Training Programs in Hospitality and Hospitality Management

Hospitality management is a very diverse career field that includes the restaurant, hotel, event planning, travel, entertainment and tourism industries. Managerial positions within the field require individuals who are flexible and organized. On-the-job experience and formal training in hospitality management provide candidates with a solid foundation to enter the job market immediately with the best employment options.

Training Requirements and Recommendations

Although some individuals are able to grow their careers in hospitality management by getting experience in various lower level positions before gradually earning promotions into supervisory positions and eventually reaching managerial status, most employers prefer to hire candidates with college-level training. Hospitality training can include certificate, associate degree, bachelor's or master's programs. Most employers favor candidates with at least a bachelor's degree. Individuals must be familiar with the various aspects of the hospitality industry including safety and security issues, customer service and payment processing systems. Typical tasks include hiring staff, training employees, scheduling, financial reviews and other administrative duties.

Formal Education

There are approximately 100 hospitality management programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration offered at colleges and universities throughout the country. Individuals seeking formal education within the field of hospitality management will typically enroll in a bachelor's degree program where students learn the fundamentals of business and the art of service. Formal education in the field provides a comprehensive education and practical field experiences that prepare students for management opportunities within the many hospitality and tourism industries. Also available, but not discussed below, are certificate and associate degree programs which provide individuals with a basic understanding of the hospitality industry and can lead to entry-level positions within the field.

Bachelor's Degree

This 4-year degree program provides students with a well-balanced education that includes business, finance, marketing, communication, computers and English. As a required component, practical work experience through intensive work-study programs allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations and gain the experience necessary to land managerial positions upon graduation. Students with special interests may select hospitality concentrations such as travel and tourism, beverage or hotel management.

Master's Degree

Master's programs are structured to provide students with advanced critical analysis skills, research abilities and an understanding of advanced hospitality and tourism issues as they relate to regional, national and global implications of the field. An intensive graduate level internship is often required in order for students to further develop their leadership skills and ability to manage both people and tasks. Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. Graduates are prepared to secure leadership roles in the hospitality industry.

Job Experience

Due to the wide array of employment opportunities within the hospitality industry, job experience varies greatly depending on the desired level of employment. Graduates of hospitality management programs typically have some work experience gained through built-in college internships comprised of off-site practical training. Entry-level positions are available to hospitality candidates with limited experience provided by internship programs and provide the background needed for them to further develop their skills in order to pursue higher levels of employment. Upper level executive and administrative positions within the industry typically require 5-10 years of work experience.

Licenses and Certifications

Neither licenses or certifications are required to begin a career in hospitality management. However, candidates can opt to enhance their marketability by electing to pursue voluntary certification programs offered through various reputable hotel and lodging associations. For example, the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute offers over 40 certifications for all levels of personnel in the hospitality industry.

Certified Restaurant Manager (CRM)

The highest acknowledgment of professionalism for food and beverage managers, the CRM designation recognizes a mastery of effective food cost control, sanitation standards, restaurant leadership skills and sound judgment. Professionals with at least a 2-year degree from an accredited institution and minimum of six months of full-time experience can qualify for the CRM certification examination.

Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT)

This designation recognizes hospitality professionals for developed skills in effective training techniques and an advanced understanding methods to assess the effectiveness of training programs. Candidates for the CHT designation must have completed a minimum of a 2-year degree program and have at least one year of fulltime work experience in the training field to qualify for the certification exam.

Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA)

As the most prestigious certification available to hotel general managers and hospitality executives, this designation is awarded to an elite group of professionals who have combined education and experience with dedication to the industry in order to achieve a high level of expertise. The credential confirms an executive's advanced knowledge of the hospitality industry. To qualify for the CHA exam, candidates must have at least a 2-year degree from an accredited institution combined with a minimum of two years of full time work experience as a general manager, owner/operator or corporate executive. Recertification is required every five years.

Workshops and Seminars

Professional organizations, such as the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association - International (HSMAI) or the Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), offer workshops, seminars and annual expos or conventions that provide training and open forums for discussion of contemporary issues in the hospitality industry. Although national conventions can last 3-4 days, one day seminars are offered at various locations throughout the country during the year. Professionals unable to travel can still take advantage of both educational and networking opportunities through sponsored webinars.

Additional Professional Development

Managers within the hospitality industry must be able to handles stressful situations and solve problems quickly while paying attention to detail. Effective communication skills, self-discipline and organizations skills are prerequisites for successful careers in the industry. Continued training in leadership and employee motivation is often recommended for managers in the hospitality industry.

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