Hospitality management degrees teach prospective lodging and food service managers the principles of effective industry management.

From corner diners to five-star hotels, restaurants and hotels of all sizes employ managers to supervise the service workers that operate them. Whatever their size or exclusivity, these establishments live and die by the satisfaction of their customers. To ensure top service and product quality, hospitality businesses employ experienced and responsible managers to oversee staffs of all sizes.

Food service managers oversee the daily operations of restaurants, from local eateries to fine dining establishments. Typically, managers have a wide range of responsibilities. Food service managers are typically in charge of the restaurants human resources, and must hire and train new employees or let employees go as needed. They are generally responsible for making employee schedules, document financial transactions, order supplies and keep accurate inventories, and manage employee payrolls.

Most lodging managers work in conventional motels and hotels, but many are also employed in casinos, five-star hotels or exotic resorts. Lodging managers, like food service managers, have a wide-range of responsibilities. Lodging managers deal with the day-to-day operations of lodging establishments. Typically, they oversee the administrative services, manage the housekeeping, janitorial, food service and security departments, hire and train staff, perform marketing and sales functions and create employee schedules.

Because food service and lodging managers manage and maintain the operations of an organization in order to ensure consumer satisfaction and profitability, candidates with education and experience in one field may be qualified for management in the other.

For more information on online hospitality and culinary management degrees, CLICK HERE.

Hospitality Management Career Opportunities

Related Careers: Food Service Managers, Lodging Managers

Both food service manager and lodging manager positions are expected to grow at a slower-than-average growth rate. However, job opportunities in the hospitality industry are expected to be favorable as existing positions are vacated by career change, retirement, and termination.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the best opportunities for hospitality managers will be in nontraditional areas: food service managers will see strong job growth in nursing and retirement homes, as those facilities increasingly subcontract out their food services.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, travel and tourism industries are expected to grow substantially from 2008 to 2018, and with it, the need for managers in larger-scale establishments such as casinos, destination hotels and resorts.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 338,700 working food service managers in 2008. The field is expected to add 18,000 new jobs over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 356,700 food service managers. That's a 5% growth rate, slightly slower than the average for all occupations over the same time period.

Food service managers will experience an occupational growth rate slightly slower than the predicted 8.2% expansion of the civilian workforce from 2008 to 2018.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Lodging managers are expected to experience the same, slightly slower-than-average 5% growth rate. The BLS reports that there were 59,800 working lodging managers in 2008. The field is expected to add 2,800 new jobs over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 62,600 lodging managers.

Lodging managers will experience a 5% occupational growth rate, slightly slower than the 8.2% predicted expansion of the entire civilian workforce from 2008 to 2018.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Real job opportunities for food service and hospitality managers will be better than that BLS estimate. According to the Occupational Information Network, a project of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, there will be 83,700 positions available to qualified food service managers from 2008 to 2018. Additionally, the Occupational Information Network reports that there will be 15,600 positions available for lodging managers. Both figures – a great deal higher than the job growth predicted by the BLS – include those predicted new positions AND existing positions vacated by retirement, career change, early termination, etc.

Hospitality Management Earnings

Earning for hospitality managers vary by industry, geographical area, and employee experience and education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food service managers earned median annual wages of $46,320 in 2008. The middle 50% of the field earned between $36,670 and $59,580, while the bottom 10% earned less than $29,450 and the top 10% earned more than $76,940.

Lodging managers earned similar salaries with median annual wages of $45,800 in 2008, according to the BLS. The middle 50% of the field earned between $34,970 and $62,880, while the bottom 10% earned less than $28,160 and the top 10% earned more than $84,270.

Median earnings for hospitality managers were higher than national median wages in 2008.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hospitality Management Educational Benefits

For many hospitality management positions, work experience is more valuable than educational achievement. The strongest candidates, however, often have a combination of years of industry experience and formal hospitality management degrees.

While food service managers generally are not required to have postsecondary degrees, the managers of larger, full-service hotels are generally expected to have at least a bachelor's degree.

Some food service and hospitality managers choose to earn certifications, like the National Restaurant Association's Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation. While seldom a prerequisite for employment, certification can enhance job prospects and earning potential. 

As technology becomes an increasingly integral element of hospitality management, many larger employers may offer to pay for computer and technology courses for their managers.

According to the Occupational Information Network, 24% of food service managers have no formal education beyond a high school diploma. 36% have some college, including associate's degrees and diplomas in hospitality management. The remaining 40% have a bachelor's degree or higher.

More than 3/4 of food service managers have some college education.Source: Occupational Information Network

Similar to food service managers, according to the Occupational Information Network 23% of lodging managers have no formal education beyond a high school diploma. 32% have some college and 45% have earned a bachelor's degree or higher.

More than 3/4 of lodging managers have some college education.Source: Occupational Information Network

While an undergraduate or graduate hospitality management degree is not necessarily required to obtain entry level supervisorial positions in the hospitality industry, earning an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree can help prospective managers highlight their professionalism and abilities for competitive, high-paying positions.

Hospitality Management Programs Online

Degrees Possible: Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral Degrees

Because post-secondary education is not required for entry level positions in hospitality management, many prospective hospitality management students are working professionals seeking to enhance their credentials. For these individuals, online hospitality management programs may be ideal.

The best online hospitality management programs provide an education as rigorous as one offered at a local ground school, in a more flexible format that may be better suited to working students.

As with all expensive and important educational decisions, do your research when choosing a hospitality management degree program at any level. Is the school accredited? Do credits transfer? What are people saying about this program specifically and this school in general? You'll be able to find the answers to many of those questions on this network of Web sites, but don't be afraid to ask your admissions counselor the difficult questions.

Hospitality Management Skills and Abilities

Hospitality service managers must possess excellent interpersonal skills. If a guest's experience is not satisfactory, managers must be able to quickly and effectively assess and resolve the problem. They must be able to communicate effectively, with customers and employees.

Hospitality managers need a good deal of patience and flexibility in dealing with employees and customers. They must be able to efficiently instruct and train employees. For both high-level managers and those at smaller establishments, organizational and planning skills are necessary.

Food service and lodging managers often work long, late hours and nontraditional schedules in high-stress settings. They should be cool and prescient under pressure.

As technological innovations change the service industry, managers should have at least a rudimentary understanding of how these technologies will influence their field.

Hospitality Management Qualifications and Advancement

While not necessarily required, hospitality degrees of all levels qualify candidates for entry level positions as Food Service Managers and Lodging Managers.

A combination of continuing education and/or work experience can qualify candidates for more exclusive, competitive positions, like those at upscale restaurants or tropical resorts.

Additional Information

For more information on online hospitality and culinary management degrees, CLICK HERE.