Associate of Travel & Hospitality: Degree Overview

Oct 10, 2019

Associate degree programs in travel and hospitality teach students the business knowledge and customer service skills required for professional hotel management, event planning and tourism-related jobs. Learn about common courses and job options.

Essential Information

An associate's degree in travel and hospitality is an important entry-level credential for individuals interested in creating and sustaining positive, profitable guest experiences in a variety of industries. The program draws together fundamental business and management skills with the study of global cultures and offers students the freedom to pursue personal interests via the selection of coursework.

Applicants to these programs need a high school diploma or GED credential. Once accepted, programs usually take two years to complete, but some schools may offer accelerated schedules. Upon graduation, students can pursue advanced degrees in the field, as well as professional certifications.


Associate of Travel and Hospitality Degree

Because of the global nature of the field, a travel and hospitality associate's program prepares students to work in settings around the world. Enrolled individuals might spend time learning another language or, in some cases, traveling abroad to experience destination travel. Study done within a travel and hospitality program gives students the chance to take a variety of courses, which might include:

  • Principles of sales
  • Spanish or other world languages
  • Event planning
  • Travel destinations (domestic and worldwide)
  • Computerized reservations
  • Principles of customer service

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Earning an associate's degree in travel and hospitality can lead to many career options in the tourism and hospitality industries. It also might help individuals currently in the field advance to supervisory positions. Some popular career paths in this industry include:

  • Travel agent
  • Resort, hotel or motel clerk
  • Tour guide
  • Hotel manager

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of lodging managers is expected to have little to no change by 1% from 2018-2028, and travel agents may see a decrease in employment of 6% during that same time. As of May 2018, travel agents earned an average salary of $42,720, and lodging managers averaged $62,270 annually, per BLS data.

Continuing Education Information

Further education for this profession is available in the form of a bachelor's degree program in hospitality or tourism. Master's degree programs are also offered. In addition to or in place of earning a further degree, professionals in the travel and hospitality industries can earn certifications through professional organizations, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association. These groups offer individuals the chance to become certified in a particular niche of the industry; one can become a Certified Guest Service Professional, for example, or even a Certified Hospitality Educator.

An associate's degree program in travel and hospitality prepares students for further study and professional certification, as well as for employment as travel agents, tour guides lodging managers and more. Graduates will have mastered basic skills in event planning, foreign languages and business management.

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