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Special Event Coordinator

Special event coordinators plan, organize and coordinate conferences, meetings, seminars, exhibitions, trade shows, festivals, fundraisers and other special events.

  • Avg. Salary $46,829.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.33
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,900
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Conference Planner, Convention Planner, Event Assistant, Event Planner, Meeting Planner

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Conference and Event Planners (1226) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Conference and Event Planners (B316) 
  • 2011 NOC: Conference and event planners (1226) 
  • 2016 NOC: Conference and event planners (1226) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Special Event Coordinator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Conference and Event Planners

Interest in co-ordinating services such as accommodation, transportation, conference halls and other facilities, catering, signage, displays, translation, special needs requirements, audio-visual equipment, printing and security; in organizing registration of participants; in approving suppliers' invoices; in ensuring compliance with required by-laws; and in hiring, training and supervising support staff


Interest in speaking with trade and professional associations and other groups to promote and discuss conference, convention and trade show services and to negotiate contracts for services; and in meeting with sponsors and organizing committees to plan scope and format of events


Interest in planning entertainment and social gatherings for participants and in publicizing events

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated May 20, 2021

Special event coordinators’ duties vary depending on the nature of the events they organize but, in general, they:

  • Identify the objectives of the event and determine the requirements that must be met to accomplish those objectives (for example, facilities and services)
  • Meet with trade and professional associations and other groups to promote conference, convention and trade show services, and research potential sponsors
  • Meet with sponsors and organizing committees to plan the scope and format of events, establish and monitor budgets, review administrative procedures and discuss progress
  • Coordinate services (for example, accommodation and transportation for participants, catering, signage, displays, translation services, audiovisual equipment, printing, security) and deal with any problems that arise
  • Coordinate decor design and special effects
  • Develop crowd management and risk management systems
  • Plan set up and tear down procedures
  • Plan entertainment and social gatherings for participants
  • Receive and process registrations
  • Hire, train and supervise volunteers and support staff
  • Negotiate contracts for services, approve invoices, maintain financial records, prepare or review final billing for the event and prepare reports

Organizing a special event may require:

  • Developing or helping to develop a plan, program or agenda
  • Identifying the event elements, determining logical sequencing and developing efficient schedules
  • Selecting sites and coordinating building and property services (for example, audiovisual and technical details, decorations, seating)
  • Preparing strategies to ensure that the event site complies with all required legislation and regulations, including those related to health and safety
  • Sourcing speakers and entertainment options
  • Selecting menus that meet the event's budgetary requirements
  • Organizing transportation, security and emergency services
  • Marketing the event and promoting sponsorships
  • Negotiating rates with suppliers, controlling expenses and administering financial procedures
  • Identifying and selecting appropriate registration, admission controls and guest greetings system for an event
  • Designing and implementing public relations campaigns
  • Recruiting, training and motivating staff or volunteers
  • Preparing and distributing event minutes
Working Conditions
Updated May 20, 2021

Special event coordinators may work on several projects at once. They work in offices but are required to travel to event sites. Long hours often are required particularly just before and during an event. At times, the work is stressful.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated May 20, 2021

Special event coordinators need:

  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • The stamina and energy required to work long hours when required
  • The ability to negotiate agreements and mediate disputes
  • The ability to work effectively with all sorts of people
  • The ability to pay close attention to details
  • The ability to work well under pressure and make responsible decisions quickly

They should enjoy organizing and coordinating activities, and talking to people.

Educational Requirements
Updated May 20, 2021

Most employers prefer to hire special event coordinators who have experience in the coordination or supervision of 1 or more events, and have related post-secondary education or certification.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College Edmonton South

Thompson Rivers University

Vancouver Island University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 20, 2021

Tourism HR Canada (formally the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council or CTHRC) offers voluntary certification that is recognized across Canada. Depending on preference and past experiences, candidates may choose to pursue training and certification as an Event Coordinator, Event Manager or Certified Event Management Professional (CEMP). Online certification training is accessible from the emerit website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 20, 2021

Special event coordinators may work on a short-term or permanent basis for:

  • Tourism associations
  • Trade and professional associations
  • Hotels
  • Festival and event associations
  • Municipal parks and recreation departments
  • Educational institutions
  • Not-for-profit organizations 
  • Large corporations
  • Convention and conference centres
  • Conference and event planning companies

Those employed full time may have other responsibilities as well. Advancement tends to take the form of being given responsibility for larger, more complex events or moving into supervisory positions as event managers or event producers. Experienced special event coordinators who have a broad range of contacts may establish their own companies.

Special event coordinators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1226: Conference and event planners. In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth(when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 1226: Conference and event planners occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 77 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 77 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated May 20, 2021

Special event coordinators’ incomes vary considerably depending on the nature of the event, the qualifications of the coordinator and whether the position is full-time or contract.

Conference and event planners

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.96 $23.67 $22.56
Overall $16.60 $42.31 $27.33 $25.97
Top $17.00 $49.45 $30.71 $28.57

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Educational Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Health Care & Social Assistance
Accommodation & Food Services
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 20, 2021

Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association website:

emerit website:

Tourism HR Canada website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated May 20, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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