There are hundreds if not thousands of hospitality management schools and programs out there and sometimes it’s confusing which one to choose. Programs are usually offered in graduate and undergraduate levels, from associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree through hospitality and business departments in universities, colleges or hospitality management schools.
How to find the Best Hospitality Management Schools and Programs?
Choosing schools and programs will depend on your individual needs, career goals and personal circumstances. When selecting hospitality management programs, look for schools with great reputation, has high rate of graduate placement in the workforce and don’t be afraid to ask around people who are in the industry. Check the amount of real industry experience the program offers. You should also consider schools affiliated to local and international organizations and businesses that offer internships and put your learning into the real world. Real world experience in the industry is very important as this will further guide you in your career path and also your first step in getting employed in the hospitality industry. Most valuable, piece of advice, do research and more research on the schools that you are interested in, you do not want to waste your time and money in programs that will not bring development in your hospitality career.
Possible questions to ask when inquiring for schools and programs (of course you can ask more)
- What are the admission requirements?
- Is the University/School program accredited?
- What are the specific courses for my degree, are they relevant?
- How long does it take to complete a given degree/program?
- What support is offered while I am in school?
- What is the tuition cost and other fees?
- Does the University/School offer financial aid?
- What days and hours are classes held?
- Can I take a break for personal or career commitments if needed?
- Location of the school, are there part time jobs around?
- Is the School/University accessible?
- Are there affordable accommodations/boarding houses/apartments around?
- If the school offers accommodation, what are the facilities, free Wi-Fi, laundry area etc.?
- Do you provide assistance in finding me a job after getting the degree?
- Do you provide internship assistance, and how many hours of internship/ exposure required? (the more hours of exposure, the better)
- Do you have campuses outside the country?
Hospitality Management Associate Degree
Entry level in hospitality industry doesn’t need a four-year degree program, you can start with associate (two-year) degree program. To make the most of this associate program, make sure that the school offers a fair amount of exposure or internships. After finishing the program, you may be employable for the following jobs: Front Office Agent, Room Reservations Agent, Administrative Assistant in various departments, Concierge Agent, Food and Beverage Host/Hostess and other entry level jobs.
Hospitality Management Bachelor’s Degree
With four-year degree in hospitality management, you may land a job as Management Trainee, Assistant Restaurant Manager, Assistant Front Office Manager, Assistant Executive Housekeeper, Assistant Sales Manager, Assistant Catering Manager and more. Some hospitality establishments may hire you directly after your internship. The salary of hospitality management graduates varies, depending on the establishments, the location and the position you are being offered.
Hospitality Management Online/Distance Learning
For students who need flexibility in schedules, although programs are offered full-time, however, there are programs that can be done on distance learning and part time studies for working professionals. Also, if students may not want to pursue hospitality programs in its entirety, there are specialized courses out there for the following: Restaurant Management, Bar Management, Front Office Management, Event Planning, Housekeeping Management, Spa Management, Culinary etc., these programs and courses are also available online or distance learning. The same with on campus education, look for reputable distance learning schools and organizations. Check their accreditation and affiliations as well as internship programs. When inquiring schools with their programs do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you can.
Working environment for hospitality professionals
Working in hospitality business can be stressful with long hours and often on call. However, if you are passionate about this industry, a career in hospitality business is fun and rewarding.
Salary and job prospects for hospitality graduates and professionals
Hospitality graduates are highly employable in the following businesses; hotels, lodging and accommodations, restaurants, bars, cruise line, event management, etc.
According to payscale.com the average salary of hospitality graduates ranges from $25K to $65K per year. Also, according to bls.com an 8% growth from 2014 to 2024 for lodging managers, more or less the same with other careers in hospitality. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in hotel or hospitality management are expected to have the best job opportunities. However, applicants can expect strong competition for most jobs.