How to Become a Wedding and Event Planner in Virginia
The demand for event planners has increased significantly over the years to adapt to new social trends. As a result, event planners have had to evolve and explore new areas of their field. Although the event planning processes remain the same in most places, professionals can now focus on areas that appeal to them.
With that in mind, now is the best time to become an event planner. Besides the more attractive salaries, you can also showcase your skills in more creative ways.
Requirements for Working as an Event Planner in Virginia
Virginia has no law in place for those who practice event planning without a degree or certification. However, it always helps to receive professional training and certifications to gain more in-depth knowledge.
Moreover, you can gain recognition and credibility by acquiring degrees in hospitality and tourism, business management and human resource management. These courses and certifications help improve and strengthen your organizational, communication and negotiation skills.
Training Opportunities in Virginia for Wedding and Event Planners
Several colleges in Virginia offer courses that are specially designed to train you in the core aspects of event planning. These courses will help develop your managerial skills and set you up for a flourishing career in event planning. Here are a few schools to consider if you choose to get formal education:
- Virginia state university, Petersburg, has a college of agriculture that offers a major in hospitality management.
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, offers a minor in event and experience management. They also have a degree in hospitality and tourism management.
- James Madison University, Harrisburg, also offers a degree in hospitality management.
- University of the Potomac, Falls Church, offers a bachelor of science in hospitality and tourism management.
- ECPI University, Virginia Beach, offers a bachelor of science in both Hospitality management and business administration.
Relevant Professional Qualifications to Become a Wedding and Event Planner in Virginia
Professional certifications can be vital to securing a spot for yourself in the hospitality industry. The good news is that it is relatively easy to acquire most professional certifications.
You can sit for some of these exams from the comfort of your home. You also have a range of suitable options to start with if you’re looking to improve your skillset with additional courses. If you are still undecided, below are some great options to consider:
- Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP): This professional certification is endorsed by the International Live Events Association (ILEA) after the meeting’s established standards.
- Certified Meeting Professional (CMP): The International Meeting Professional (MPI), one of the largest global meeting and event industry associations, offers this certification to candidates in specific courses and exams.
- Certified Wedding Planner: this certification is endorsed by an international Advisory Board of wedding planners.
Salaries and Career Outlook
Virginia has about 3,740 event planners, with the average earnings at approximately $27.82 per hour and $62,020 per year. Top earners in Virginia make closer to $93,920 in a year.
Keep in mind that the average wage is substantially lower for beginners. If you’re just getting into the field, you may start at around $32,650. As you gain experience and get more clients, you’ll quickly transcend that number and make higher profits.
Opportunities in Virginia
Starting up an event/wedding planning business in Virginia is easy because of the high demand. Interesting places you can work as a wedding and event planner in Virginia include Richmond, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
If you are going to practice wedding planning, you may choose to carve a niche for yourself. Decide on a unique selling point for your brands like luxury weddings or destination weddings.
These specialty areas will help increase your marketability. But of course, you can first choose to work with major companies to gain experience and make connections.