Do you dream of managing high-class hotels, restaurants or cruise ships? If so, you need strong leadership, problem solving and customer service skills as well as targeted training. For some hospitality and tourism careers, extensive experience in the industry can lead to promotion, but many employers prefer candidates who have studied hospitality management.
For bachelor's degrees in hospitality management, core courses cover an introduction to tourism and hospitality as well as subjects like these:
- Hospitality accounting
- Human resources
- Information technology
- International tourism
- Legal issues in the industry
- Lodging, facilities and restaurant operations
- Management fundamentals and leadership
- Marketing strategies
You can choose classes that specialize in food and beverage services or in travel and tourism. General education subjects could include English, mathematics, humanities, writing and the arts as well as the social, physical or life sciences; these topics provide important skills for communication and business. Some programs require internships, previous experience or a capstone project.
Hospitality management career options, outlook and salaries
Hospitality management can involve long hours and doesn't generally conform to a 9-5 workday. Advancement can require relocation as you move to larger and more prestigious establishments. Work is found in a wide range of settings, including amusement parks, tourist attractions, convention centers, casinos and the airline industry. You may also be interested in destination marketing, ecotourism, event planning or research.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these median 2010 salaries for three related occupations:
- Food service manager: $48,130
- Gaming manager: $66,960
- Lodging manager: $46,880
Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS sees gaming managers as having the largest gain in job openings, with an 11.5 percent growth rate. Projected job growth for lodging managers is less than the U.S. average, and opportunities in food service management may actually decrease. Those with degrees in hospitality management and experience in the industry should have an advantage in this competitive workplace.
Master's degrees delve into issues confronting the industry and offer advanced electives and intensive business training. If you're interested in research or teaching at the university level, Ph.D. programs are available, with emphases like nutrition or hotel and restaurant management.
Although many hospitality degree programs require internships, much of the coursework can be completed online, which means you can work in the industry and get a jump on that all-important experience while you pursue your management education.