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December 14, 2020

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As the internet facilitates international connections and air travel becomes increasingly commonplace, the hospitality industry is experiencing unprecedented growth. Businesses and establishments that cater to travelers and event-goers continue to expand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for meeting, convention, and event planners will grow by 11%, which is much faster than the national average.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for meeting, convention, and event planners will grow by 11%, which is much faster than the national average.

A bachelor's degree in hospitality management introduces students to the world of travel, tourism, and event planning. Degree candidates master the business and management skills needed to take on leadership roles, and many graduates go on to pursue exciting careers in tourism hubs like New York, Las Vegas, and Miami. Along with fundamental knowledge, a college education provides opportunities to collaborate with public relations agencies and vendors to produce world-class events. Ideal for those interested in becoming facility directors, a hospitality management degree also offers a starting point for entrepreneurial students who wish to start and operate their own establishments.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management?

The hospitality industry encompasses a variety of occupations and many different types of establishments, including hotels, restaurants, resorts, and cruise ships. The field's versatility and broad career options makes it an ideal sector for recent graduates, adult students, and working professionals alike. A bachelor's degree in hospitality management provides an in-depth look at food and beverage service, along with fundamental concepts in finance, marketing, and staff management. Students learn to create and oversee high-quality guest experiences, including sporting events, conferences, and five-star hotels.

Many students who are already employed in the field find that earning a bachelor's degree opens up new opportunities in facility operations and management. The degree is also a great option for professionals who are considering changing careers. Strengthening leadership skills through courses like public speaking, an undergraduate hospitality curriculum introduces critical concepts in public relations, marketing, and facility management. A degree may also lead to greater career mobility. Course instructors encourage students to build industry networks through on-campus associations and professional organizations. In addition, many schools maintain career centers, which provide job placement assistance, arrange internships, and help learners develop effective resumes. Whether you want a traditional on-campus college experience or prefer to take hospitality management courses online, bachelor's programs present opportunities to gain new skills and develop a specialty.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management?

Hospitality management professionals work in a variety of interesting roles and settings. Some serve as program coordinators on cruise ships, while others manage casino operations or supervise resorts in exotic locations. Multidisciplinary hospitality management programs impart broadly-applicable skills, and graduates take on many different positions, including the following occupations. The hospitality industry's diverse nature ensures a place for every professional, regardless of their personality or area of interest.

Food and Beverage Manager

These managers inspect work areas, equipment, and supplies to ensure that restaurant employees uphold government health and safety standards. They hire employees, create staff schedules, and order food and supplies for their establishment. Most also monitor food preparation and presentation.

Median Annual Salary: $52,030*

Conference Coordinator

Large-scale facilities employ event coordinators to handle large gatherings like weddings and conferences. Coordinators meet with event organizers to determine an event's size and scope. While conference coordinators and organizers collaborate on choosing vendors, food, decorations, and other activities, the coordinator approves all payments and contracts.

Median Annual Salary: $48,290*

Hospitality Department Trainer

Working directly with facility personnel, hospitality trainers review company protocols, best practices, and employee duties. They may work in specific departments, such as hospitality or food and beverage services, or collaborate with management to create training programs for new hires.

Median Annual Salary: $108,250*

Gaming Managers

Gaming managers work at casinos and venues dedicated to spectator sports. They oversee gaming operations, including slot machines, poker and blackjack tables, as well as concerts and other casino events. Gaming managers also work with casino surveillance teams to spot criminal activity and ensure the facility follows government regulations.

Median Annual Salary: $83,460*

Lodging Manager

Hotels hire lodging managers to uphold quality standards and oversee operations. While they work primarily with front-end and housekeeping staff, they may also take on accounting duties and monitor financial records.

Median Annual Salary: $51,800*

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Choose a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Program

Before you select a program, it helps to define what you want from a bachelor's degree in hospitality management. Do you have a particular career path in mind or intend to graduate within a certain time frame? Do you plan to work full time while attending classes? There are many variables to consider while researching programs, including cost, format, duration, and available concentrations. Many busy individuals find that online degrees provide a flexible, affordable alternative to on-campus programs. Distance education allows students to work and manage family obligations as they study, and eliminates many of the fees associated with campus living. Online programs also tend to feature lower tuition rates and more relaxed course schedules.

If you plan to pursue a specific career path or position, you may wish to consider programs that offer a concentration in your area of interest. Concentrated academic tracks present additional insight into a particular subfield of hospitality management and provide the chance to gain specialized knowledge and skills. In addition, some programs include an internship component, during which students work and learn alongside established professionals. While internships offer valuable learning experiences and networking opportunities, they may also present difficulties for working students, or for distance learners who reside in remote areas. It is important to ensure that your chosen college or university is accredited. Accreditation can profoundly affect your finances, future employment options, and academic opportunities.

Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Programs

Accreditation is a quality control process used to ensure that schools uphold the highest academic and ethical standards. The three main types of accreditation are regional, national, and programmatic. National and regional accrediting bodies evaluate entire institutions and review curricula, operations, and instructors. Programmatic accrediting organizations assess individual programs and typically focus on a particular field of study. For example, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Management grants accreditation to hospitality-related curricula and maintains a list of approved programs on its website.

The three main types of accreditation are regional, national, and programmatic.

Accreditation also affects financial aid disbursal. Institutions must be accredited to receive federal funding, and only students at accredited schools are eligible to receive financial aid. Regionally accredited schools are generally viewed as more prestigious, and credits earned at regionally accredited institutions transfer easily between schools, while those earned at nationally accredited colleges do not. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a comprehensive database of accredited institutions and programs.

Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Program Admissions

Each school maintains slightly different admissions standards, but most individuals who apply to bachelor's in hospitality management programs must submit an application, their high school transcripts, and standardized test scores. Open admissions programs accept most applicants, provided that candidates hold a decent GPA and a high school diploma or GED. While application deadlines fall between November and January of the following year at most institutions, some schools use a rolling admissions process.

Students may choose to declare their major on their application, or wait until after they gain admission. Some colleges and universities provide an early decision option, which lets prospective students apply to a specific program before the traditional admissions period. Once accepted, early decision candidates must attend that school and cannot apply anywhere else unless they reject the school's offer. Applying to multiple institutions allows learners to research different programs and thoroughly explore all available options.


While standards vary between institutions, most schools require that applicants maintain a 2.75 GPA or better. Prospective students who do not meet GPA requirements may be denied admission or accepted on provisionary terms.

Admission Materials

It may take an hour or more to complete a college application in one sitting. Website features like CommonApp help simplify the process. CommonApp also lets candidates add their personal information to a general form, which may then be submitted to multiple schools at once. A transcript displays a student's GPA, individual course grades, classes taken, and graduation status. Colleges and universities use transcripts to verify high school diplomas. Request letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, supervisors, and mentors who can attest to your academic and professional performance. Be sure to ask for recommendations at least two months before your application is due. Many schools require candidates to submit their official SAT or ACT scores when applying. After taking either exam, students can choose to have their test scores submitted directly to their chosen schools. Schools charge mandatory application fees to cover processing and administrative costs. Low-income students may qualify for fee waivers.

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Program?

Hospitality professionals must draw from a variety of disciplines to handle food services, personnel, or tech issues at a moment's notice. A bachelor's degree in hospitality management introduces many different concepts from numerous areas of study, including topics you may not readily associate with the industry. Along with major courses, some programs offer specialized academic tracks that allow students to explore a particular aspect of the field in greater depth. While concentration options vary from school to school, the following examples are some of the most common choices.

Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management
Concentration Description Careers
Gaming Management This concentration explores sports wagering and the mathematics behind racing, poker, and slot machines. Students gain familiarity with cash flow operations and credit collection systems commonly used in casinos, as well as federal and state gaming regulations. Casino operations
Meetings and Events Examining the logistics behind event planning, this track teaches prospective coordinators to organize successful events under budgetary and time constraints. Candidates learn to build relationships with stakeholders and vendors, oversee operations, and monitor cash flow. Conference coordinator
PGA Golf Tournament This unique concentration is ideal for candidates interested in producing and managing golfing events. Coursework introduces and strengthens customer relations techniques. Students also gain insight into numerous aspects of the industry, including golf car fleet management, golf club design, and technique instruction. Country club manager
Restaurant Management Students who specialize in restaurant management learn to develop appealing menus and execute foodservice operations. Classes explore cultural influences in the food and beverage industry, common dietary and nutritional restrictions, and laws governing food safety and alcoholic beverages. Food and beverage manager

Courses in a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Program

Every curriculum is slightly different, but most programs include certain core courses. These classes introduce the fundamental concepts in food and beverage service, business management, and human resources. Regardless of what school or program you select, you are likely to encounter some variation of the courses below.

Foundations of Hotel Management

Starting with economics, this course addresses basic hotel management principles and procedures. Students explore hotel and resort operations, from technological topics like security systems maintenance to human resources strategies used in hiring staff members.

Service and Beverage Management

Students learn how to provide excellent customer service in a restaurant setting. They develop an understanding of old and new world wine and order taking for a-la-carte menus. In this class, instructors teach students how to navigate point-of-sale systems and handle cash. Through this course, students gain advanced knowledge of wine and communication skills.

Human Resource Management

As the main point-of-contact for facility staff and the main person in charge of hiring personnel, hospitality managers need to be well versed in human resources. This class probes the legal, psychological, and operational ramifications of hiring, training, and firing staff members.

Hospitality Facilities and Operations Management

This course examines the design features and concepts commonly used in food and hospitality management. Students gain insight into architectural design, industry practices, floor layouts, and space planning. Learners study the lifecycle of construction projects and how they affect facility operations.

