The hospitality administration field involves working with people, managing events and creating memorable moments. Below are some resources that can help you decide if a career in this field is right for you.
The hospitality industry revolves around carefully planned events, world-class meals and welcoming guest rooms. If you pursue a career in hospitality, you might work at a hotel, resort, restaurant, campground or casino. A hospitality administration job requires you to direct several services, such as food preparation, hotel activities and guest accommodations, combined with the management of general business tasks, such as accounting, marketing and sales.
Hospitality managers must oversee all aspects involved in running a profitable and comfortable facility. If you want to enter the field, you should have a strong understanding of food service management, human resources, hospitality law, hospitality marketing and tourism management. Hospitality professionals also need to have exceptional communication skills, since much of their work involves interacting with clients and customers. If you're considering a leadership position, you should possess strong critical thinking, finance and organizational skills.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that lodging managers earned an average annual salary of $55,810 as of May 2013 (www.bls.gov). The middle half of lodging managers earned between $35,950 and $65,630 per year. Food service managers earned a mean wage of $53,130 annually, with the middle half of workers earning between $38,480 and $62,890. Chefs and head cooks took in an average of $46,620 per year, with the middle half earning between $31,070 and $57,640.
The BLS reported that most upscale or large chain hotels require entry-level hospitality administrators and managers to earn a master's degree in hotel administration or a related field of study. A combination of education and experience may be sufficient for some opportunities. Most general service occupations, such as front desk positions, only require a high school diploma.
Bachelor's degree programs in hotel management can prepare you for entry-level hospitality management, sales and administration positions through a combination of core coursework and internships. You can expect to take courses in food and beverage management, finance for hotels and facilities management. Master's degree programs in hospitality administration provide the foundation for advanced management positions and usually require you to receive work experience, in addition to internship opportunities. A bachelor's degree program in culinary arts can prepare you for an entry-level position as a chef or food preparation worker. During the program, you'll learn about food production, decorative techniques, desserts and employee safety in the kitchen.
You can choose a career from several occupational categories, such as hospitality services, administrative support or management. You might become a restaurant, sales, event or lodging manager. If you work specifically in food services, you could become an executive chef or a food preparation professional.