The value of a bachelor’s degree in hotel management can’t be overstated for future hotel managers. Lack of a formal education, as well as the associated knowledge and abilities, may serve as a deterrent to achieving your career objectives, even if you are otherwise qualified. For those who want to enter the field of hotel management but do not yet have a bachelor’s degree, here are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so with or without one.
Prospects for Hotel Managers Without a Degree
Is a four-year college degree a must-have for hotel management positions? It is possible to run a hotel without a college education, but achieving senior-level leadership roles will be difficult, especially at luxury high-end hotels. It’s not uncommon for a hotel manager to require several years of non-management hotel experience, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There may not be a clear path to advancement in these positions, but if you work hard and show your supervisors that you have the initiative and leadership skills to do more, you may be able to rise through the ranks. Even more important than having a degree is having the essential skills of a hotel manager, according to the BLS, which include problem-solving abilities, interpersonal abilities, listening skills and customer service abilities, as well as the ability to organize one’s time, lead others, and understand the business of running a hotel.
A bachelor’s degree is required by 72 percent of lodging managers. Full-service hotel chains typically require a four-year degree, but certificates and associate’s degrees in hotel management are also common in smaller hotels with fewer rooms or amenities and lower room rates.
In order to work in hotel management without a degree, you have the option of opening your own hotel. The BLS reports that 28% of hotel managers are self-employed, so you’d be in good company. However, you’ll still need the right skills to turn a profit at your hotel.
Options for Degrees In addition to running a hotel,
What if your goal is to attend college, but you don’t plan on pursuing a career in hotel management? To some extent, a bachelor’s degree is helpful in breaking into hotel management, but how much of an advantage it is will depend on how closely your major aligns with the skills required for hotel management.
The majority of students opt for a hospitality management program rather than a hotel management one. Programs in hospitality management have a slightly broader focus, but they share a lot of the same curricula with degree programs in hotel management It’s possible to work in a variety of different areas of the tourism and hospitality industry with a degree in hospitality management, but you’ll also learn the fundamentals of running a hotel, restaurant, or other establishment. You should not worry about the minor differences in the programs at the schools you are considering if you make a concerted effort to gain hands-on experience and professional connections in the hotels you are interested in.
Even if your major isn’t in hotel and hospitality management, you might be able to use your degree to get a job in the industry. Degree programs should help you gain the knowledge and abilities needed for the job. The technical business skills required for roles in hotel revenue management can be developed through a business, accounting, or finance major. Culinary arts training teaches you how to cook or bake in a restaurant or hotel kitchen. The soft skills and personality traits required for success as a hotel manager can be developed through more general programs like liberal arts, psychology, or sociology.
It’s possible that you’ll need more on-the-job training in the hotel industry if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration. When you come from one of these backgrounds, it may take you longer to rise to the position of hotel manager.
How a Bachelor’s in Hotel Administration Can Help Your Career
With a bachelor’s degree, you have more options in the job search. This is an important consideration in a field like hotel management, where the overall job outlook is bleak. Lodging manager jobs are expected to grow by just one percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that only 600 new jobs are expected to be created in the United States during that time period – far fewer than the number of people vying for them. Managers at high-end and prestigious hotels typically earn far more than those at lower-tier establishments, so the competition is expected to be fierce. According to the BLS, a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as hotel management or hospitality management, will make you a more attractive candidate for the best hotel manager positions.
Having a degree in hotel management will not only help you land the job you want, but it will also help you perform better in the position. If you come from a less relevant background, like a general business administration or the liberal arts, you might be missing out on important concepts and proficiencies because these programs of study focus narrowly on developing the skills that are most valuable and practical for this occupation.
In addition, a hotel management degree program gives you the opportunity to learn more than you would if you just worked in a hotel without a degree. Management trainee programs are rare in hotels, so you’ll likely only learn about your current job responsibilities, not the skills you’ll need to succeed in future positions with more varied and challenging tasks. As part of their studies, hotel management students are required to take specialized courses on everything from resort operations to risk management to convention services and sales to hospitality design to sommelier training.
Training in a hotel management degree program’s practical components, such as laboratory work, classroom experience, and internships in the industry, is more valuable than simply getting a job in the industry.