Ski Resort Management Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Training

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What kind of jobs can you get with an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in ski resort management? Find out associate's and bachelor's degree requirements, online options and info on courses in ski resort management.
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Studying Ski Resort Management: Degrees at a Glance

An undergraduate program in ski resort management will teach you to oversee and manage ski resort operations. You'll attain both business skills and ski resort management training. In addition to taking classes, many programs offer on-the-job training and internship opportunities. Associate's degree programs cover practical topics related to skiing operations, including ski patrol, equipment maintenance and basic business skills. Bachelor's degree programs emphasize advanced business-related knowledge and skills specific to overall resort operation and management.

While an associate's degree will cover foundational topics in the field and prepare you for entry-level employment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that many recreation workers need a bachelor's degree to work in the field, especially in management roles. From 2010-2020, the BLS projected that employment for recreation workers would increase 19%, which is the average growth rate for all occupations.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals seeking an entry-level job in ski resort operations or who want to transfer into a bachelor's degree program Those who want a career in ski resort management
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary)- Ski patrol ($19,000)*
- Lift manager (unavailable)
- Ski resort general manager ($74,000)**
- Ski resort operations manager ($48,000)**
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements About 20-24 courses (about 64 credits)
About 40-48 courses (about 128 credits)
Prerequisites High school diploma
High school diploma
Online Availability No No

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **PayScale.com (June 2012 figures).

Associate's in Ski Resort Management

An associate's degree in ski resort management will provide you with the technical skills necessary to manage ski areas and equipment. You'll also obtain basic business skills, such as marketing, management, accounting and finance. With an associate's degree, you have the option to begin an entry-level career or transfer your credits to a bachelor's degree program. However, to earn a ski resort management position, you may need several years of experience in the field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Enter the career field after only two years
  • Get to work in a field you are passionate about
  • Prepared for employment after graduation

Cons

  • Need experience before earning management position
  • Only seasonal work may be available for graduates
  • Will compete for jobs with bachelor's degree holders

Courses and Requirements

Courses in a ski resort management program cover all aspects of ski and snowmaking operations. To ensure the slopes are ready for skiing, students learn about ski area risk management, trail grooming techniques and ski patrol through classes and internships at ski resorts. A valid driver's license may be required. In order to prepare for specific careers after graduation, you can take several different elective courses, such as event management, ski patrol, ropeway construction, snow vehicle maintenance and computer information systems.

Online Course Options

A ski resort management program at the associate's degree level isn't available online, since it requires that students complete lab courses on campus. Gaining practical experience in the field is also essential, and this cannot be completed online. In some cases, you might be able to enroll in a few individual classes online.

How to Stand Out

Gaining experience in the field is one of the best ways to stand out and some programs allow you to do that while still in school through cooperative work experience programs. Whether you are working as a lift technician or ski patrol, it's important to have a strong understanding of how trails and slopes need to be maintained and how equipment operates. Ski safety is also an essential part of the job, and individuals who work in this field must be aware of avalanche safety, outdoor emergency care and terrain operations.

Bachelor's in Ski Resort Management

A bachelor's degree in ski resort management offers you the opportunity to pursue advanced courses in business and ski resort management. Bachelor's degree programs in this field are rare, and schools and colleges that offer them are usually located only in parts of the country where skiing is prevalent. Students who pursue a degree in this field may want to have experience in the ski industry and have a basic understanding of ski operations before enrolling. Earning a bachelor's degree will prepare you for administrative and management positions after graduation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Better opportunity to obtain management positions
  • Curriculum includes advanced business and ski management courses that can prepare you for employment
  • Internship may lead to job opportunities

Cons

  • May be difficult to obtain work outside of the ski resort industry
  • Experience required for advancement
  • Programs are only available in certain parts of the country

Courses and Requirements

At some schools, students may need to complete an associate's degree program in ski management in order to complete some hands-on work before transferring to a business-oriented bachelor's degree program. Students take advanced business courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, microeconomics and macroeconomics, global operations management, business strategy and corporate finance. Ski resort management courses cover both mountain operations and resort management topics. Examples of courses include resort marketing and sales, resort general management and resort development. A capstone experience and related project may also be required.

Online Course Options

Like an associate's degree, online ski resort management programs are not available at the bachelor's degree level. The schools that offer this program often require that students gain practical experience in the field.

How to Stand Out

Acquiring work experience is key to earning a job in ski resort management. Many programs offer cooperative work experiences or internships as part of the curriculum. Participating in an internship or similar experience can help you develop hands-on operations and management skills.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Event Planning
      • AASBA in Health Club Operations
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • A.S. Business
      • A.S. General Studies - Business
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Dryden, NY

    Tompkins Cortland Community College

  • Online Programs Available
    8. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • AS in Business Administration

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • AASBA in Event Planning

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American InterContinental University

  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Colorado Technical University

  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. Business
  • A.S. General Studies - Business

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Keiser University

  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • Associate of Science - Business Studies

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Tompkins Cortland Community College

Southern New Hampshire University

  • AS in Business Administration

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