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How Important is an Event Degree for Working in the Industry?

How Important is an Event Degree for Working in the Industry?

If you’re looking for a job in the events sector, you are likely familiar with job descriptions that ask for a degree in event management as a minimum education level. Others will ask for a degree in any relevant field. And on rare occasions, event management roles won’t mention university education at all.

If you’re on the fence about investing in a three or four year degree programme, you might be wondering if this decision could hurt your chances to work in the events sector. In this guide, we will explore if you really need a degree to work in the events industry, how a degree can benefit your career, and what you can do to strengthen your application without a degree.

Do I need a degree to work in events?

In short, no, you don’t need a degree to work in events. However, having a degree in event management could help to open doors that will otherwise remain closed to you. A degree will give you a solid foundation on which to build your career. 

That said, plenty of people get started in the sector and work their way up without having a degree. At a certain point in your career, your experience will start to speak for itself, and you will no longer have to point to your education to prove your worth.

Ultimately, it depends on the employer. Some employers will have a company policy that all employees have a degree in event management to ensure everyone starts from the same point. Other employers will be more flexible in their approach, taking each applicant on their individual merit. 

It’s also possible to start as a junior role with one company, and then work your way up to an event manager role. From there, you can then move between companies using your past experience to demonstrate your knowledge.

How can a degree help your events career?

There’s no denying that a degree in event management will help to kickstart your career. In the three or four years you spend studying events, you will touch upon all areas of event management, providing you with a solid foundation of knowledge.

Studying for a degree can also provide hands-on experience, if you choose to include internships and placements as part of your studies. This can also be helpful for building your portfolio and contacts.

You will also learn a lot from your peers during your studies, and this can help to expand your network when you join the workforce. You’ll not only learn from your tutors, but you will also learn from those around you.

What are the disadvantages of an events degree?

The biggest disadvantage of formal learning is the cost. A degree will cost around £27,000 for tuition alone, increasing to £36,000 if you pursue a master’s programme at the same time. You’ll also need to factor in your living costs during this time.

A degree also takes a long time to complete. In the three years you are studying the theory of event management, you could be working in a junior role and learning the ropes on the ground. Some employers prefer their employees to have practical training rather than theoretical training.

Another disadvantage of university education is that the things you learn could soon become outdated. The industry is moving very quickly, so you need to be confident that you’re learning the latest best-practice for your sector. The quality of education can vary between institutions, and you aren’t guaranteed quality tutors with a finger on the pulse of the sector.

How can I get started without a degree?

If you decide not to pursue a degree in event management and instead work your way up from an entry level role, this is certainly possible. The main advantage of this route is that you’ll gain a wide range of experience on the job, which is a practical approach to education.

You’ll also develop strong relationships with employers and other key contacts by becoming an invaluable part of the team. This will allow you to prove that you are ready for the next stages of your career without needing to study for a degree.

The key to making this approach work is to land your first role. It’s common to start in a junior role, such as an office administrator or events assistant role. You’ll need to demonstrate a passion for the sector and share your vision for how you see your career progressing.

You can do this by getting involved with events in your free time. You could also consider starting your own event management company as this would allow you to build your own portfolio of events and then use this experience to land a role with a larger company.

Want to learn more? Read our complete guide to becoming an events manager on our blog.