Hotel Management College and University Program Overviews

Apr 23, 2020

Essential Information

Hotel management degree programs ensure that all graduates are prepared for a variety of administrative aspects in hospitality management, which may include overseeing the day-to-day operations of hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities. The responsibilities of hotel management staff may include ensuring the availability and quality of hotel amenities, setting room rates, managing housekeeping and coordinating conferences.

Hotel management programs can be found at the associate, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. The former two levels require a high school diploma or GED, as well as ACT or SAT scores; master's prerequisites include Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, a personal statement, prior experience in the field, and a strong business background. An associate or master's degree can be earned in two years, whereas bachelor's degrees will take four years.

Associate Degree in Hotel Management

Associate degree programs in hotel management prepare students for entry-level leadership positions in hospitality settings and may be found at local community colleges. Within an associate degree program for hotel management, students learn the basics of hotel operations as they develop interpersonal skills that are essential in the hospitality field. General education units complement core courses, and course topics may include the following:

  • Purchasing
  • Sanitation
  • Fundamentals of food preparation
  • Principles of hotel management
  • Hospitality marketing
  • Front office management

Bachelor's Degree in Hotel Management

Bachelor's degree programs in hotel management offer hospitality overview classes. Within large facilities, hotel management duties are often divided into many areas, so students pursuing their bachelor's degree may choose to concentrate elective classes on a specific area, such as kitchen management, events, sales, or front office management.

There is also a strong business component in most bachelor's degree programs. Graduates are prepared to handle financial documents, such as inventory reports, marketing plans, consumer reports and pay schedules, and are also expected to complete an internship. Below is a sample of course topics:

  • Accounting
  • Cost and resource control
  • Marketing
  • Facilities management
  • Hotel business law
  • Food and beverage systems

Master's Degree in Hotel Management

Master's degree work in this field prepares students for supervisory positions at the highest levels of the hospitality industry, including in customer service, entertainment, or lodging settings. CEOs and CFOs of casinos, luxury hotels and resorts are required to have master's degrees as well as years of experience in hospitality management.

Hotel management college programs at the graduate level may require a student to research and present a thesis in order to graduate. The 2-year curriculum emphasizes topics such as:

  • Technology in hotels
  • Legalities
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global tourism
  • Corporate finance

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for lodging managers as of May 2019 was $54,430. The BLS predicts an 1% growth in employment levels from 2018-2028 (

Popular Career Options

Graduates of 2-year hotel management college programs may be qualified to become general managers in a small- or average-size hotel, but are more likely to assist managers with more experience and education. A bachelor's degree also qualifies them to work for catering companies, airlines, cruise lines, hotel consulting firms, theme parks and boarding facilities. Popular career options include dining room supervisor, guest services manager, management trainee or assistant food and beverage manager. Graduates of a master's in hotel management can achieve leadership positions in a variety of hospitality settings acting as a Chief Executive Officer, General Manager, college instructor, director of tourism, or hospitality consultant.

Individuals seeking to become hotel managers can pursue 2-year associate's and 4-year bachelor's degree programs, while a 2-year master's degree program can lead to higher-level management positions. These programs prepare students for employment by honing their hospitality, customer service, and financial management skills.

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