Choosing a Hospitality Degree

See if one of these hospitality degree programs appeals to you.

Whether your dream career is working in a hotel or casino, cruise ship or in a resort or spa, a hospitality degree can help you acquire the fundamental business and customer service skills you’ll need to excel.

Before you choose a school, however, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the degree programs and career paths available.

Types of Hospitality Degree Programs

The first step is to explore your educational options. There are a number of hospitality degree programs available at public, private, vocational and community colleges, as well as certificate and diploma programs for those who’d rather enter the job market more quickly and get hands-on training.

College degrees in the hospitality field range from the associate’s level to the master’s degree level—usually a master of business administration (MBA) in hospitality management or hotel and restaurant management. There are also degree programs that focus exclusively on restaurant management. For those who need a flexible course schedule due to work or family demands, there are a few fully-online and partially-online hospitality degree programs.

Whether you decide to go for a traditional or online hospitality degree, there are a few important characteristics to consider when making your choice:

  • The school or program should be accredited, either by a regional accrediting agency or the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.
  • You’ll also want to research the program thoroughly to make sure it offers the curriculum you want to study.
  • Programs that require some amount of work experience or internship hours can provide valuable hands-on training, as well as helping you get a foot in the door at that all-important first job.

Careers Available with a Hospitality Degree

If you decide to focus on the lodging portion of the industry, with the appropriate hospitality degree, you’ll be able to choose between managing a chain hotel or being an entrepreneur and opening your own facility. Other types of lodging such as RV parks, campgrounds, resorts, bed-and-breakfast inns and casino hotels are also potential sources of employment. In addition, there are hospitality-related jobs not specific to either food service or lodging, such as event planner and tour director.

Above all, though, whether you’re in lodging or food service, management or administrative support, you’ll need to have outstanding customer service skills. A hospitality degree can help you learn those skills, as well as providing the business training necessary to succeed in the field.

Sources: Suite101.com; Hosteur

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