Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
Studying in the field
The hospitality industry is diverse and thus a degree in hospitality covers many different aspects in the field. Topics covered vary from running a restaurant to managing a hotel and everything in between. Students with graduate degrees in hospitality management
enter the workforce with a deep understanding of the ways in which the field works and an ability to make a difference in an industry that spans the globe and affects millions of people every year.
The University of Boston describes the study of hospitality management
as, "the business of managing hotels, food service, travel and tourism, entertainment, and people," and the number and range of courses required of its practitioners are far greater than most people imagine.
The knowledge necessary to be successful in the industry can at times transform its students into a jack-of-all-trades. Additionally, many programs require students to have internships or co-op jobs in the field. For example, when the computers go down in the middle of Friday night's dinner rush at an upscale restaurant, the front end manager must quickly resolve the issue, functioning as his own IT guy. Course work will provide students with a better understanding of computer systems, mathematics, accounting, human resources, finances and even a bit of organizational psychology. Due to the very nature of hospitality management
, management studies play a large role in the overall training and is often the common thread connecting coursework. Every day brings new challenges in the hospitality industry. Fewer professions are more exciting day in and day out.
Some of the more popular areas, positions and specialties in the industry include:
- Food Service Management
- Financial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry
- Hospitality Law
- Hospitality Marketing
- Hospitality Technology and Computer Applications
- Managerial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry
- Finance for the Hospitality Industry
- Food and Beverage Management
- International Hospitality
A large number of people in the hospitality industry have associate's or bachelor's degrees. A good way to establish yourself in the field is by earning a graduate degree, which can open a new level of jobs and positions to you. Masters degrees tend to be the most popular degrees in the graduate world. This degree will engage you with an in-depth understanding of the ways in which the business works, and it will also likely set you on the path toward a career in higher-level management and planning.
The hospitality management program's mission is to educate students for management and leadership in the hospitality industry and to contribute to the profession through teaching excellence, research, consultation and service activities.
The University of North Texas
states: "As the industry demand for graduates of hospitality management programs increases, the need for the highest quality of education in the field continues to grow. In the program, you will examine critical subjects that will challenge the industry deep into the 21st century."
The graduate program in hospitality at UNT also claims that the hospitality industry will face changing demographics in the work force and consumers. Technology and quality management will receive a new emphasis. Additional legal requirements in lodging and restaurant management will be added. Graduates will learn entrepreneurship and restaurant development from concept to operation. The impact of tourism on the global economy and maximizing human resources and industry profits will challenge those in the industry into the future.
At the graduate level you will definitely find it useful to have some experience in the field. It is a good way to understand whether or not the hospitality management
field is right for you. Additionally, many graduate-level students have chosen to go into the field due to prior experience with it. Experience is a good way to stay competitive with other potential candidates. However, like many fields of study, enthusiasm and a desire to succeed are often the biggest factor to make a positive academic and professional impact.
Job opportunities in the field
The many aspects of the hospitality industry afford graduates seemingly infinite careers avenues to pursue. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Resort operations
- Property management
- Restaurant operations
- General manager
- Food & beverage directors
- Front office manager
- Marketing manager
- Conference planner
- Human resource manager
Many jobs in hospitality management
are held by owners of associate and bachelor's degrees, but job pay and security tends to be higher for those with graduate degrees. Additionally, "The average salary for a general manager of a lodging property in the United States is nearly $65,000, according to a compensation survey [from 2002] by Smith Travel Research and the American Hotel & Lodging Assn.:
The national average for bonuses for general managers is $10,289. The bigger the hotel, the higher the salary for general managers.
- General managers of hotels with more than 200 guestrooms have an average salary of $98,001 plus an average bonus of $18,180.
- General managers of hotels with fewer than 80 guest-rooms earn an average salary of $41,569 plus an average bonus of $5,376.
- General managers at resort properties earn an average salary of $88,372 plus an average bonus of $16,308. Other sectors where general managers might work include:
- Urban ($74,964 salary plus $13,624 bonus)
- Airport ($69,847 salary plus $11,615 bonus)
- Suburban ($64,263 salary plus $9,982 bonus)
- Highway ($51,123 salary plus $6,591 bonus)
- General managers at upper-upscale properties earn an average salary of $101,995 plus an average bonus of $19,009. Other sectors:
- Upscale ($ 65,098 salary plus $9,366 bonus)
- Midscale with food-and-beverage ($61,631 salary plus $8,885 bonus)
- Midscale without food-and-beverage ($ 42,580 salary plus $5,948 bonus)
- Economy ($43,014 salary plus $4,570 bonus)
- Independent ($64,135 salary plus $10,796 bonus)
- General managers in the Middle Atlantic region earn an average salary of $78,528 plus an annual bonus of $12,723. Other regions show the range of earnings potential:
- Pacific ($73,589 salary plus $12,151 bonus)
- New England ($69,075 salary plus $10,450 bonus)
- East South Central regions ($54,827 salary plus $8,535 bonus)
- West North Central regions ($54,495 salary plus $7,692 bonus)
The future looks bright for those with graduate degrees in hospitality management. Trends in the constantly changing global economy, and travel playing a larger role in the business world, make high-end jobs in the field more and more important.
Check out: Hospitality Management Graduate Programs