Some people think that event planning is getting paid to throw parties. And while planning parties is part of the job, there is far more to event planning than putting a party together.
Event planning involves the management of all the project details. This includes creating a timeline for project completion and planning food and drinks. You often have to find entertainment. It might also include creating a theme and hiring keynote speakers. Managing the budget for the event is a primary job duty too.
Since event planning is a complex task, it requires that you have the right background for the job. Event planning classes are a great place to start your career. You can learn the required knowledge and skills that will help you land your dream event planning job.
When searching for event planning classes online, it can be hard to determine which ones are the best fit. To help you identify the best event planning courses online, we’ve developed a three-part methodology. Our methodology will help you separate the top classes from the crowd.
Our methodology is based on these factors:
Using these factors, we’re able to rank event planning courses to help you decide which one is right for you.
Our methodology is explained in greater detail below.
Methodology to Determine the Best Online Courses for Event Planning
Event planning courses vary greatly from class to the next. Some offer a great price. Others are easy to access and learn from anywhere you are. Still others provide you flexibility of when and where you learn. Some classes have a combination of all three factors.
Classes for event planning are often chosen based on price. There are lots of free event planning courses online. But don’t discount a class just because you have to pay for it. There might be more value for you in a class that charges a small fee than one that’s free.
It’s important to go beyond cost when looking at online event planning classes too. How accessible is the course? Can you start your studies right away? Are the course materials available offline? These are necessary questions to think about.
Likewise, you want to look for event planning classes online that allow you to study when you can. Having flexibility to learn any time of day, any day of the week is critical for many online learners.
Let’s dive into the details of these three methodology factors.
The affordability of event planning courses online is not the only factor you should consider. But it is the most important factor for most people.
As you’ll see below, there are free event planning courses online. But as noted earlier, don’t discount a course just because it has a fee.
Sometimes, paid classes offer more depth of learning than free classes. This is not always the case, but it’s worth noting. You’ll find several paid courses on our list. These courses offer many advantages despite the money it costs to take the class.
We use this factor to rank courses as follows:
- Under $250: 6 points
- $251-$499: 5 points
- $500-$999: 4 points
- $1,000-$1,999: 3 points
- $2,000-$2,499: 2 points
- $2,500 and above: 1 point
Since affordability is the most important factor for most people, we’ve given it added weight in our rankings.
Not all event planner courses online have the same level of access.
For example, some courses allow you to begin your studies immediately upon registering. Others require time to process payment. Yet others might ask you to complete an orientation before getting started.
Additionally, some event planning classes have learning materials that are available offline. This helps you learn in the event you don’t have immediate access to the internet.
Another accessibility factor is the number of languages supported by the course. Some courses are offered only in English. Others are offered with numerous languages.
To rank courses based on accessibility, we use the following scoring system:
- Highly accessible: 2 points
- Moderately accessible: 1 point
- Low accessibility: 0 points
One of the biggest reasons to learn online is being able to learn when and where you want. But not all event planning classes online have the same flexibility.
For example, some event planning courses are self-paced. This means you get to work as quickly or as slowly as you want. Other classes are instructor-paced. This type of class has a set schedule. Set schedules make these kinds of classes less flexible.
We’ve ranked the best event planning courses online using the following criteria:
- Highly flexible: 2 points
- Moderate flexibility: 1 point
- Low flexibility: 0 points
By evaluating classes using these three criteria, we’re able to identify the value of each course more easily.
Below, we’ve listed the ten best online courses for event planning based on our methodology.
Ranking the Best Online Courses for Event Planning
#10: Event Planning Certificate
This certificate is from Emory University. It is for people with no event planning experience.
The focus of this program is on the skills needed to plan events. You’ll learn how to plan events from start to finish. There is a focus on creating concrete objectives. You’ll also learn how to develop timelines.
Additionally, you’ll learn how to:
- Create budgets
- Solve problems
- Practice ethically
This course provides you with advice on getting event planning experience. Getting experience is critical for getting jobs later on.
