Start Your Hospitality Degree Online or On-Site

The hospitality industry has careers in hotels, tourism, restaurants and casinos. Discover how to get a hospitality degree and possible career paths.

Hospitality is a broad term which covers many different industries. Because it appeals to so many areas, many students decide to get a hospitality degree. There are both associate and bachelor hospitality degrees available. While the costs vary depending on what school you attend, the average cost of tuition each year for an associate in hospitality is $3,200, or $10,000 for a bachelor’s degree. Some of the industries commonly associated with a hospitality degree include:

  • Food and beverage services

  • Casinos

  • Travel and tourism

  • Hotels

Hospitality courses cover a number of areas. Some classes focus on the administration and daily business operations, while others focus on marketing and advertising. Financial management and human resources are also included in many hospitality degrees. Hospitality fields are an excellent choice for students who are responsible and self-motivated. The majority of hospitality jobs involve working as a manager. More information about getting a hospitality degree, including career opportunities, is covered below.

Common Hospitality Courses

Hospitality courses are divided into two areas. There are general hospitality courses, which help you with any type of hospitality job. There are also specialized classes focusing on specific career paths, like working in the hotel industry. Two general classes included in the majority of hospitality programs are an introductory course, which covers the basic skills you must learn to succeed in the hospitality business. The second is managing special events, which focuses on common industry practices and what goes into running a successful event. This also includes an overview on important laws and certifications you must be aware of in the hospitality industry.

The advanced courses explore different areas, such as marketing terms and techniques, business law, financial accounting or food safety. These classes often have crossover with general business or accounting courses, teaching you how to develop a successful marketing plan and address issues like employee payroll and creating financial statements.

If you are interested in the food elements, there are additional specializations available. Some classes cover large scale food production, including how to come up with meal plans for big events, proper food safety and how to minimize costs and eliminate food waste. There are also courses for working in specific areas, such as the wine industry or running a catering service.

Cornell University Hospitality Management Certificate

If you are not interested in getting a degree but still want training to succeed in the hospitality management, Cornell University offers an excellent online training program. The course only takes three months to complete, and is taught by an Ivy League instructor. Each course is only one or two hours long, taking place two to three times throughout the week. Some of the subjects covered include marketing planning and management, generating guest loyalty and generating financial statements.

If you are interested in running a hotel, Cornell’s College of Business also runs a School of Hotel Administration. You can complete the basic program to get your Bachelor’s in Science Hotel Administration, but there are also advanced Master programs available.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University runs the School of Hospitality Business, one of the oldest hospitality programs in the United States. Among the hospitality field, it is considered an elite school. The school has generous options for students who which to study abroad. Some programs are short, only lasting a few weeks, while others are for an entire semester. The school partners with many local businesses, providing students the chance to intern and get on the job training. The university also hosts a Career Expo, which gives students the opportunity to directly network with hospitality companies.

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

With so many hotels and casinos, Las Vegas is one of the largest hubs for the hospitality industry. It is no surprise the University of Nevada also runs one of the best hospitality programs. In addition to general hospitality courses, you can take hotel courses from the Willian F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration or learn about working in a casino from the International Gaming Institute. The university also has a number of online options for students who want a Bachelor’s in hospitality, gaming and restaurant management.

Hospitality Careers

There are many careers to choose in the hospitality field. Each has different requirements and salaries. Some hospitality careers focus on the food and beverage services. Food services managers typically make $55,000 a year. They are responsible for managing a restaurant, which includes coming up with a menu, hiring and training staff and getting the necessary licenses for the restaurant. If you want to focus more on the food aspect, you can become a food and beverage director instead. You are still responsible for training employees, but only in the kitchen. Directors specialize in making menus and catering for special events. On average, they make $80,000 a year.

Another option is to specialize in event planning. Event planners coordinate both personal and professional events. They pick the venue, plan a budget and coordinate with all the clients and vendors. Critical thinking is important for event planners. The average salary is $51,000 a year, or $58,000 if you specialize in running fundraisers.

There are several different careers for working in a hotel. Hotel managers make around $55,000 a year. Their job involves hiring employees, general marketing for the hotel and working with customers. A more involved job is hotel sales manager. This career focuses on marketing campaigns to bring in customers. In addition to planning events for the hotel, you are also responsible for making upgrades to the hotel, ranging from making room changes to expanding the services available from the hotel. Hotel sales manager make around $125,000 a year.