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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.
Many employers prefer to hire managers with at least some postsecondary schooling. A degree in hospitality management can help you gain important business knowledge and administrative skills needed to advance into management roles within the industry.
High school graduates or hospitality professionals looking to earn an advanced degree while continuing to work full time can find online programs allow a work-life-study balance. Online degree programs in hospitality management offer flexibility that can be perfect for those with family or work commitments.
What do hospitality managers do?
Hospitality managers are charged with overseeing the daily operations of businesses throughout the hotel and lodging industry. Not only should they possess great administrative and customer service skills, hospitality managers must rely on their understanding of business concepts to effectively oversee their company's daily operations.
In addition to this, hospitality managers may also take care of the following:
- Making the bulk of the company's on-site business decisions
- Managing a hotel's administrative and accounting tasks such as budget preparation, promotional plans, profit and loss operations
- Coordinating safety and hygiene procedures
- Organizing and synchronizing the work of different departments and supervising the training of new personnel
- Collaborating with local authorities, travel companies, and tour operators to make sure guests enjoy a seamless transition
- Scheduling deliveries of food and beverages and assuring they are checked for quality and quantity
Occupations and Career Outlook
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:
Projected Job Growth
(2016 - 26)
|Business Teachers, Postsecondary||84,340||$100,270||18.1%|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners||102,420||$52,630||10.2%|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||131,430||$49,650||9.6%|
|General and Operations Managers||2,212,200||$123,460||9.1%|
|Food Service Managers||208,110||$57,250||8.8%|
Choose a degree that can help you meet your career goals
Online degrees in hospitality management range from associate to Ph.D. programs. Most entry-level positions in hospitality management come with some level of in-house training, but a college degree can help job seekers start out with ready knowledge. Upper-level management positions often require a master's degree or higher. Potential students can select the type of degree they wish to pursue according to their ultimate career aspirations.
Online Certificate Programs in Hospitality Management
What can I expect to learn in an online certificate 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 certificate program in hospitality management, students can improve their acumen in both areas.
Typical duration: Less than a year
Typical prerequisites: High school diploma.
Typical coursework: The courses are usually designed keeping in mind emerging trends in the hospitality sector. They should also incorporate standards laid down by the hospitality sector. Some of the courses covered may include:
- Hospitality analytics for decision making
- Understanding financial statements
- Service operations management
- Introduction to revenue management
- Risk management in the hospitality industry
Possible electives: Depending on the chosen program, prospective students have a number of electives to choose from based on their area of interest, such asbusiness communication, and hospitality internship.
What can I do after earning a certificate?
A certificate in hospitality management can help students apply for most entry-level jobs in hotel, restaurants or travel companies. Students who have completed an online certificate program in hospitality management can be employed as a:
- Front desk manager
- Social director
- Hospitality supervisor
- Meeting planner
- Recreational director
- Travel director
Online Associate Degrees in Hospitality Management
What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?
Subjects in an associate degree program may cover the basic principles of accounting, sales, marketing and management.
Typical duration: Two years
General prerequisites: High school diploma or a certificate in hospitality management
Typical coursework: Designed to build a strong foundation in hotel and management skills, courses may include:
- Analysis of hospitality Industry
- Food and beverage management
- Front office procedures
- Customer service
- Hospitality supervision
Possible electives: Depending on the program you choose, your choice of electives may include psychology, sociology, oral communications, mathematics, hospitality foods, international field experience, and principles of ethics.
What can I do after earning an associate degree?
After earning an associate degree online students may choose to go on to complete a bachelor's degree in hospitality management in order to further specialize in an area of interest. Those who would like to start their careers immediately after earning an associate degree may find jobs as a:
- Gaming dealer
- Food and beverage manager
- Golfing facilities manager
- Event planner
Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Hospitality Management
What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor's degree program?
Most bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management come under the school's department of hospitality and tourism, but you may be able to major in hospitality management with a bachelor of science or a business administration program. Culinary institutes can also offer bachelor programs in hospitality management.
Typical duration: Four years
General prerequisites: High school diploma or GED certificate
Typical coursework: Undergraduate courses can include:
- Foundations of hotel management
- Meetings and event management
- Food safety and sanitation
- Restaurant management
- Casino management
- Tourism management
In addition to core coursework, students are generally required to complete an internship at a hospitality center appointed by the college.
What can I do after earning a bachelor's degree?
Students who have completed an online bachelor's degree program in hotel management may be able to apply for positions as a:
- Hotel or restaurant general manager
- Food service manager
- Gaming manager
- Lodging manager
- Tourism operations manager
- Meeting, convention, or event planner
Online Master's and Doctoral Degrees in Hospitality Management
What can I expect to learn in an online master's degree?
Students who are interested in further expanding their knowledge of the hospitality industry may pursue a master's degree in hospitality management. Pursuing an advanced hospitality management degree online can help students sharpen their analytical skills and may improve employment prospects, especially in upper-level hotel management jobs and in academia.
Typical duration: Two years
General prerequisites: A bachelor's in hospitality management or related field
Typical coursework: Courses in an online master's degree may include:
- Strategic business marketing
- Financial management in hospitality
- IT in hospitality
- Managerial economics in hospitality
- Business statistics and quantitative analysis
- Hospitality business law and risk management
Those who would like to advance further may earn a doctoral degree, which is designed to prepare students for a career in academia, a researcher or as a consultant for the hospitality and tourism industry. Doctorate programs usually take three to four years to complete.
Students pursuing online hospitality management degrees, particularly those in undergraduate programs, can expect to 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
Prospective students should consider enrolling in accredited institutes or programs. Prospective employers tend to prefer candidates who have graduated from an accredited school. Major accrediting bodies for hospitality management programs include:
- Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA)
- American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC)
The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) is a prestigious certifying body that validates professional excellence for over 20 positions in the hospitality industry. AHLEI participates in the American Council on Education's (ACE's) Transcript Services. This transcript service offers a nationally recognized transcript to students who have successfully completed an AHLEI certification program that has been reviewed by ACE Credit. Students planning to take such a course should check with the admissions office of their college of choice to find out whether a course can earn credits toward their degree program. Certifications offered by the AHLEI include: