Table of Contents
A hospitality management degree provides you with an in-depth understanding of the structure and operation of the hospitality sector and related industries.
You develop skills and knowledge in people and business management, service delivery, leadership, finance and marketing, as well as identifying, understanding and responding to the needs of clients. You can also choose modules that further your career interests in certain areas, for example, conferences and events.
Getting your Hospitality Management degree online might be for you if you get energized by the thought of travel and new experiences. This field may also be a perfect match if you thrive on organization and attention to detail.
Types of Hospitality Management Degree Programs
Is the goal to have a career that takes you around the world? Hospitality Management may be the degree path for you.
Of course, you might prefer to create amazing experiences for people right where you live. The hospitality industry has plenty of room for both goals.
You’ll need to decide the degree type you want to obtain before you can start building a path to your career in hospitality. Yes, it’s crucial to get that degree in if you’re going to be competitive against other applicants for plum positions with room for growth in the hospitality industry.
The truth is that the most prestigious hospitality brands typically require some sort of educational background related to hospitality management. What’s more, a degree is going to help train you to really understand the robust, challenging industry you’re about to enter.
Let’s break down the different options on the table for degrees:
An Associate’s in Hospitality Management can help equip you for entry-level to mid-level positions. This is a two-year program that may qualify you to handle things like front-desk operations, guest accommodations, booking, marketing, and all of the other necessary tasks behind serving guests and clients.
A Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management is a four-year degree that is meant to prime you for management roles within hospitality companies. You may find yourself in charge of things like guest relations, event planning, or general operations after graduating with this degree.
A Master’s in Hospitality Management helps prime you to become a facility or brand manager. Obtaining this degree demonstrates high levels of ambition and competence. You are being trained to be the go-to person regarding everything involved in the operation of a business that serves guests.
An on-campus or online masters in hospitality management degree may open up opportunities to become a regional or national manager for a hotel chain or resort brand. The sky is the limit after that when it comes to roles as CEO or president.
A degree may really be the launching point for a successful, long career in the hospitality industry. One of the things that attract many people to this major is that you might end up anywhere! Many resorts and hospitality brands need skilled, qualified employees to work in locations around the globe.
In fact, a passport is often the most essential document to obtain after getting your diploma!
Of course, travel isn’t required by default. There is always the possibility that you may simply enjoy a very stable and predictable role doing some behind-the-scenes work from a corporate office.
There is also the possibility that you may rotate around the globe for long stints to help a hotel chain open and manage new locations.
Concentrations for a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management
A bachelor’s program for hospitality management typically offers you the option to choose a specialty that focuses on your strengths or interests.
Some people are drawn to roles that require organization and planning. Others like the idea of working directly with customers to create world-class experiences. Of course, many are drawn to the fact that they may be able to accept jobs in glitzy cities or slivers of paradise throughout their careers.
Here’s a look at the three specialties that many students choose when obtaining degrees focused on hospitality.
A focus on casino management can help make you uniquely qualified to manage the logistical and financial challenges of running a high-volume, high-profile casino. The fact of the matter is that casinos are always in need of qualified, responsible people to manage operations.
Just how big is in the casino industry at the moment? The American Gambling Association’s most recent survey shows that more than $41.7 billion is generated in gambling revenue annually. Your role may be to keep attracting visitors, satisfy existing visitors, and sustain profitability.
You can expect to learn about marketing, employee relations, safety, and revenue generation as you pursue this exciting degree specialty. You may walk away from your time spent earning your degree with a scarce and specific set of skills.
A restaurant management specialty can help equip you to manage the service side and the financial side of running a place people enjoy and respect. This specialty focuses on delivering a fantastic experience for customers while also managing a restaurant staff.
Opportunities may exist for graduates to manage a restaurant or provide support via the corporate side. Additionally, you may want to consider this degree if you intend to open your own restaurant. Your restaurant will likely be competing against larger chains that are staffed with people who have degrees in Hospitality Management.
Travel and Tourism Management
A concentration in travel and tourism management may provide a great way to channel your wanderlust into an amazing career. This specialty focuses on how to ace every aspect of running a hotel, resort, or tourism brand.
A big part of your education will revolve around mastering customer relations and loyalty. You’re also going to dive into the practical and logistical aspects of serving customers safely and effectively.
Don’t forget that things like employee management, OSHA compliance, and marketing are all going to shape your degree experience.
Common Courses for a Hospitality Management
The course list for a Hospitality Management degree can be every bit as exciting, fast-paced, and multifaceted as this industry! Here’s a rundown of some of the common courses you can expect to complete:
- Fundamentals of Hospitality and Tourismintroduces you to the administrative and practical aspects of serving clients. Topics to be covered include hotels, expositions, conventions, and cruises. This course provides an overview of all that goes into creating incredible experiences for customers while building a lasting brand.
- Hospitality Law covers legal considerations regarding things like insurance, liquor licenses, and labor. You’ll also learn how hospitality brands are expected to collaborate with government agencies to keep the public safe.
- Property Management will introduce you to the basics of the physical aspects of running a hotel, resort, or restaurant. This includes topics like space planning, space regulations, real estate, project development, asset management, and lease contracts.
- Tourism and Hospitality Marketing will cover the unique approach that’s required when marketing to travelers. In addition, you’ll be introduced to trends in tourism and hospitality. Most itineraries also include how to compete through promotions and customer analysis.
Many students bulk up their course loads by adding other business and marketing classes into the mix. Business and marketing are generally good fits for Hospitality Management majors because so much of this industry depends on being business savvy and understanding trends.
Don’t forget that throwing in a foreign language can be smart if your aim is to work in a specific region of the world after graduation.
What Kind of Jobs Can You Get with a Hospitality Management Degree?
A Hospitality Management degree can help set you up to work for major global brands. This includes hotel chains, resorts, airlines, cruise operators, casinos, concert venues, and restaurants.
You may decide to pursue a concierge or front-desk role at a hotel or resort to begin your career in the hospitality industry. In addition, many event planners for large venues graduate from hospitality programs.
Those looking to work for larger resort and hospitality brands may look forward to roles as managers of customer relations, customer experience, or customer loyalty.
Many people who graduate with degrees in Hospitality Management go on to become hotel managers, venue managers, and operations managers. Opportunities may also exist to become a director of housekeeping, executive casino host, food and beverage director, or marketing manager.
Most careers in the hospitality industry pay richly when it comes to experiences. However, working for some of the world’s largest hotel and resort brands may also come with some very nice financial perks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the hospitality management field include:
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Food Service Manager||$56,590|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner||$51,560|
Working for a large hospitality brand often means bonuses and generous employee perks. In addition, most brands throw in vouchers for free travel for employees and their families.
Accreditation for a Degree in Hospitality Management
Something that you’re going to bump into as you explore degree programs for Hospitality Management is the topic of regional accreditation. Regional accreditation means that a school has passed a strict evaluation that goes beyond federal accreditation.
It’s not necessary to attend a school with this distinction. However, regional accreditation does give a program more clout and extra opportunities for transferring credits.
Hospitality students actually have an extra accreditation to look into when choosing schools. The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) signifies that a school’s degree program has met strict standards.
The ACPHA is an organization that evaluates and offers accreditation to both two-year and four-year degree programs in Hospitality Management. Accreditation is a signal that a school meets the highest standards.
Always be sure to ask about ACPHA accreditation when looking into schools that offer Hospitality Management as a major.
Financial Aid for an Online Hospitality Management Degree
The financial aid available for a Hospitality Management program is essentially the same as what’s available for comparable two-year and four-year programs. Your roster of options includes federal grants, federal loans, work-study programs, and state-level aid.
Start your search by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Be sure to explore options for both student loans and tuition assistance. Some private companies in the hospitality industry actually offer exclusive scholarships for students pursuing degrees in Hospitality Management.
The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students is one of the more generous scholarships out there for students enrolled in four-year programs.
The American Express Scholarship is an option that’s specifically designed for people who are pursuing degrees in Hospitality Management while already working in the field.
Can You Get a Hospitality Degree Online?
Yes, you can get a Hospitality degree online. Enrolling in a program that offers courses in Hospitality Management online may allow you to complete your studies at a pace that’s reasonable based on your finances and work schedule.
Students often have the option to enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. The goal is to find a program that matches the specialty you’re looking to pursue.
In addition, students that want to finish their degree quicker than the average student might pursue an accelerated hospitality management degree program online.
Where Can I Get a Hospitality Management Degree?
Many schools throughout the country offer Hospitality Management degrees at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
Take a look at a list of the best programs in the country if you’re serious about pursuing a degree that may open up the world of hotels, casinos, restaurants, and cruise ships to you on a professional level.
What Is the Best School for Hospitality Management?
There are a few characteristics to look for when selecting a school with a Hospitality Management program. Regional and ACPHA accreditations are positive signs that you’re looking at a very competitive program.
Another good sign is that a course load for a Hospitality Management degree covers a wide range of topics. A program should be well-rounded enough to include business, marketing, cost, safety, and law.
There should also be some room to add in electives or credits that allow you to dive deeper into topics like marketing or labor relations if you think that’s what will strengthen your hiring potential in the specific niche you’re eyeing.