Community colleges and universities offer programs in hospitality management and administration as Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. Some programs, especially AAS programs, allow students to select a concentration, such as baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, lodging management or food service management.
It normally takes two years of full-time study to complete an associate's degree program, and students may have the opportunity to complete an internship that provides professional experience.
Associate Degrees in Hospitality Management
In an associate's degree program in hospitality management, students learn basic concepts for managing hospitality businesses, such as resorts, hotels, cruises and restaurants. Business principles, including human resources, marketing, facilities management and accounting, are also an integral part of the curriculum. Common courses include:
- Convention sales and marketing
- Lodging promotion
- Food service and food and beverage management
- Front office operations and customer service
- Risk management
- Human resources management and organizational management
An associate's degree in hospitality management and administration qualifies graduates for management positions at small hotels; however, most large hotel chains require candidates to have a bachelor's or master's degree, as reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Graduates with an associate's degree in hospitality management can find employment as:
- Food service managers
- Housekeeping supervisors
- Event planners
- Front office managers
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
From 2018 to 2028, the BLS expects job growth of 1% for lodging managers and 11% for food service managers. Meeting, convention and event planner employment growth over the same period is projected to be 7%. The BLS also reported median annual salaries in May 2018 of $53,390 for lodging managers and $54,240 for food service managers. Meeting, convention and event planners had median earnings of $49,370 at that same time.
Students can pursue their hospitality management education further in a bachelor's or master's program. In a bachelor's program, students expand their knowledge of business and management, and they have the choice to specialize in hotel management, restaurant and catering management, event management or tourism. Master's programs are geared toward helping students attain advanced positions, change their careers to hospitality management, or engage in industry-related research and teaching.
In summary, an associate's degree in hospitality management and administration provides the basic skills you need for an entry-level management career or a higher level degree program.