Hospitality Management Degree: Turn Your Love of Travel into a Career

Hospitality management degree

Globalization, business travel, and a renewed interest in tourism are fueling the demand for hospitality managers at food service companies, hotels, and event facilities. A hospitality management degree provides students with the fundamental business skills needed to become leaders in a hospitality setting. Although postsecondary education is not required for some entry-level positions in the field, earning a degree may give job applicants a competitive edge and help them secure more advanced positions. Learn more about hospitality management schools to find out how to launch a career in this exciting field.

Different Levels of Hospitality Management Programs

Hospitality management colleges offer degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Most full-service hotel chains hire applicants that have at least a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, while hotels that provide fewer services may hire applicants with an associate’s degree or certificate. Master’s degrees in hospitality management are suited to students who want to become corporate directors, consultants, restaurateurs, analysts or managers of hotels, restaurants, and spas. Doctoral degrees in the field prepare students to become university professors or hospitality/tourism researchers.

Associate’s degrees typically take two years to complete, while bachelor’s degree programs usually last four years. Students who choose to enter an undergraduate hospitality program will have to have earned their high school diploma or GED and might have to submit SAT scores, depending on the school.

Master’s programs generally last two years and doctoral programs can take from three to five years and often require students to complete a research dissertation. Graduate admissions usually ask for a bachelor’s degree in a related field, as well as GRE scores. Prerequisite courses that students may have to complete beofre entering a graduate hospitality program include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Managerial accounting
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Business statistics

What You Learn at Hospitality Management Schools

Students in hospitality programs acquire specialized knowledge about the hospitality industry, as well as knowledge of the basic functions, objectives, and tools of management. Degree programs in hospitality management typically require students to complete a combination of classroom activities and practical experiences to prepare them for real-world employment in the field. Many programs are offered almost entirely online. Courses that you might take when pursuing a degree in hospitality management include the following:

  • Business communications
  • Resort operations
  • Hospitality financial analysis
  • Catering management
  • Ethics and service leadership
  • International wine and culture
  • Hospitality leadership and ethics

Job Outlook for Hospitality Management

Job titles that hospitality management graduates may have include lodging manager, event manager, food/beverage sales representative, cruise director, restaurant manager, food and beverage manager or club manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of lodging managers is expected to grow 8% from 2010 to 2020. Those with a college degree in hospitality management are expected to have the best job opportunities, especially at upscale hotels and resorts.

The employment of food service managers is projected to decline 3% from 2010 to 2020, because of the decline in the number of new eating and drinking establishments that are opening. However, employment for meeting, convention, and event planners should grow 44% in the coming decade, which is a rate that is much faster than average. This growth can be attributed to the increased demand for meetings and conventions as organizations are starting to become more and more global.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage of lodging managers was $46,810 in May 2012. Food service managers earned $47,960, while meeting, convention, and event planners earned $45,810. Some hospitality managers may be able to work their way up the corporate ladder and become top executives, who are among the highest paid workers in the United States. Top executives earned a median annual wage of $168,140.

If you have strong interpersonal, customer service, leadership, organizational, and problem-solving skills, you might want to consider a career in hospitality management. Hospitality managers make sure that guests and customers have a pleasant experience while ensuring that an establishment is running efficiently and profitably. If you would like to become a hospitality industry leader, start working towards your hospitality management degree.

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