Hospitality: A Great Degree for Portable Career

A degree in hospitality can open doors to an exciting career with excellent pay. Job opportunities can be found across all 50 states and overseas in a diverse field of careers such as those in:

  • Hotels
  • Vacation Resorts
  • Recreational Vehicle Parks
  • Recreational Camps
  • Rooming and Boarding Houses
  • Performing Arts Centers
  • Spectator Sports Organizations
  • Museums
  • Casinos
  • Amusement Parks
  • Historical Sites

A degree in hospitality can even provide opportunities to work for yourself by starting your own business such as running a vacation property or working as a hospitality consultant. A hospitality degree is available as an associate degree, bachelor’s, or a master’s. There are also a variety of certifications available such as industry education in hospitality fundamentals and operations, or food and beverage management.

A degree (and certifications) in hospitality will qualify the recipient for a wide variety of jobs across many businesses. This is an especially great career path for military spouses as they are certain to secure excellent job opportunities across their many moves. Don’t forget about the MyCAA Program for military spouses; for more info click here.

Associate Degree in Hospitality

An Associate Degree in Hospitality is a great starting point for those interested in careers in hotel management or tourism. Don’t forget to look for certificate programs from reputable sources. Certifications can offer a student an opportunity to fast track their education about the hospitality industry while working and gaining on-the-job knowledge to complement their academics. Certifications from educational institutions (such as the hospitality programs through Cornell and Florida Atlantic University) are more esteemed and desired by employers than certifications from private, for-profit organizations. Don’t forget that the GI Bill can be used for non-degree seeking programs through approved institutions.

Jobs you can obtain with an Associate Degree in Hospitality:

  • Travel agent– sell transportation, lodging, and entertainment activities to individuals and groups planning trips. Median annual salary: $41,000.
  • First-Line Supervisor of Gambling Services Workers– directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers in assigned gambling areas. Median annual salary: $52,000.
  • Food service manager– responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. Median annual salary: $60,000.

Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality

Students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and choose a specialty focus such as hotel management, marketing and sales, or food and beverage. A Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality will open doors and opportunities for supervisory positions and a significant pay raise from an associate degree.

Jobs you can obtain with a Bachelor’s in Hospitality include:

  • Meeting, convention, and event planner– coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. Median annual salary: $51,000.
  • Lodging manager– ensure that traveling guests have a pleasant experience at the establishment and ensure that the business is run efficiently and profitably. Median annual salary: $63,000.
  • Gaming manager– plan, direct, and coordinate gaming operations in a casino. Median annual salary: $85,000.

Master’s Degree in Hospitality

Those earning a Master’s Degree in Hospitality are well prepared to be leaders in their careers and related fields. When earning a master’s degree one can continue in their current career path with additional earning power, undertake leadership roles, or transition into teaching.

  • Postsecondary teacher- instructor for hospitality programs. Average annual salary: $74,000.
  • Destination marketing manager– responsible for drawing people to a destination. Target groups (including locals and international travelers) through promotional materials (such as newspaper and tv ads). Median annual salary: $110,000.
  • Amusement park operations manager– plan, direct, and coordinate the operations of the organization. Duties and responsibilities include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. Median annual salary: $123,000.

Hospitality Degree Programs

Ready to earn your degree in hospitality?

Check out these great programs available at our partner schools:

  • Bethune-Cookman University offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. Bethune-Cookman is a premier historically black university that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Central Washington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management with either a specialization in Hospitality Management, Tourism Management or Event Management. Although CWU does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, the school does offer tuition waiver opportunities including The Veteran of Foreign Conflict Waiver and The Veteran Dependent Waiver.
  • Kansas State University offers a fully online Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management and a fully online Master’s in Hospitality Administration. Kansas State University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Southern Connecticut State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure Studies with concentrations in tourism, hospitality, and event management. Southern Connecticut State University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

*All average annual salaries adapted and calculated from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. For more information click here.

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About the author

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Born in SoCal yet raised Tampa, Florida - Leah earned her undergraduate BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Leah earned her MA in the MALAS at San Diego State University, while also completing a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. An avid traveler, she has visited more than 60 countries. With the birth of her son Spencer in 2012, Leah embarked on her biggest adventure (yet) as parent and Coast Guard wife.