An associate's degree program in hospitality and travel prepares students to plan vacations and special events for clients through two years of coursework and, in many cases, an internship in the field. Program graduates are qualified to work at hotels, resorts and travel agencies because of their training in lodging management and marketing. Applicants typically need a GED or high school diploma for admission.
Associate's Degree in Hospitality and Travel
Associate's degree programs in hospitality and travel teach students to work with caterers, organize events at convention centers, make room reservations, book flights, and create travel itineraries. Students also might learn about accommodations and tourist attractions available at travel destinations both in the United States and abroad. Since there are multiple career paths in the hospitality and travel industry, many degree programs are structured to cover a wide range of topics, including lodging and resort management, pre-travel planning, customer satisfaction, and hospitality industry technology. Courses within these programs may include:
- Hospitality sales
- Customer service
- Event planning
- Travel destinations and tourism
- Hospitality marketing
- Computerized reservations and word processing
Potential Career Options
Graduates of associate's degree programs in hospitality and travel possess the skills needed for entry-level jobs and managerial positions. Some graduates might choose to start their own hospitality or travel businesses. Possible job titles include:
- Hotel manager
- Resort clerk
- Travel agent
- Event planner
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that travel agents can expect to see a 12% decline in employment from 2014 to 2024. A 10% increase was estimated for meeting, convention and event planners during the same period. Travel agents earned a median annual salary of $35,660 in 2015, while meeting, convention and event planners earned a median wage of $46,840, according to the BLS. Lodging managers will probably see an 8% increase in employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024. They earned a median salary of $49,720 in 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Certain jobs in the hospitality and travel industry require that applicants possess a four-year degree. The BLS states that larger hotels often prefer managers with a bachelor's degree in a field related to hotel management or business. Likewise, job candidates with four-year degrees are hired preferentially as meeting, convention, and event planners. Many colleges offer hospitality and tourism management bachelor's degree programs that include coursework in finance, lodging management, cost control, event management and tourism law. Graduates of associate's degrees may want to enroll in bachelor's degree programs so that they can pursue higher level careers in the future.
In conclusion, an associate's degree in hospitality and travel will provide you with the essential skills you need for an entry-level position in the hospitality industry or admission into a four-year degree program in the field.