obtain require proper certifications and have event liability insurance.