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Convention Planner

Convention planners search for prospective meeting sites, which may be hotels, convention centers, or conference centers. They issue requests for proposals to all the sites in which they are interested.

Hours: Work hours can be long and irregular, with planners working more than 40 hours per week in the time leading up to a meeting and fewer hours after finishing a meeting. During meetings or conventions, planners may work very long days, possibly starting as early as 5:00 a.m. and working until midnight. They are sometimes required to work on weekends.

Some physical activity is required, including long hours of standing and walking and some lifting and carrying of boxes of materials, exhibits, or supplies. Planners work with the public and with workers from diverse backgrounds. They may get to travel to beautiful hotels and interesting places and meet speakers and meeting attendees from around the world, and they usually enjoy a high level of autonomy.

Opportunities: Meeting and convention planners held about 51,000 jobs in 2006. About 27 percent worked for religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations; 17 percent worked in accommodation, including hotels and motels; 8 percent worked for educational services, public and private; 3 percent worked for governments; and 6 percent were self-employed. The rest were employed by convention and trade show organizing firms and in other industries as corporate meeting and convention planners.

Pay: Median annual earnings of wage and salary meeting and convention planners in May 2006 were $42,180. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,840 and $55,040. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,950.

Training: Many employers prefer applicants who have a bachelor's degree, but this is not always required. The proportion of planners with a bachelor's degree is increasing because the work and responsibilities are becoming more complex.

Planners have backgrounds in a variety of disciplines, but some useful undergraduate majors are marketing, public relations, communications, business, and hotel or hospitality management. Individuals who have studied hospitality management may start out with greater responsibilities than those with other academic backgrounds.

Citation: Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Meeting and Convention Planners, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos298.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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