Affordability: $2,000 (at the time of writing). This price includes tuition for six courses. Certification is also included.
Accessibility: Moderate. This program requires on-campus learning. Emory is in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flexibility: Moderate. You have up to 18 months to complete the course. The final project is done online. If you aren’t in the Atlanta area, getting to campus for traditional classes could be difficult.
#9: Diploma in Hospitality Operations
This diploma is offered by the International School of Hospitality. The focus is on the hospitality industry as a whole. You can specialize in event planning, however.
You’ll take courses in hospitality management. You’ll also take a course in marketing and sales. Other core courses include:
- Hospitality supervision
- Professional presence
- Hospitality externship
Additionally, you’ll choose two elective classes. For event planning, you can take Conference Management and Event Planning. You can also take Event Design and Production.
Affordability: $8,250 (at the time of writing). This price covers six classes. One externship is included. The cost of the diploma is also included.
Accessibility: High. You can take courses online 24/7. You’re assigned a teacher to provide you with one-on-one help online as well.
Flexibility: High. There are many different learning options. You can learn completely online. You can also choose a mix of on-campus and online learning if you’re in the Las Vegas area. Accelerated courses are also available.
#8: Event and Wedding Planning
QC Event School is one of the most recognized event planning schools in the world. This event and wedding planning course is one of their most popular.
This course has seven units. Each unit focuses on an important topic. You can expect to learn about:
- How to create unique experiences for each client
- How to select the right venue
- How to plan different kinds of events
There are also specific units on weddings. You’ll know how to plan everything from the ceremony to the bridal shower.
This course also guides you in setting up a wedding planning business. This includes learning how to write a business plan.
After completing this top event planning class, you will be certified. The certification is International Event and Wedding Planning Professional.
Affordability: $894 (at the time of writing). Payment plans are available to help make the cost more manageable.
Accessibility: High. You can begin learning immediately. All course materials are available online. This includes textbooks and video tutorials.
Flexibility: High. You can complete the class at your own pace. There are many different learning materials to help you understand key concepts. You must complete the course within two years.
#7: Master’s Certificate in Event Management
This advanced certificate course is provided by the International Institute of Event management. It is designed for experienced event planners. Beginners with the Certificate in Event Management can also benefit from this course.
This course has six modules. Each module can be taken independently if desired. The modules include:
- Introduction to Event Management
- Fundamentals of Event Management
- Corporate Event Management
- Social Event Management
- Wedding Planning
- Advanced Event Management
The focus of this event management class is on practical knowledge. You’ll learn skills needed to manage events of all sizes and kinds.
To complete the certificate, you must finish each module. Your work must also be approved by the faculty. Once done with this course, you qualify for the GCPE® Global Certification in Professional Events.
Affordability: $875 (at the time of writing). You can pay per module if you prefer.
Accessibility: High. Learning materials are available online. Once registered, you have full access to course materials.
Flexibility: High. This is a self-paced course. Access course materials on any internet-enabled device.
#6: Online Event Planning Course
This event planning course is offered by the New York Institute of Art and Design. This beginner course is designed to help you gain skills needed to be a professional event planner.
Throughout the course, you’ll explore topics important to the industry. This includes:
- How to work with vendors
- How to network
- How to plan various kinds of events
You’ll learn the subtle differences between planning a party and a conference. You’ll also get insights into planning fundraisers and meetings.
This event planning class is project-based. This means you will finish multiple projects that require you to put your learning to the test.
Affordability: $699 (at the time of writing). A full refund is available if you aren’t satisfied within the first two weeks of the course. This price includes the cost of getting an accredited event planning certification online.
Accessibility: High. You get 24/7 access to online course materials. This includes course lessons and video. You also get one-on-one feedback from an event planning mentor. A team of advisors is also available by phone and email.
Flexibility: High. You have up to 18 months to complete the course. You also have 24/7 access to a student forum where you can seek help.
#5: Private Event Planning Course
This private event planning course is offered by QC Event School. The course is designed for beginners with no experience in event planning.
