Hospitality Management Degree
The hospitality industry is one of the largest in the world, encompassing an impressive array of job titles and descriptions. A hospitality management degree, therefore, provides a great deal of flexibility for students wishing to enter any type of job related to travel, tourism, or restaurant management. It is possible to enter this field without having earned a hospitality management degree. However, this will mean years of working up through the various ranks to attain a management position, translating to lower earnings and missed opportunities. Fortunately, there are a variety of options students can pursue in order to advance in this field. Certificates or degrees can be earned in a few months or may take several years, depending upon whether students study on a full or part time basis. Many programs are now offered online, providing added versatility for those wishing to complete a hospitality management degree with attending a brick-and-mortar institution.
Anyone desiring to enter the hospitality management field should realize that most jobs in this industry do not have a typical Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm schedule. Entities such as hotels, bars, restaurants, and cruise ships often operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a result, many people working in the hospitality industry work flexible schedules which may include nights, weekends, and holidays. Hospitality professionals may find that their typical work week is approximately 55 hours, with the possibility for greater or fewer hours on any given week.
Most people who enter the hospitality management field do so because they possess an innate love of travel which they want to share with others. Beyond that, hospitality professionals must be efficient, organized, and customer service oriented. They must possess a desire to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of others, the ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, and be able to communicate with tact and skill. Careers in hospitality management are often demanding and stressful, requiring individuals who enter this field to be calm under pressure and to be able to think on their feet. Most people who choose travel and tourism occupations find their career is both challenging and rewarding. Their days are varied and they have an opportunity to utilize a number of different skills.
Students wishing to pursue a hospitality management degree have several concentration options to choose from. These will vary from one institution to another; however, most colleges offering such a program will provide specialization in areas such as:
- Hospitality Management
- Planning Conventions and Meetings
- Management of Destination Services
- Tourism and Travel
- Management of Food and Beverage
- Casino Management
- Hotel Management
The choice of specialization will be entirely the student’s decision, depending upon what type of career they would like to pursue. In many programs, a specialization will not need to be declared until some portion of the degree has already been completed, so undecided students may have time to reach a decision.