The hospitality industry includes a wide range of fields that are fundamentally focused on customer satisfaction. Two-year associate's degree programs in hospitality management equip students with comprehensive knowledge of hospitality laws, hospitality operations and hiring practices. At some schools, it may be possible to specialize in an area such as lodging or food service management. In addition to coursework, many of these programs include an internship where students get instruction and apply their knowledge to real-life situations.
Associate's Degree of Hospitality Management
In addition to general education requirements, students in this program complete core courses in the business and hospitality aspects of operating an establishment. They explore aspects of food preparation, sanitary guidelines and finance, in addition to gaining knowledge on how to conduct business and manage personnel. Students also gain strong verbal and written communication skills, both of which can help when working with fellow employees and customers. Most programs include a variety of electives, including foreign languages, art and communications. Some hospitality-related courses include:
- Menu planning
- Food and beverage management
- Food preparation
- Facilities planning
- Travel and tourism
Popular Career Options
With an associate's degree in hospitality management, graduates can pursue many different career options in a variety of fields, but management jobs are the most common. Managers in the hospitality field spend much of their time delegating responsibilities to hospitality staff, such as cooks, waiters, housekeepers, maintenance workers or other management staff. Here are some of the most common hospitality management jobs:
- Banquet manager
- Guest services manager
- Assistant food and beverage manager
- Dining room supervisor
Career outlook depends on the position. For example, opportunities for food service managers are expected to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that, as of May 2018, the mean salary for food service managers was $54,240 per year.
Continuing Education Information
Associate's degree holders can seek immediate entry-level employment or pursue additional education with a bachelor's degree program in hospitality management. These four-year programs expand upon the associate's degree curriculum, and students may need to complete a specific number of hours of practical training experience within the hospitality industry.
Overall, if you dream of a career as a manager in the hospitality industry, you can start by getting an associate's degree, which offers a comprehensive introduction to the field. From there, you can either enter the workforce or continue your education in a bachelor's degree program.