Associate's in Hospitality & Tourism Management: Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Students who earn an associate's degree in hospitality and tourism management learn to manage resorts and hotels, operate tour companies or coordinate convention services and special events. Some schools may offer programs or courses online.

Essential Information

Students who want to learn about guest accommodations, convention services and tourism can enroll in an associate's degree program in business administration with a hospitality and tourism management emphasis. Business administration programs in hospitality and tourism management might award an Associate in Science (AS), Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Applied Business (AAB) degree, are open to students with a high school education or the equivalent.

Associate's Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Hospitality and tourism management degree programs provide a balance of business and management courses, with an emphasis on the skills needed to work with business travelers, vacationers and event attendees. Industry-specific courses show students how to interact with customers and direct the activities of catering or dining services.

A typical degree program consists of the following class topics:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Business law
  • Personnel management
  • Business computer applications
  • Marketing
  • Conference and event planning
  • Hospitality operations
  • Catering

Popular Career Options

With a broad business emphasis and industry-specific classes, hospitality and tourism management degree programs can give graduates the knowledge to obtain entry-level careers or seek management positions in a variety of fields. Jobs available in hospitality and tourism management include the following:

  • Convention services manager
  • Resort or lodging manager
  • Event planner or coordinator
  • Convention or meeting planner
  • Front office manager
  • Dining services or restaurant manager

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a decline in employment opportunities for travel agents, and little to no growth in employment for lodging managers from 2018-2028. Meeting and event planners were expected to see a 7% increase in employment opportunities during that time, which is faster than average.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of a hospitality and tourism management associate degree program are prepared to enter the workforce or transfer to a 4-year degree program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that management trainees, especially for hotels offering an array of guest services, typically have at least a bachelor's degree. Many hotel chains, resorts and convention centers also have extensive corporate-sponsored training programs for prospective managers, the BLS stated.

Students who want to pursue advanced education in the hospitality and tourism management field may go on to earn a bachelor's or master's degree with a business administration emphasis or a relevant industry-specific concentration. Both undergraduate and graduate programs provide additional business and management training; courses cover topics such as strategic marketing, managerial communications and business policy. Students also can gain further insight into travel planning, restaurant management, tour package sales and other industry topics. Most bachelor's and master's programs feature a hospitality or tourism practicum.

Students who want to learn about management duties in the hospitality and tourism field can earn an associate's degree that covers topics such as catering, economics, and marketing. Those interested in more advanced roles in this field can go on to earn a bachelor's degree, which may open more employment opportunities.

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