Training in hospitality management is usually included as part of an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program. The 2-year associate's degree program teaches the basics of the discipline and prepares participants for entry-level employment. The program might include an internship component. Students could possibly transfer their credits to a 4-year program.
Bachelor's degree programs might include areas of concentration as well as opportunities to study overseas and gain practical skills. Master's-level programs prepare students for careers in upper management. They may also feature internship experiences and thesis requirements.
Prerequisites for an associate's or bachelor's degree program include a high school diploma and a high school background in reading and writing, math and computers. A bachelor's degree in hospitality management is required for acceptance into master's degree programs, although students with unrelated undergraduate degrees can complete prerequisite courses in the field to also enter master's programs.
Associate Degree in Hospitality Management
An associate degree in hospitality management introduces students to the basic practices and segments of today's hospitality industry, including meeting and convention planning, travel and tourism, food services and lodging. Students develop supervisory skills and an understanding of human relations, cost controls, hospitality engineering and customer service. Hospitality engineering education incorporates instruction related to the maintenance, sanitation and overall facilities management of hospitality institutions.
In addition to a variety of courses specific to the hospitality industry, hospitality management program students are expected to complete a number of general education requirements, such as math, communications, English and science. Students can begin their instruction in the concept of hospitality engineering through courses that cover topics like facilities planning and sanitation. Other topics usually covered in the hospitality field include:
- Food preparation
- Marketing of hospitality services
- Front office operations
- Event planning
Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management
Hospitality management degree programs at the undergraduate level combine theoretical instruction with practical experience to prepare students for a variety of careers in the hospitality and tourism industry. Classroom instruction familiarizes students with the history of the hospitality industry, services required by customers, current industry trends and the many different careers the industry has to offer.
In addition to traditional general education units, program curriculum combines a number of courses in business principles with a hospitality management core of professional courses. Topics covered include:
- Hospitality engineering
- Principles of management
- Hospitality law
- Food service and restaurant management
- Hotel management
Master's Degree in Hospitality Management
A master's degree program in hospitality management examines contemporary issues and subjects relevant to the hospitality and tourism industry. Subjects include hotel and restaurant operations, regulatory aspects of the industry, services marketing, quality management and profitability. Due to the business-oriented nature of the curriculum, many schools award dual master's degrees in business administration and hospitality management. Thesis and non-thesis programs are available.
In addition to the core professional requirements, students are able to customize their study by choosing electives in areas relevant to their interests, such as hospitality entrepreneurship, organizational communications or convention center management. Core graduate courses often include:
- Hospitality operations analysis
- Restaurant development
- Strategic management
- Human resources
- International tourism
- Time-share sales management
Popular Career Opportunities
Graduates with an associate degree are prepared for entry-level management positions with hotels, restaurants, convention centers and resorts. Job opportunities may include:
- Banquet manager
- Guest services manager
- Front desk supervisor
- Assistant food and beverage manager
- Event planner
A master's degree in hospitality management enhances an individual's career potential for upper-level job opportunities within the industry. Possible employment opportunities for graduates include:
- Hotel administrator
- Director of guest services
- Human resource manager
- Special events manager
Employment and Salary Information
Graduates are prepared for a number of career opportunities within the hospitality industry, including event planning, marketing, catering management, hospitality finance, human resources, food service management and hotel management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of lodging managers was projected to have little or no change between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that as of May 2018, lodging managers within the U.S. earned an annual mean wage of $62,270.
Hospitality management training is available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels and prepares graduates for a variety of careers within the hospitality industry. Entry-level positions as event planners and guest services managers are available to those with an associate's degree, while more advanced upper-level positions are available to graduates with a master's degree.