Overview of Theme Park Management Degree Programs
Throughout the nation, colleges are now offering theme park operations and management concentrations to hospitality management bachelor's degree programs. Each school offers a unique blend of coursework and/or experiential learning, but generally speaking, students who choose to study tourism management take classes that revolve around best business practices, marketing, and promotional needs. Many programs require students to complete an internship so that they gain hands-on experience. Read below to find out detailed information regarding admission requirements, course offerings, and career options.
Admission Requirements for Theme Park Management Programs
Many schools loop theme park management concentrations into an overall bachelor's degree in hospitality management. Some of the colleges that offer courses in theme park management can be quite competitive to get into, so having high GPA and SAT/ACT scores may be extremely valuable. Generally speaking, almost all programs require applicants to show proof of high school diploma or successful GED completion. Some schools require essays in order to be granted admission, while others suggest that applicants submit a writing piece so that the staff can get an accurate representation of a potential student's academic goals.
Theme Park Management Coursework
Hospitality management, arts & entertainment management, and parks & tourism programs that offer theme park management specializations or concentrations can vary in regards to what specific classes are required. Even though exact requirements may differ, there are some general course themes that appear throughout many of the programs.
Theme Park & Recreation Management
This course highlights general management principles that are important to running successful theme park and recreation areas. Students explore positive and negative consequences of different business models. Budgeting and financing are also discussed. Students receive strong foundational knowledge that will enable them to become thorough and analytical decision-makers.
Theme Park Risk Management Strategies
In this class, details of the possible risk management hurdles that hospitality professionals may come across are discussed. Accident mitigation techniques are thoroughly covered. Legal issues are explored and students learn how to appropriately respond to a variety of commonly encountered regulation concerns that pop up in the industry.
Recreational Destination Marketing
Marketing principles and issues are discussed as they pertain to destination locations in the hospitality industry. Strategic plans and promotions are covered in detail. Students get experience segmenting consumer markets and practicing product-targeting initiatives.
Guest Experience Management
Topics regarding common guest needs and expectations are explored. Key programming needs are addressed. The roles of internal and external factors as they pertain to a theme park and hospitality management are presented. Students gain a thorough understanding of the important impact well-developed, and targeted, programming offerings have on the overall guest experience.
Theme Park Employee Leadership
Basic leadership theory, styles, and approaches are discussed so that a strong knowledge base is formed. Personnel selection and retention are covered in great detail. Throughout the class, students are introduced to legal compliance and employee supervision techniques that are useful in the hospitality industry.
How to Choose a Theme Park Management Program
It's important to note that not all hospitality management or parks & tourism programs offer courses in theme park management. While almost all of these programs will offer a broad education into the basics of the hospitality industry, you may want to check out a school's specific course offerings before making your final selection. This will ensure that you are choosing a program that has a focus on your interest in theme park management. You may also want to choose a program that helps place you into an internship that helps give you excellent real-world experience.
Career Options for Theme Park Management
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general and operations managers working in amusement parks and arcades earned a median annual salary of $77,340. For the decade 2016-2026, the BLS predicts that the broader category of general and operations managers will experience a 9% increase in employment opportunities. However, those with a degree in theme park management may be interested in other related fields. We've linked to some here.