You can expect to learn how to plan many different kinds of events. You’ll also gain skills to work with a variety of clients.
Coursework focuses on the following areas:
- How to plan industry events
- How to work with private clients
- Prioritizing budgets
Instruction is provided by experts in the field. The result is that you graduate with expert-level training. Taking this course also results in an industry-recognized certification.
Based on QC Event School reviews, this is one of the best online courses for event planning offered by QC Event School.
Affordability: $639 (at the time of writing). Payment plans are available.
Accessibility: High. You get 24/7 access to online course materials. QC Event School sends you all the learning materials, including electronic books and videos.
Flexibility: High. You can work at your own pace. You also have two years to complete the course.
#4: Certificate in Event Management
One of the best online event planning schools is the International Institute of Event Management. They offer this certificate course.
This course is a comprehensive program. It prepares you for becoming an event planning professional. The class is geared toward beginners. However, people with event planning experience can also benefit.
The program consists of three modules:
- Introduction to Event Management
- Fundamentals of Event Management
- Corporate Event Management
By completing each of these modules, you get a well-rounded education. This certificate program is also a good step in getting a Master’s Certificate in Event Management.
Since this is a beginner course, there aren’t many prerequisites. You need a high school diploma or GED. You also need access to the internet.
Affordability: $445 (at the time of writing). You can also pay per module if you prefer.
Accessibility: High. You have online access to learning materials around the clock. Course materials are available immediately upon registration. You can access the course on any internet-enabled device.
Flexibility: High. This is a self-paced course. You can complete work on weekdays, the weekend, or both.
#3: Event Planning: Where to Start
Skillshare offers this beginner event planning course as part of their premium membership. The course is designed for new event planners that need guidance on how to get started.
The course starts with a discussion of crucial things to consider. This includes understanding different needs for different events. It also includes basic tips for budgets.
Other lessons in this class cover:
- Audio/visual needs
- Renting equipment
Specifically, you’ll learn how to pre-plan to save money on the items listed above. The goal is to develop a framework you can use for any event planning jobs you get.
This course ends with a class project where you can put your learning to the test.
Affordability: $8.25/month (at the time of writing). You can also pay yearly for $99.
Accessibility: High. This course is one hundred percent online. Course materials are readily available to download. You can access the course anywhere you have internet.
Flexibility: High. Learn at your own pace. Each lesson is very short. This is great for learning on the go.
#2: Event Management
This free event planning course is offered by Oxford Home Study Centre. This is a short course. It provides an overview of key event planning concepts.
Specifically, you’ll learn how to be an event manager. Event managers are responsible for bringing all the different parts of the event together.
Your studies will revolve around three major topics:
- Modern event management
- Fundamentals of event creation
- Effective event marketing strategies
By combining studies of these three concepts, you get a solid introduction to managing events.
You don’t need any event planning experience to take this course. Enrollment is free. You can start learning immediately.
Affordability: Free (at the time of writing)
Accessibility: High. This is a distance learning course. All learning materials are available any time online.
Flexibility: High. There are no deadlines. Learn at your own pace. Complete the class in as little or as much time as you need.
#1: Event Planning Foundations
This best event planning course was developed by Lynda and is offered on LinkedIn. It is a beginner course.
Event planning is all about bringing people together. In this class, you’ll learn how to turn your love of planning events into a paying career.
Learning topics include:
- How to understand your client’s needs
- How to select a venue
- How to build a menu
- How to negotiate a budget
This course also covers management topics. For example, you’ll learn strategies for managing the hundreds of small details for an event.
Affordability: Free one-month trial (at the time of writing). There is a fee to buy the course if you wish. Scored as a free course.
Accessibility: High. Learn completely online. Course materials are available offline too.
Flexibility: High. Work as slowly or as quickly as you like. Access the course from any device.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best event planning course online?
According to our methodology, one of the best classes for event planning is Event Planning Foundations from LinkedIn.
This course rates high in terms of affordability. You get a free one-month trial. After that, you can choose to pay $24.99 for the class. This is a good value. That’s especially considering how expensive some of the other courses in our rankings are.
