How to Become an Event Manager: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

30 November 2021

Event managers help organise and coordinate events for their clients. Gaining relevant experience or earning a bachelor's degree can help you enter the dynamic world of event planning. Learning the requirements for obtaining this position can help you decide if it's the right career for you. In this article, we discuss what an event manager is, show you how to become one, list their duties and skills and provide a few related careers you may explore.

What is an event manager?

An event manager oversees all aspects of an event, from the initial planning stages through to the event execution. The events they manage can vary widely in type and size and may include conferences, concerts, parties and festivals. Managing finances is a large part of an event manager's role, as it's important that they create and deliver events that meet their clients' budgets. An event manager's specific tasks often depend on the client, venue and event.

Related: What Is the Function of a Manager? (Definition and Roles)

How to become an event manager

Below you can find a helpful guide on how to become an event manager:

1. Complete a diploma or certificate

The most common pathway to becoming an events manager is usually through the completion of a certificate or diploma. Certificates often take one year to complete, while diplomas often take two years. Both qualifications may include theoretical and practical studies.

A Certificate in Events or a Diploma in Event Management may provide you with the skills and knowledge to gain a position in the events industry. You may find work as an events manager with a diploma, though employers typically value candidates with experience. Completing a diploma is an effective pathway to gaining entry-level employment in this field.

2. Gain work experience

There are many roles in planning and coordinating an event, which can provide you with valuable work experience. Some companies and private clients may value experience more than a qualification. If you have a diploma relating to event management, you may gain employment as an event planner or event coordinator. These roles can have fewer qualification requirements than an event manager position, but can still involve managerial duties that a potential employer may value.

If you're not planning on gaining a qualification, you may apply for the role of an event assistant. While this position may not involve managerial activities, it can still provide insight into the events industry and planning process. If you gain extensive work experience as an events assistant, you may progress your career into a managerial position.

3. Consider a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree is not always necessary for becoming an event manager, though it can improve your chances of obtaining an event manager role. You can study for a bachelor's degree at university and may take three or four years to complete. A bachelor's degree usually comprises practical and theoretical studies that can provide you with extensive knowledge of the planning and managing of events.

A bachelor's degree in management, project management or event management may provide you with the skills to succeed as an events manager. Completing a bachelor's degree can also show your potential employer that you're dedicated to the industry. If a company oversees large events, such as concerts and national sports, they're likely to prefer candidates with extensive experience and advanced qualifications.

Related: Diploma vs. Bachelor (With How to Choose Between Them)

4. Apply for a career in event management

If you've obtained a tertiary qualification and gained relevant work experience, you can apply for an event management career. You may gain employment in companies that specialise in planning and coordinating events or through private clients. There may also be job opportunities in large corporations that regularly plan events for their employees or customers.

When applying for a new job, it's often beneficial to review and update your resume to ensure. Doing this can help ensure your resume is an accurate representation of your current education, experience, skills and objectives. Before you apply for a job, you can alter your resume to include subjects mentioned in the job posting. For example, if a job requires candidates with good time management, then you may highlight your time-management skills on your resume. You can apply for an events management career using the Indeed Job Board.

Common event manager duties

Below are some of the common responsibilities of an event manager:

Liaising with clients

Event managers communicate with clients to understand the logistics of an event, such as the expected attendance and duration. Event managers may also plan the event to include a theme specified by the client. Clients usually provide event budget details that an event manager uses for planning.

Working within budgets

The client usually states the limit for a budget. There are many costs that an event manager may consider when planning an event. For example, an awards night that hosts over 100 people usually requires a venue, catering company, audio equipment, insurance and entertainment.

Communicating with venues

Special events, such as concerts, usually require large venues that can accommodate thousands of attendees. These venues often have their own management team that works with an event manager. For example, a famous music band is likely to have its own event manager who liaises with the venue to plan and coordinate a concert.

Coordinating events

During an event, the event manager coordinates a team of employees and venue personnel to ensure the event goes as planned. They may employ many professionals, including chefs, entertainers and wait staff. The event manager coordinates these professionals to ensure they can effectively provide their services during the event.

Skills of an event manager

Below you can find some skills that you may benefit from as an events manager:

  • Creativity: Event managers can express their creativity when overseeing the organising of an event. Having a high level of creativity can help you plan events that engage attendees and offer them a memorable experience.

  • Problem-solving: Some event plans may require alterations because of variables such as weather. As an event manager, you can use your problem-solving skills to identify potential issues and apply a solution.

  • Communication: Working in this industry may often require you to communicate with a wide variety of professionals and clients. Having communication skills can allow you to coordinate and plan events efficiently.

  • Time-management: Large functions often involve several activities and performances. In event management, having time-management skills can help you effectively plan these activities to fit in the event schedule.

  • Adaptability: If you work for an events company, you may plan and organise several functions in a short period. Adaptability can allow you to change your planning strategies to suit each client.

Related: How to Develop Your Skills

Careers related to event management

As an event manager, there are often opportunities to advance and develop your career in the events industry. Below are some careers similar to event management, along with their average national salaries and typical responsibilities:

Event assistant

Average national salary: $57,850 per year

Primary duties: An event assistant usually helps in the coordination, planning and assembly of events. Their responsibilities often vary depending on the event or their employer. An event assistant may organise and manage documents during the planning phase of the event. Once the event begins, they may liaise with catering and entertainment professionals.

Event planner

Average national salary: $62,409 per year

Primary duties: An event planner plans the process of an event. They help event managers and directors to review logistics and plan budgets. Event planners may also contact clients and organise contractors for an event.

Event director

Average national salary: $172,400 per year

Primary duties: Event directors oversee an entire event. They consult with event managers and event planners to determine logistics and marketing strategies. Event directors ensure that the theme and structure of the event meet their clients' requirements.

How much does an event manager earn?

The average national salary of an event manager is $82,949 per year. The salary of an event manager can vary depending on the company they're employed. Large public events internationally televised employ event managers with substantial qualifications and work experience. These roles typically provide a higher salary compared to management roles in minor events.

An event manager earns a relatively high average salary when compared to similar roles, such as an event planner or event coordinator. There are usually opportunities for an event manager to advance their career, for example, pursuing a role as a director of events, which often attracts a higher salary.

Is event management a good career?

The role of an event manager is usually a good fit for candidates who enjoy expressing their creativity. The work environment of an events manager can often be fast-paced and require long durations of concentration. If you have skills in time management, organisation and communication, this managerial position may be a good career choice for you.

You may have rewarding experiences and receive job satisfaction as an events manager. Being able to provide the community with entertainment and giving the public memorable experiences often encourages people to join the events industry. If you become an events manager, you may also travel frequently. Many companies, such as travelling circuses, often tour the world, providing different countries with entertainment.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.