Event coordinators are the behind-the-scenes professionals who direct all facets of an event. They stage political fundraisers and charity galas, put on weddings and bar mitzvahs and bring in headliners to rock extravaganzas. Most event coordinators have bachelor’s degrees, which assure a solid academic base in the theoretical and practical matters that they may encounter in the profession. Many also have real-world training in the form of internships and part-time jobs in the field.
Job postings for event coordinators often note a need for experience and organizational abilities before any educational requirements. However, many colleges offer certificate programs in event management and planning. At the University of Cincinnati, students can earn certification in Administrative Management Technology: Meeting/Event Planner and at George Washington University, they can become certified in event management through the International Institute of Tourism Studies.
Students who have excellent organization and communication skills may be able to land jobs as event coordinators with associate degrees in hospitality. Many community colleges offer such two-year programs. At North Shore Community College in Massachusetts, students entering the Tourism Hospitality Program take courses in tourism, hospitality, information technology and planning meetings, conferences and special events. Such content serves as a solid foundation to a future job as an event coordinator.
When organizations do post educational requirements for event planners, they often require a bachelor's degree in the field of hospitality. At Michigan State University, students can pursue such a degree with a concentration that reflects their strengths and personal interests. Likewise, private school Endicott College in Massachusetts has a hospitality major with an event planner concentration option.
Degrees in sports management are particularly worthwhile for students hoping to be event coordinators at stadium or arena facilities. Under its School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University offers its sport & recreation management majors a concentration in event leadership. Among the requirements for the program are a host of industry-apropos courses including program and special event planning, event marketing and sponsorship, space design and facility management and sustainable event management.
Hotel and Tourism
Event management concentrations often are offered under the broader major of hotel and tourism. At New York University’s Robert Preston Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, students concentrating in event management learn how to coordinate conferences, conventions and trade shows. Course focus includes branding, customer relations, licensing, marketing, merchandising, strategic pricing, revenue management and investment analysis and financing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 71,000 people were working as event planners in 2010 and the job outlook through 2020 is better than average. Perhaps that is why colleges are now offering event planning as a major in itself. At Indiana University, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in recreation, tourism, hospitality and event management.