Hotel and Hospitality Management Degree

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What is Hotel Management?

Hotel management and hospitality administration is the area of employment that deals with the day to day management of hotel and related facilities, ensuring customer service is of the highest quality and that the guests' experiences are satisfactory. Hotel managers are also responsible for making sure the facility runs efficiently and economically with the purpose of turning a profit. Individuals in this field may be on call day and night in order to ensure emergencies are handled accordingly.

Top Degrees in Hotel Management

A fruitful career in hotel management and hospitality management starts by finding the best degree program for you.  The top degrees in hotel management will be an individual choice based on your objectives and priorities not a ranking guide produced by a media publication looking to sell magazine subscriptions.  Your priorities should be placed front and center in each decision you make for your future.  To establish as working priority list you can utilize as your beacon for decision-making, read our guide on the college admissions process and how to beat the odds and get into your top college choice here.

Degrees in hotel management can range from undergraduate certificate programs through doctorate programs online or in classroom.  With the bevvy of choices, we have clustered the degrees into the following groups to help you quickly access college-specific information to help you make the best decision for you.

Online Certificate Programs in Hotel Management

Classroom-based certificates as well as online certificate programs in hotel management are focused programs that can be as short as four months up to a two-year program.  Undergraduate certificates in hotel management are designed to provide students with key skills and foundational knowledge to help students be more effective in the field.  Undergraduates will learn about various aspects of business, communication, leadership, and customer service during their program.

Graduate certificate programs in hotel management are for experienced professionals in the field looking to upskill, gain new knowledge, prepare for a career transition, or help move up in an organization.  A commitment to learning and growing are strong indicators to upper management that often translate to promotions and/or new job responsibilities.  Certificates will provide general knowledge about hotel management or specialized skill such as human resource management, event planning, operations management, hiring, scheduling, customer service, financial management, payroll, and budgeting.

Online Associate Degrees in Hotel Management

An online associate degree in hotel management is a 2-year undergraduate degree conferred as an Associate of Arts (AA) from most accredited colleges and universities.  The on-site or online associate’s degree in hospitality management combines general education courses such as communications, philosophy, and math with core classes to help provide students with a well-rounded education.  Core classes will typically include introductory programs in areas of study such as: management, tourism planning, accounting, customer service, human resources, food science, restaurant management, commercial food preparation, resort management, and leadership.  Graduates with an AA in hotel management and hospitality management will be equipped to step into a job in a hotel, resort, bed & breakfast, hostel or continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Online Bachelor Degrees in Hotel Management

The online bachelor’s degree in hotel management is a 4-year degree conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) dependent upon the constructs of the program.  The bachelor degree, like the associate degree, blends general education classes with core hospitality courses.  The primary difference between the associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree is the depth and breadth of courses in the bachelor’s program.  Students will take more advanced classes in hotel management, accounting, leadership, marketing, and operations management.

Many accredited colleges and universities provide students the option to specialize in a sub-discipline within hotel management to really hone their knowledge in a particular area of study.  Tracks in hotel management a student can focus on include: marketing and operations management, hospitality leadership, finance & accounting, or real estate.  Core classes for each track will be a function of the area of concentration chosen by a student.  For example, a student selecting hospitality leadership will have a course load focused more on human resources, operations management, organizational behavior, communications, law, and managerial leadership while a student in a finance and accounting program will take classes in corporate finance, investing, control, asset management, financial statements, portfolio management, and project management.

Online Master Degrees in Hotel Management

Online master’s degrees in hotel management can be conferred as Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), or a Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH).  Graduate programs in hotel management can take students 2-3 years to complete based on course load, pace, and length of time taken to complete thesis projects.  Much like the bachelor’s degree program, students will select a general degree program in hotel management or a specialized field of study such as marketing, real estate, operations management, entrepreneurship, or a self-directed program.  Each track will have supporting curriculum to help students specialize in their chosen field of study and prepare them to tackle careers in the hospitality industry as managers, leaders, and/or administrators.  Many schools offer a robust hotel management online degree to allow students to complete the program at their pace, access material when it makes sense, and continue working while earning a graduate degree.

Online Doctorate Degrees in Hotel Management

The doctorate degree in hotel management is a four to six-year program conferred as a PhD.  The length of time it takes for students to complete the program will be a function of pace, course load, and the time invested to complete the dissertation project.  Students in a PhD program will prepare for careers in research and/or teaching opportunities at the college-level.  The PhD program in hotel management can be individualized for each student and help students acquire a broad knowledge of the hospitality industry and hotel management while learning key research methodologies and teach vital administrative and teaching skills to thrive in private industry and academics alike.

Education Requirements in Hospitality Management

Individuals seeking a career in hotel management generally seek a degree in one of several related fields that cover the basic operations of business, and the offer specific insight into the operations of large facilities and their respective services. Individuals are generally required to have at least an associate's degree, though higher levels of education tend to ease the search for employment and speed the promotion process.

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Employment Opportunities in Hotel Management

Individuals in this field will seek employment at hotels or resorts generally located in high traffic areas. Individuals will be responsible for maintaining the desired atmosphere of the hotel, ensuring that various aspects run smoothly, and meeting the needs of guests. Hotel administrators will be responsible for making sure the facility is financially secure, resolving any problems that may arise, including payment issues, employee problems, food service and others. Hotel administrators are generally the final word in conflict resolution, and as a result are on call regardless of their full weekly schedule.

Careers in Hotel & Hospitality Management

Earning a degree in hotel management or hospitality management can help students build core skills necessary to thrive in a variety of jobs.  While most people would assume students would only work at a hotel or motel, the core skills found in a hotel management degree are easily transferrable to other adjacent businesses such as casinos, resorts, large spas, food & beverage, tourism & travel, recreation camps, hostels, and bed & breakfasts.

A degree in hospitality management entails skills and coursework that can be easily transferred to an upscale restaurant or boutique beverage establishment.  From exceptional customer service to financial management and operations management to marketing, students have the opportunity to grow in a number of fields with a degree in hotel management and hospitality management.  Similarly, the travel and tourism industry to the hospitality sector.  Both areas of study provide students with the skills and education to help grow a loyal customer base and provide unique, salient experiences to consumers of all types.  Students may elect to ply their trade with a travel agency, cruise line, or an international hotel organization to help grow a business or bring a new product to market.

Job Growth and Salary for Hotel Managers

Job growth is expected to be slow but steady over the next decade due to the decline in need for managers as technology allows for more efficiency with less supervision. The need for qualified individuals will still be required, and positions should be available as new locations open, as well as through retirement and churn. The average salary for a hotel administrator is about $46,000 annually, though this number may vary greatly based on location, experience and education. Larger locations, and locations with high traffic or tourism are likely to pay more and require more time investment due to the high demand of guests and the need for more employee management.

List of Hotel Management Associations

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Career Summary: Hotel and hospitality management Major




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