Study Hospitality: Bachelor's, Master's & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with a bachelor's or master's degree in hospitality management? Read about hospitality management degree program requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and master's degree and potential careers.
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Hospitality Management Bachelor's and Master's: Degrees at a Glance

A bachelor's degree in hospitality management prepares you for a career as a lodging manager or as a meeting, event and convention planner. A master's degree in the field prepares you for higher-level positions in either career or to teach hospitality management at a community college. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment opportunities for lodging mangers would grow by 8% (slower than average for all occupations) from 2010-2020, while the job growth for meeting, convention and event planners would increase by 44% during the same time period.

Bachelor'sMaster's
Who is this degree for? - Individuals interested in a career as a lodging manager or event coordinator - Industry veterans seeking to advance their careers
- Individuals interested in teaching careers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Lodging manager ($55,000)*
- Meeting, event and convention planner ($50,000)*
- Same as those for bachelor's degree holders
- Postsecondary teacher ($74,000)*
Time to Completion About 4 years (full-time) About 1 year (full-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Coursework
- Internship
- Coursework
- Thesis
Prerequisites - High school diploma or equivalent - Bachelor's degree
- Letters of recommendation
- Introductory courses in calculus and statistics
- Several years of work experience may be required
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).


Hospitality Management Bachelor's Degrees

Students in a hospitality management bachelor's degree program learn the skills and expertise required to work in a leadership position in the field of hospitality services. Generally, these programs require completion of approximately 120 academic credits in core courses and electives. Specializations in areas such as operations, catering, events and tourism may be available in some programs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Having a degree may make employers prefer you for positions in the field that do not necessarily require a degree
  • Online programs are available, allowing you to attend class on your own schedule or to continue working while earning your degree
  • Many programs include an internship, which provides relevant work experience that may make you more attractive to employers

Cons

  • Hospitality professionals may be required to work non-traditional hours, including nights and weekends
  • A degree is not always required to work in some positions, meaning that you may compete against high school diploma or associate's degree holders for some jobs
  • The BLS predicted that competition for jobs in the industry would be extremely high due to an increase in the number of limited-service hotels

Common Courses and Requirements

These programs usually include courses in business, hospitality and tourism. Topics possibly covered in these classes may include food service management, legal issues in hospitality, human resource management and hospitality marketing. Some programs may also include an internship. In addition to core courses in the major and general education requirements, students may be permitted to select an area of concentration, such as catering, event management, or casino or hotel management.

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management are widely available. These online programs generally feature curriculum and coursework requirements similar to traditional on-campus programs. Classes in these programs may cover topics like personnel management, tourism policy and planning, sanitation management and managerial accounting.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

To stand out with your degree, consider participating in extracurricular activities that allow you to use the leadership skills, organization and friendliness valued in the field of hospitality management. For example, if you plan to work in tourism, consider volunteering to provide campus tours to potential students.


Hospitality Management Master's Degrees

Master's degree programs in hospitality management are available as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Hotel Administration, Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism or Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH). Although the coursework in the programs are similar, M.S. programs may include a thesis requirement. Regardless of program type, upon graduation most master's degree holders are qualified for leadership positions in the hospitality industry.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Possessing a graduate degree may lead to eligibility for higher-level positions in the field
  • The wide availability of online programs allows you to continue working while earning your degree
  • The BLS predicted that jobs for event, convention and meeting planners would grow at a faster-than-average rate during the 2010-2020 decade

Cons

  • You may be in competition with bachelor's degree holders for jobs, particularly for positions in management
  • The BLS predicted that employment growth for lodging managers would be slower than average
  • Some employers may prefer candidates with work experience rather than graduate degrees for higher-level positions

Common Courses and Requirements

The curriculum of most master's degree programs includes courses in hospitality management, law, corporate strategy, finance, communications and leadership. M.S. programs may include a thesis requirement, while MMH programs may require completion of a capstone course and project.

Online Degree Options

Online master's degree programs in hospitality management are available. Fully online degree programs generally include curriculum and other requirements that are similar to or the same as their on-campus counterparts.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

To stand out against your competition, consider honing your technical skills. The BLS states that software applications and other technology will become increasingly important in the hospitality field. Therefore, becoming proficient in the use of these programs, which can include reservation, billing and housekeeping management programs, may impress employers. You can gain knowledge of these programs by completing classes in information systems during your studies.

Alternate Degrees

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a concentration or certificate in hospitality management or a related field can also make you eligible for higher-level positions in the field. These programs often focus more on business management. Hospitality related classes in MBA programs may cover topics like lodging operations management, strategic management of conventions and special events, international hotel management, event management and tourism research. A practicum or international experience may be part of the curriculum in these programs.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
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    3. Grand Canyon University

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    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
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    4. Regent University

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    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
      • B.S. in Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
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    5. George Fox University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Adult Degree Program - Management and Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Business Administration - Management
      • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
      • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
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    7. Brenau University

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    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor in Business Adminstration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Herzing University

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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
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    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors in Business Administration Specialization in Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Organizational Leadership

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Grand Canyon University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
  • B.S. in Management

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George Fox University

  • Adult Degree Program - Management and Organizational Leadership

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Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • BA: Business Administration - Marketing

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Brenau University

  • Bachelor in Business Adminstration

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Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business

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