The Event Planning Foundations course also scores high for accessibility. It’s completely online. And all learning materials are available offline. This enables you to learn even if you don’t have access to the internet. Having constant access to the course materials will help you finish the class before the one-month trial expires.
Flexibility is another important factor that this course scores well on. It’s self-paced, so you can take as much or as little time as you need to finish. It’s also available on any internet-enabled device. You can work on the class at home on your computer. Likewise, you can work on it on your smartphone while you’re on the go.
And since this course is from a household name in LinkedIn, it has good credibility that could help you impress potential clients. This, in turn, could help you get more jobs.
Are there free event planning courses?
Yes, there are free event planning courses. Most event planning courses require a fee. But the top two courses in our rankings are both free.
As noted above, the Event Planning Course from LinkedIn is our top-rated class. Right behind it in the second position is Event Management from Oxford Home Study Centre. This course also ticks all the boxes in terms of affordability, accessibility, and flexibility.
And like the Event Planning Course, the Event Management course is short. This allows you to learn more easily as time allows. Short courses are also easier to digest. You get information in short chunks that prevents you from getting bogged down with a lot of details at once.
Just remember that “free” doesn’t always mean a class is worth your time. In the case of these two free event planning courses online, we feel they are well worth the effort. But other free event planning courses simply provide little to no value.
When you come across a free event planning course, make sure you examine it carefully. Look for hidden fees. Also, look for features that are locked unless you pay. If there are online reviews for a course, read them carefully to get an idea of the experience that other students have had in the class. It’s advisable to investigate how the course is delivered too. Some free courses have offline components that are emailed to you. But providing personal information like your name and address could be required to get free materials.
As with anything, it’s better to exercise too much caution than not enough!
How do I get certified for event planning?
In many cases, getting certified for event planning involves taking a course or a series of courses.
For example, the Private Event Planning Course by QC Event School (fifth in our rankings) requires you to complete a four-unit curriculum. This curriculum is contained in a single course. This means that getting certified is a matter of completing one class. In this case, once you complete the class, you will have the title of International Event Planning Professional.
As another example, the Online Event Planning Course from the New York Institute of Art and Design has a six-unit curriculum. The curriculum includes 21 separate lessons that must be completed in order to be certified.
The commonality between these courses is that they are single-course certifications. However, the Online Event Planning Course will take longer due to the greater length of its curriculum.
Getting certified for event planning can be a great career move. Having a certification often shows potential clients that you have the education and skills to plan their event. Additionally, having a certification shows a dedication on your part to learn the latest skills and best practices that the industry demands.
How long does it take to get an accredited event planning certification online?
The length of time it takes to get certified depends on several factors.
First, how much time can you devote to your studies? If you can work on the certification requirements two hours a day, you will finish much faster than if you can only study two or three hours over the course of a week.
Second, the time it takes to get certified depends on the certification requirements.
For example, the Private Event Planning course (fifth in our rankings) includes four units of study. This course is self-paced, so you could take as long as you want to complete those units. However, you could also work quickly and finish them within a few days.
By contrast, the Master’s Certificate in Event Management has six units. Completing those units would take more time given that there are more of them to finish. But, again, it’s a self-paced course, so if you have a lot of time to devote to your studies, you could finish the certification quite quickly.
Some event planning certification courses require you to complete on-campus activities. This is the case with the Event Planning Certificate, which is tenth in our rankings. Taking the time to travel to campus to finish these traditional classes could extend your timeline for completing the certification.
A final component that influences how long it takes to get certified is your budget. Many event planner courses require a fee. Some of these classes require a very high fee. If you feel like a fee-based course is best for you, you might have to finish course requirements as you can pay for them.
So, there is no hard-and-fast rule for how long it takes to get an accredited event planning certification. If everything falls into place, it could take a few days or weeks. In other instances, it could take months or years.
How do I become a successful event planner?
The first step to becoming a successful event planner is to gain the needed knowledge and skills. Any of the courses listed in our rankings would be a great place to start. Many of these courses are beginner level, so even if you have no experience in planning events, you can quickly get the needed skills to do so.
