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Event Planner Salaries: How Much Should You Be Making?

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Just like your reputation, your salary will follow you from job to job.

If you do not negotiate your salary to reflect your worth, you’ll likely end up under—and not over—paid.

The Huffington Post hit on this very subject back in 2015. They found that executives who negotiated their salaries right out of college were able to make roughly $500,000 more over the course of their lives.

The lesson also applies to event planners. Those who negotiate their worth early stand to make more money over their career.

Event planner salaries

When I’m asked what I expect as a salary, I clam up. While I don’t want to undersell my abilities, I also don’t want to be arrogant. I shy away from bragging about my abilities and what I think my work is worth.

Finding that “right balance” has been an elusive problem throughout my career. Part of my problem was not knowing what my skills were worth. I second-guess any number I come up with as either “too much” or “too little.”

Thankfully, the event planning industry has a large amount of transparent salary data.

I’ve found just what you can expect to be paid as an event planner, and a few other numbers to use as a starting point when negotiating your pay.

Want to know how much you should be making as an event planner in the United States? Read on.

Average event planner salary

There is good news for event planners in the United States. The median income for an event planner in the United States is $59,853 according to Salary.com. The last reported median household income for the United States was $56,516 in 2015, with the 2016 data set to release later in 2017. The average event planner is set to make $3,337 more than the median household income.

Chart by Salary.com

That good news comes with a caveat: the range starts as low as $44,313 and reaches as high as $80,335 per year.

Note that not all salary reports are in line with this assessment. For example, according to Payscale, the median income for an event planner is $45,039.

Chart by Payscale

If you were to average out the two sources, the median income of event planners lies somewhere around $52,446.

This means that your event planning job will likely put you somewhere slightly above or below the median U.S. household income.

Event planner salary by state

Like any job, what you make over time is also determined by the state that you work in. There are certain states which pay better for your event management services than others, and varying economies between locations. Check out CNN’s cost of living calculator to compare your salary to other parts of the country.

Here are the top five best and worst states to earn money as an event planner according to Sokanu and the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

Some of these statistics are not terribly surprising; for example, Washington D.C. hosts hundreds of events hosted everyday. From rallies to protests to nonprofit conventions, Washington D.C. is the place to be for event planners.

However, as an event planner there are states to avoid as well if you are looking to make more money over your career.

If you are event planner and your salary is important to you, it is best that you steer clear of South Dakota.

Event planner salary growth over time

For event planners, there is room for salary growth as you acquire new skills and years of experience on your resume. According to Payscale, the median event planner will begin their career somewhere at around $40,000 per year and end at$55,000 per year after 20+ years of experience.

That’s a 37.5% increase in salary over the course of your career.

Graph by Payscale

Good thing event planning also opens the door for plenty of career mobility. Event planning opens the door to other positions such as a senior events manager or director of events, which both have significantly higher salaries.

For instance, the median salary of a senior events manager falls around $63,892 per year and a director of events can expect to make roughly $65,342 per year.

Other event planning advice

What if you are looking to begin your career as a self-employed event planner? Luckily we have resources for you at the Capterra blog:

If you’ve already begun your event planning career, we have plenty of resources to make sure you have the tools you need to keep your events efficient and fresh:

Finally, if you are looking for a new event management software system or one to start fresh with in your new career, be sure to check out our event management software directory.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, drawing, photography, playing guitar, writing, and cooking.

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