Hospitality managers are charged with overseeing the daily operations of businesses throughout the hotel and lodging industry. In addition to making the bulk of their company's on-site business decisions, these professionals use their excellent customer service skills to ensure that guests and patrons have a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Graduates with a hospitality management degree can be found working as hotel managers, restaurant managers, convention and event coordinators, casino managers, and more.
How to Choose the Right Hospitality Management Degree
Although entry-level positions in the hospitality field may only require a high school education, many employers prefer to hire managers with at least some postsecondary schooling. A degree in hospitality management can also help students gain the important business knowledge and administrative training needed to advance into management roles within the industry.
Those with an interest in tourism, travel, entertainment, restaurants, or other hospitality related fields tend to be a good fit for hospitality management degree programs. Prospective students should enjoy entertaining guests and possess excellent interpersonal and customer service skills.
Most entry-level positions in hospitality management provide on-the-job training, but a college degree may help job seekers get their foot in the door. While a formal education is not always required, many hospitality businesses favor hiring managers with a hospitality management degree or relevant work experience. Upper-level management positions often require a master's degree or higher. Online degrees in hospitality management range from associate to Ph.D. programs. Potential students should carefully select the type of degree they wish to pursue according to their ultimate career aspirations. The chart below lists the different types of degrees available in the field, as well as potential careers they might lead to:
Length of Completion
Associate in Hospitality Management
Associate degrees typically take up to two years of full-time study to complete.
Bachelor's in Hospitality Management
These programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.
Food Service Manager; Gaming Manager; Lodging Manager; Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner
Master's in Hospitality Management
These programs take up to two years of full-time study after completion of a bachelor's degree.
Food Service Manager; Gaming Manager; Lodging Manager; Meeting, Convention, or Event Planner; General or Operations Manager
Ph.D. in Hospitality Management
These programs take three to four years of study after earning a bachelor's degree. A master's degree may be a prerequisite for enrollment.
Business Teacher, Postsecondary
A hospitality management degree can help graduates gain entry-level employment or advance to management positions within the hospitality industry. Since different degrees take longer to earn, students should consider their career goals prior to choosing a program.
What to Expect in a Hospitality Management Program
Hospitality management positions require employees to possess a workable understanding of business concepts, as well as excellent customer service skills. By completing an online degree in hospitality management, students can improve their acumen in both areas. While specific curriculum varies by degree level and school, the following are some examples of courses students can expect to take in a hospitality management program:
- Fundamentals of Hotel Management
- Technology in Hospitality Management
- Fundamentals of Casino Management
- Fundamentals of Restaurant Management
- Employment Law
- Tourism Management
- Convention and Event Planning
- Principles of Accounting
- Principles of Marketing
- Principles of Hospitality Management
- Business Ethics
- Hospitality Services Management
- Loyalty Strategies
- Hospitality Law
In addition to core coursework, some programs may require students to complete an internship prior to graduation. These are typically completed at hotels, resorts, entertainment venues, or convention halls. Students who complete internships are presented with an excellent opportunity to make contacts in the hospitality industry and possibly get a "leg up" when it comes to finding employment.
Hospitality Management Degree Specializations
Students pursuing hospitality management degrees, particularly those in undergraduate programs, will receive a broad education covering the hospitality industry as a whole. But since the hospitality industry includes such a wide array of businesses, some programs may offer students the chance to specialize in one or more specific areas of the field. Common degree specializations include:
- Hotel and Lodging Management
- Restaurant Management
- Tourism Management
- Casino Management
- Meetings and Events Management
- Brand Management and Guest Services
- Real Estate and Asset Management
- Business Standards
Depending on the school and type of degree program offered, specializations may not always be available or necessary. After entering the workforce, graduates might decide to specialize in one area of the hospitality industry, like restaurant management, or choose to work in several different areas of the industry. Online degrees in hospitality management can help students obtain the knowledge and skills needed to pursue either of these career tracks.
Benefits of an Online Degree in Hospitality Management
In addition to possessing great customer service skills, hospitality managers must rely on their understanding of business concepts to effectively oversee their company's daily operations. Fortunately, business education courses have long been a great fit for online learning. Students pursuing online degrees in hospitality management will be introduced to the same topics and principles presented to students enrolled in on-campus courses.
Through the use of the latest web-based communication platforms, online students are able to combine the flexibility of distance education with many of the benefits of a traditional on-campus experience. Students in online degree programs connect with their professors and classmates using a variety of tools like video chat, instant messaging, and email, all of which are prominently used in the hospitality industry today. Coursework typically combines reading assignments with video lectures to provide students with the most up-to-date information available.
Because much of the course material is previously written or recorded, online students generally have round-the-clock access to required lectures and coursework. This makes it easy for them to complete their assignments at a time that is convenient for them. While online learning can work for almost anyone, this type of flexibility is perfect for adult learners and those with family or work commitments they must tend to in addition to school, such as hospitality professionals looking to earn an advanced degree with continuing to work full time
Careers in Hospitality Management
The hospitality industry covers a wide range of different businesses, from hotel and lodging to food service and entertainment. The following chart lists some of the most popular career options in hospitality management, along with wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Expected Job Growth
(2014 - 2024)
|Business Teachers, Postsecondary||83,030||$96,770||18.1%|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||95,850||$52,020||10.2%|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||134,190||$47,390||9.6%|
|General and Operations Managers||2,188,870||$122,090||9.1%|
|Food Service Managers||201,470||$56,010||8.8%|
With an online degree in hospitality management, graduates may be able to land management-level positions in any number of different areas within the hospitality industry. Choosing the right degree program ultimately depends on each student's long-term career goals. While a postsecondary degree is not always required for entry-level work, earning a hospitality management degree is often necessary for advancement in the field.
To learn more about online degrees in hospitality management, or get information on a specific program, check out any of the schools listed below.
Food Service Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm
Gaming Services Workers, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/gaming-services-occupations.htm
Lodging Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm
May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm
Postsecondary Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
Top Executives, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm