Guide to Hospitality Management Colleges & Universities

Hospitality management personnel perform a variety of functions, depending on their specific interests and specializations. The common thread among these jobs is the management of personnel toward an enjoyable experience for a consumer. Hospitality managers also use their business, accounting, and management skills to ensure that their businesses remain capable of providing these experiences. They make sure people are having a good time on their vacations, their food is cooked to perfection, and their events all run smoothly and enjoyably. Read More


CStudents interested in hospitality management should have a strong interest in leadership, customer service, and other “people skills.” Most of the work carried out in this field involves talking to customers and tourists to coordinate travel plans and handle issues with their hospitality experience or managing employees as they perform their duties, so having the ability to interact with people in a calm, courteous manner is essential for a hospitality management student.

Another key skill is resource management, which includes the handling and allocation of time, money, and human resources. Hotel management personnel are often accountable for finances and hotel event planning, and must be capable of keeping track of event timetables as well as the hotel’s cash flow. Likewise, the managers of hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality organizations must be capable of allocating personnel to where they are most needed, and ensuring that all necessary tasks are completed.

The final major skill required for a hospitality management student is a talent for clear communication, which is necessary to put the other skills into practical use. Hospitality management personnel must be able to clearly communicate information to both customers and employees, and to understand communications from these and other individuals, including corporate management and vendors. Hospitality professionals must be able to communicate effectively in writing as well, since more and more of the communication necessary for success is carried out through e-mail and other electronic formats.

Students who are introverted or have poor communication skills are likely to have a more difficult time with any business program, including hospitality management. As noted, many of the daily functions in this field involve communicating with others and coordinating their activities, and those who are leery of talking to others will likely have a difficult time performing these duties. Much of the job hunt in the hospitality management field is also about connections and networking, which poor communicators may also struggle with. This is not insurmountable, but will make a career in the field more difficult to pursue.

Check the Guide to Accreditation in Higher Education to learn more about accreditation and how to determine if the program you select meets the necessary standards.


In any hospitality management program, you can expect coursework in:

  • Negotiation
  • Food Service Theory and Practice
  • Business and Hospitality Law
  • Management Communication
  • Managerial Accounting

Associate Degree in Hospitality Management

An associate degree is a good choice if you are not sure hospitality management is the right field for you, especially if you have recently finished high school.

  • Credit hours/length of study: 2 years
  • Employment prospects: food service manager, concierge

Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management

Consider a bachelor’s degree if you have recently graduated from high school and are confident that hospitality management is the right field for you.

  • Credit hours/length of study: 4 years
  • Employment prospects: lodging manager, event planner

Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management

A master’s degree, whether pursued as a master’s of science or a MBA, is appropriate if you have already received a bachelor’s degree and would like to advance your career.

  • Credit hours/length of study: 1-3 years
  • Employment prospects: While master’s degrees do not open up additional jobs, they will help you advance in your current career or pursue more prestigious lodging manager jobs.

Doctoral Degree in Hospitality Management

A doctorate is appropriate for those who want to teach business and hospitality management courses rather than pursue careers in the private sector.

  • Credit hours/length of study: 4-6 years
  • Employment prospects: higher education, professor of hospitality management


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  • Concierge
  • Event Planner
  • Hotel, Motel or Resort Desk Clerk
  • Lodging Manager
  • Tour Guide
  • Food Service Manager
  • Food Preparation and Service Manager


Many of the available scholarships in hospitality management are targeted at students in the travel or tourism area of the field. As a result, those who are interested in positions like resort manager or tour guide are at an advantage when applying for scholarships, as more of the available hospitality management scholarships are targeted specifically towards them. If you are a student in another field, however, you should apply for as many scholarships as possible to make up for the lowered number of specialized scholarships in your specific discipline.

The average award value for hospitality management scholarships is lower than that of many other disciplines, at about $2,000. The majority of hospitality management scholarships are also not renewable, meaning students can only receive the award for a single academic year. You should apply for as many scholarships as possible to make sure you receive as much funding as you can. Though the dollar amounts and lack of renewability can make these scholarship opportunities seem small, every award means money you don’t have to pay back in the form of loans after you complete your program, so each one can make a big difference.