Online Degrees in Hospitality and Culinary Studies
According to the National Restaurant Association, individuals who work in the country's nearly one million restaurants, cafes and bistros comprise one-tenth of the U.S. workforce, and what they do is big business. In fact, the association notes that eating establishment sales for 2011 are projected to reach a record high of $604 billion, showing growth of 3.6 percent over dining receipts in 2010.
Likewise, the travel and tourism industries are on the rise. In fact, international tourism has grown every month since late 2009, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. Additionally, business travel--both spending and volume--grew at rates that surpassed industry expectations at the end of last year. So that's all well and good, but how exactly does one get in on all of this action? Education.
Hospitality and culinary workers may be trained on the job, but upscale institutions and management positions increasingly require formal training from hospitality & culinary arts degree programs. While on-the-job training may be a good way to get a foot in the door, many hospitality and culinary positions involve extensive customer service and business-know how, so advancement opportunities may be limited without formal education.
Traditional and online degrees in hospitality & culinary arts are offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree level. Campus-based culinary degree programs may include hands-on skills such as making sauces or wine tasting while online culinary degrees tend to focus on administrative skills such as health code compliance, bookkeeping or menu planning. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation also offers voluntary certifications to managers who qualify by examination.
College programs approved by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration typically offer courses in hotel administration, marketing, accounting, and food service management. Students may also receive training in specialized computer software used for reservations, billing and bookkeeping.
Many college, university or culinary trade school programs require students enroll in internships to gain invaluable on-the-job experience. Internships, in addition to providing experience, help students build life-long career networks, something that can lead to job and career opportunities down the road. Online hospitality & culinary degree programs often include internship programs to help students gain hands-on training and customer service experience.
The National Restaurant Association's dining projections for 2011 show that much of the restaurant growth for the year is projected to occur in South-Atlantic states, with North Carolina leading the way. Other states with strong growth projections include Idaho, Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and Texas.
Although job growth for food service managers is projected to be slower than average from 2008 to 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts good job opportunities due to high turnover in the industry. According to the BLS, "Applicants with a degree in restaurant, hospitality, or institutional food service management will have an edge when competing for jobs at upscale restaurants and for advancement in a restaurant chain or into corporate management."
The BLS also predicts lodging managers with degrees in hospitality or hotel management should see strong job prospects. Competition in the industry is expected to be tight in coming years as hotel chains seek to streamline management positions, and the BLS predicts that degree holders should see an advantage from their training.
Meeting and convention planners also play a large role in the hospitality industry. Employment in this sector is projected to grow by 16 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the BLS, with many employers preferring job candidates with direct experience and a bachelor's degree. Popular majors include undergraduate or master's degree programs in meeting management. The Convention Industry Council offers the Certified Meeting Professional credential, a voluntary certification that the BLS reports is received favorably by potential employers.
Wages vary by hotel or restaurant location, employer, career training and experience, but the BLS reports that 2009 median annual earnings spanned:
- Lodging managers, $46,300
- Meeting and convention planners, $44,780
- Food service managers, $47,210
The dining and hotel industries remained key sectors in the U.S. economy for the last few years--people continued to travel and dine out. But with the economy on the rebound, hospitality and culinary employees can look forward to brighter days and busy nights.
- America's 960,000 restaurants employ ten percent of the nation's workers
- Business travel in the United States supports 2.3 million jobs and takes in $246 billion in domestic and international corporate travel revenues.
- Internships help online culinary & hospitality students gain valuable hands-on experience
Online Degree Programs in Hospitality & Culinary
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