Becoming a Wedding and Event Manager in Alabama, US
Planning a wedding or significant event is not for the faint of heart. Many people who are faced with organizing even the most minor event will turn to a professional to ensure that it comes together seamlessly. This way, the host can focus on what’s important – their guests – with complete confidence that the details that bring it all together will move along as planned.
An event planner often logs long hours and faces the potential for dealing with and solving stressful situations on an ongoing basis. If you are a socially confident person who likes to be on the go and can problem-solve on their feet, then Wedding and Event Planning may be the perfect fit for you.
Many event planners in Alabama come into the profession through training in hospitality or another related industry as there aren’t any focused post-secondary programs.
What is Required?
While no laws prevent a person without training from entering the events management industry, proper training significantly adds to a person’s credibility and ability to secure clients. Many clients will want to hire someone who has had experience working on similar events. Often this experience is obtained through training, internships and entry-level jobs out of college and university.
Those interested in the industry may wish to pursue a degree in one or more of the following areas:
- Hospitality Management
- Public Relations
When considering which courses to take, you may want to look for programs that offer some of the following topics. They can be quite beneficial when working in the industry and will come in handy if you decide to start your own business.
- Special Events Marketing
- Facilities Operation
- Human Resources Management
- Media Relations
- Project Management Software
- Event Design, Coordination, Promotion, and Management
- Professional Ethics
- Contract Negotiations
- Risk Management
Education and Training
According to Universities.com, the schools with the best hospitality programs in Alabama are:
- The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL: This sprawling public university is located in a midsized town and features four different degree-granting hospitability programs.
- Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, AL: Also offering four degree-granting hospitality programs, Colombia Southern is a large, private for-profit university located in an outlying town.
- Auburn University, Auburn, AL: Offering only one four-year hospitality program, this public university is located in a small town.
- The University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL: This is a large public university that offers two degree-granting programs and is located in a midsized town.
- Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL: A small private university that offers one degree-granting program, students should be aware that is university is located in a rural town.
- Lawson State Community College, Birmingham, AL: Lawson State is a small community college that offers a two-year degree-granting program. The college is located in a midsized city.
Many event planners go the extra mile and decide to add certifications to their resumes, even when it’s not a requirement. These certifications bolster their experience and chances of being hired to manage large-scale events. Meetings Professional International (MPI) is a renowned organization that helps event planners become certified. Beyond networking opportunities and access to continuing education, MPI offers a unique program for event planners to receive their Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation.
Salary Expectations and Career Outlook
The average salary for an event planner in Alabama is about $40.000. However, those just out of school should expect to start with around $23,000. There are currently 400 employed event planners in the state.
At the time of print, Linkedin had 142 event planner jobs posted on its site. Many event planners start their own companies, but gaining the experience necessary might be best done by working for another company in the early stages of the planner’s career. Look for open positions in hotels, universities and colleges, and conference centers or specialized venues hosting events year-round.