The second step in establishing yourself as a successful business planner is to get certified. Certification is not mandatory, but having that extra level of education doesn’t hurt. Besides, many people will choose a certified event planner over a non-certified event planner. This is usually done because certifications show people that you have gone above and beyond to prepare yourself for the job.
The third step in building a successful career as an event planner is to get experience. In many cases, if you take event planning courses online, you’ll complete projects that you can use to show people your event planning skills. Think of these projects as a portfolio. You can use that portfolio to demonstrate your abilities.
When you’re just starting out, your portfolio might be the only tangible “evidence” you have of your skills. That’s why having a portfolio is so critical. Even if you volunteer your services just to get experience, having documentation of those experiences in your portfolio is proof that you have on-the-job experience.
Fourth, you need to develop the appropriate skills to run a business. While event planning courses often touch on critical business skills, taking additional courses can only help. If you’re new to starting and running a business, think about taking courses in:
- Computer science
This is not a complete list of all the classes you might need to take to develop solid business skills. But the classes listed above are a good start.
Lastly, you also need to have the drive and motivation to succeed. Building a business isn’t something that happens overnight. And most people that start a business end up closing their doors after a year or two.
While preparation is key to avoiding that same fate, so too is sticking with it. When times get tough, you have to buckle down and continue working toward your goal. You also have to be relentless in pursuing clients. While one job a month might seem fine at first, you may quickly find that you need several jobs a month just to pay your bills. Being diligent about finding new gigs will help ensure you have money flowing in that you can invest in making your business even better.
Is event planning a good career?
Event planning can be a very lucrative career. According to PayScale, the average annual salary for event planners is $48,693. However, the pay range for event planners varies greatly.
Experienced event planners generally make much more than average. So, an event planner with an established reputation of excellence can charge more than an event planner with no paid jobs to their name.
Likewise, event planners in certain cities can command much higher wages. For example, event planners in New York earn 21 percent more than average, or nearly $59,000 per year. In San Francisco, event planners earn 47 percent more than average. This equates to an annual salary of just under $71,600.
The types of events you manage can also influence your earnings. For example, if you specialize in high-end destination weddings, there is greater monetary upside than if you specialize in children’s birthday parties.
There are many benefits to working as an event planner that make it a good career for many people. A lot of event planners appreciate the variety of work and getting to plan all sorts of different activities for different people. Many event planners also cite having a lot of satisfaction from executing plans that bring joy to others.
Other benefits of having a career in this field include:
- Great job prospects
- The ability to be your own boss
- A low educational threshold
- Getting to experience new things
Of course, like any job, event planning has its downsides. It can be stressful. There are often long hours, including nights and weekends. You might have to deal with difficult clients too.
But, if you have the right education, skills, and drive to succeed, event planning can be a great career choice.
How do I get started in an event planning career?
If you’re considering a career in event planning, the first thing you need to do is decide when you’re going to pursue that career.
Are you still in high school? Are you retired? Do you have some business experience? Are you new to owning a business? These are just some of the factors that will influence how you go about starting your new career.
Since event planning doesn’t require a formal degree or education, you need to take classes like those ranked above to begin building skills if you’re a beginner or developing new skills if you have some experience.
You don’t need to take every event planning course you can find, either. Some basic, introductory courses in event planning can give you a great foundation on which to build your business.
As mentioned in an earlier question, having some business skills is a must as well. Taking courses in business and marketing, finance and accounting, and so forth will put you in a better position to start your career.
You also need to identify the types of events you’d like to plan. For example, some people love planning weddings. Others avoid them at all costs. Other people excel at planning corporate events. Others are more interested in small, intimate gatherings.
It’s important to identify partners or vendors with which you can work. When planning an event, you might need to work with:
- Musicians or DJs
- Rental companies
Building relationships with people in these and other sectors can prove hugely beneficial to you as you start your business.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the steps you need to take to start an event planning business, pursuing these steps will get you started in the right direction.
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