Whenever I speak to students or young professionals that are studying to become a meeting and event planner, the top question that I get asked is “what is a typical meeting planner salary”. I tend to go off on tangents regarding whether or not they’re self-employed or whether they work for a large association or corporation. But that doesn’t seem to satisfy them. So they’ll often asked the question again in different ways to try and see if I have a figure in my head.
The Event Planner Salary Depends on the type of Event Planning Job
Okay the direct answer. As we stated here before, the median salary for a meeting and event planner in the United States is $55,453. But the issue that I have with telling someone what the median salary range for a meeting planner is that then this figure gets locked in their head. And when they start interviewing for event planning jobs that they thought they would like, they’re finding their not being offered a salary anywhere near this range. Now that could be due to the recession that we seem to be stuck in lately. But you also have to step back and realize that there are many different types of meeting and event planners.
For Self-Employed Individual the Meeting Planner Salary Is Conducive to the Amount of Business
Even before the recession set in, many people that I know in the meetings and events industry were self-employed individuals. For the right personality type being a meeting planner and working for yourself can have a lot of benefits. For one, the salary range can be unlimited as it’s directly related to the amount of business that you book. But using that same line of thinking, if there’s no business then the meeting planner is probably the last person to receive a paycheck. And in a recession the latter is probably more the norm.
There is a bit of good news regarding event planner jobs. PCMA ( Professional Convention Management Association) will be publishing a survey which shows that those with event planning certification tend to have higher salary than those planners without. Certainly another reason why investing in yourself and becoming certified is a great idea.
Many meeting planners that have become self-employed often start their careers working in planning departments for large associations and/or corporations. After all the meetings industry is very large in the US. And believe it or not, even during a recession, meetings still occur. The hospitality industry as a whole is a huge driver of the economy in the US. It’s usually after the meeting planner has learned the ropes, so to speak, that they tend to venture off on their own. Most likely they have made a reputation for themselves and find it easy to secure new business. For these people the salary is a lot higher than the medium $55,453.
For those that are wondering how to become an event planner, my best piece of advice is always look at volunteer positions first. Many CVB’s are always looking for volunteers or ambassadors to help welcome large conferences and events to their cities. This is a great way to network as well as get involved in the industry to see if it’s for you. Another option is to check with meeting and event planning companies to see if they are offering any internships for which you can apply.
The medium meeting planner salary of $55,453 has a lot of variables factored in. For those meeting planners that are working for corporations and associations they would tend to fall in line with the medium. The real variable for meeting planners comes into play for the self-employed meeting planners. For those meeting planners that become self-employed after establishing themselves in the corporate world, the salary range tends to be higher than the medium. However for those meeting planners that have been forced into the self-employed world because of downsizing,may find that their salary will not hit the medium until they’ve had a chance to establish themselves.