Managing Technology in the Hospitality Business

Students get introduced to modern technology as it relates to the hospitality industry. Students assess the current technological landscape of the field and its effectiveness. Then, they discuss emerging technologies and how they can be successfully integrated into the current system.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management?

Most undergraduate programs consist of around 120 credits, and full-time students typically earn their bachelor's degree in around four years. Several variables may influence degree length, including enrollment status, program structure, and transfer credits. In general, part-time students take longer to complete their degrees than full-time candidates, who typically enroll in four or more classes every semester. Distance learners are often able to earn a degree in less time than their traditional, on-campus counterparts. Many online programs feature accelerated and self-paced coursework, which allows learners to progress quickly through their studies. Cohort-based programs are less flexible and take longer to complete, but offer a greater deal of faculty support and interaction. Students who have previously attended college may be able to apply transfer credits toward their degree. In addition, some institutions offer college credit for military or professional experience, workplace training, and industry certifications.

How Much Is a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management?

Every school charges different tuition rates, and numerous factors may affect degree cost. Attending a local college, for example, may allow you to pay reduced in-state tuition rates. While federally-funded, nonprofit public universities often charge much less than private institutions, many private schools offer generous financial aid packages that significantly reduce attendance costs. Some for-profit schools raise tuition rates each year, so students end up paying more money as they progress. However, many schools have begun to institute waiver programs, which guarantee that students pay the same rate for four years.

Learners pursuing a traditional on-campus education are typically required to pay additional fees for campus maintenance, facility access, and other operational costs. Campus housing may further increase expenses by $10,000 or more. To reduce costs, many students choose to earn a degree online. Distance learners save on housing, transportation, and fees, and often pay much less for books and supplies. However, many schools charge a technology fee per online class, and some programs are only available in certain states. Because laws regarding online education vary from state to state, prospective distance learners should thoroughly research program availability in their state before selecting a school.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Prepares For

Certified Hotel Administrator

Intended for hotel executives and general managers, this certification is one of the industry's most prestigious credentials. Recipients display exemplary hotel and employee management skills and gain automatic entry into the CHA recertification program.

Certified Lodging Security Supervisor

Qualifying applicants must manage more than one employee before sitting for the certification exam. Study materials are provided, and those who pass the exam receive a lapel pin to demonstrate their credential.

Certified Hospitality Department Trainer

Applicants may enroll and complete this training development program in person or online. The course, which culminates in a 50-question multiple choice exam, provides strategies for training other adult workers in individual and group settings.

Certified Hospitality Supervisor

This certification is intended for professionals who supervise, schedule, train, and assess two or more employees at a time. Applicants must submit a resume, copies of high school and/or college transcripts, and an employment verification form.

Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager

These professionals excel at analyzing company revenue and making predictions based on inventory, hotel rates, and occupancy. Applicants must submit their resume, an employee verification form, and school transcripts.

Resources for Hospitality Management Students

American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute

A division of the American Lodging and Hotel Association, the Institute maintains outreach programs in several other countries and an Indian administrative office. The organization's site features several continuing education and certification programs.

Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration

The foremost accrediting body specializing in hospitality management programs, ACPHA maintains a database of schools that offer accredited hospitality management courses and degrees.

American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation

This ALHA branch sponsors scholarships for hospitality management majors and hosts fundraising events. The group has awarded more than $20 million in scholarships since its inception.

Hotel Management

Intended for hoteliers and hospitality workers, this website covers the latest hospitality trends, including design and technology. The site also provides helpful tips for owning and operating a hotel.

Network of Executive Women in Hospitality

With 23 chapters around the country, this association serves thousands of female hospitality professionals through conferences, leadership development programs, and scholarships.

Professional Organizations in Hospitality Management

Professional organizations connect students, employers, and industry veterans from all over the world. Along with networking events like annual conferences and career-building workshops, members gain access to valuable career resources, continuing education opportunities, and publications featuring the latest industry news. In addition, some organizations sponsor scholarships and mentoring programs.

The AHLA represents chain and boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and resorts across the United States. The organization's Dreams Happen Here campaign promotes hospitality industry awareness by offering prospective professionals support and funding. Supporting 7,000 members worldwide, this association strives to increase hotel revenue through focused marketing and promotional campaigns. Members may pursue certifications in digital marketing, hospitality marketing, sales, and business acumen. ADMEI works to promote industry professionalism by upholding standards. ADMEI's unique mentorship program pairs recent graduates and new professionals with veteran hospitality specialists. Serving ship employees and travel agents, CLIA is the cruise community's premier professional organization. Members receive a wide array of professional development resources, including certification programs, continuing education courses, and live webinars. This organization provides industry tech specialists with a place to learn and connect with one another. Along with career and educational resources, members gain access to numerous certification opportunities.
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