Associate of Hospitality Tourism Management: Degree Overview

Associate's degree programs in hospitality and tourism management often include the fundamentals of these industries, including food service, tourism economics, and legal issues.

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Essential Information

Students interested in pursuing careers in the travel and tourism industry may choose to enroll in an Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management degree program. Hospitality management degree programs train students in the planning, management and operation of hotel and travel businesses. Students also learn about business-focused topics, such as human resources management, accounting and marketing.

To be admitted into an associate's degree program, applicants need a high school diploma or GED, as well as SAT or ACT scores. Some programs require the completion of an internship.


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Associate's in Hospitality Tourism Management Course Topics

Students gain management skills critical to tourism and hospitality establishments and graduate with basic entrepreneurship skills. They can also learn to develop marketing strategies within a viable business plan. Students can learn the fundamentals of business management as well as develop skills that pertain to hospitality and tourism. They often gain practical experience in the industry during internships. Course offerings may include:

  • Business math and accounting
  • Customer service
  • Tourism geography
  • Hotel reservations systems
  • Convention marketing
  • Hospitality law

Popular Career Options

Graduates can work in hotels, conference centers, cruise ships or sports arenas. Some popular career options include:

  • Hotel manager
  • Travel counselor
  • Event planner
  • Convention marketing specialist

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Lodging managers, which include hotel managers, can expect average job growth, with an 8% increase expected from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs for travel agents are predicted to decline 12% during that same decade, while jobs for meeting, event and convention planners are expected to grow 10%. Market research analysts and marketing specialist jobs are expected to increase 19% from 2014-2024, much faster than average.

The BLS reports that the median salary for lodging managers was $49,720 in 2015. Travel agents' median salary was $35,660 in 2015. Meeting, event and convention planners' median salary was $46,840, and market research analyst and marketing specialist jobs paid a median salary of $62,150 that same year.

Continuing Education and Professional Certifications

A graduate with an associate degree can go on to obtain a bachelor's in hospitality and tourism management. Professional associations, such as the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), can provide hospitality managers with opportunities to further their knowledge and keep abreast of changes in laws and regulations. Cruise Lines International Association Inc. (CLIA) offers additional training for cruise industry personnel.

Professional certifications are available to qualified individuals in all areas of the hospitality industry. AHLEI provides certification in management, human resources and finance, among other fields. Travel agents who specialize in cruises can earn CLIA's Certified Cruise Counselor designation.

There are several associate's degree options for those seeking a career in hospitality management. Graduation from a hospitality management program opens to door for many different occupations in the travel and tourism industry.

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