Master’s in Hospitality Management Career Guide
What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Program?
A master’s degree in hospitality management opens doors to a variety
of different fields, from event planning to restaurant management and
even overseeing operations of an entire hotel. The courses offered in an
online master’s of hospitality program contain the same information
that a traditional campus offers, including budgeting, human resources
management, sales and guest service. Online degrees are ideal for
someone just starting in the hospitality industry as this field’s
irregular hours may make attending classes in person a challenge.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION|
|Resort Management||Dive into the day-to-day operations in a hotel, financial aspects of running this business and employee relations. General business courses and those specifically related to the hospitality industry are included.||Hotel general manager, catering manager, restaurant manager, rooms manager, executive housekeeper|
|Spa Resort Management||Learn the daily operations of a resort and spa, health department regulations, guest safety protocol and general business and finance courses.||School administrator, educational grant developer, school district administrator|
|Restaurant Management||Explore the business and financial aspects of running a restaurant and basic culinary techniques. Employee relations and human resources management are also covered, as well as legal aspects of the restaurant and bar industries, including responsible alcohol service.||Restaurant general manager, kitchen manager, bar manager|
|Casino Management||Examine the regulations specific to the casino industry, including legal aspects. Guest services, general business and human resource education are also covered.||Director of operations|
|Human Resources||Equips students with the knowledge of employment laws at both the state and federal levels. Payroll and wage courses are covered, as well as general hospitality.||Director of human resources|
|Revenue Management and Hotel Finance||Specialize in financial operations of hotels, including pricing structures, revenue maximization and budgeting. Long-term financial planning and revenue forecasting are covered..||CFO, revenue manager, director of finance|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Courses for a master’s in hospitality management include general
business and accounting, human resources, guest services and employee
relations. Legal aspects of hospitality management are covered,
including state regulations, guest safety and property liability.
Marketing and sales are part of the core curriculum, as are soft skills
like leadership and communication.
Specific coursework for different concentrations, such as sales, spa
management, hotel management and restaurant management, will vary. Some
of these concentrations may require practical applications, including
work experience or internships. Examples of general hospitality
management courses include:
|Economics of Travel and Tourism||Covers tax policy, asset theory and cost-benefit analysis in relation to statistical and economic tourism. Students will learn methods used specifically to research the tourism and hospitality industries.|
|Advanced Hospitality Accounting and Finance Systems||Learn how to construct a budget and forecast revenue and expenses. Other topics include the application of incentive systems, asset management in both short-term and long-term, and performance evaluations.|
|Advanced Personnel Systems in Restaurants and Hotels||Explore advanced methods of employee management and methods for organizing employee structures in a variety of settings, including restaurants, hotels, resorts and other venues.|
|Marketing||Examine marketing plans, conducting sales calls and working to sell your property. Competitive analysis and customer evaluation are also covered, as are strategic pricing and ROI for marketing initiatives.|
|Law Course||Property law and legal obligations for hoteliers are covered, including the applications of laws and regulations that govern the hospitality industry. Legal relations with guests, employees and government agencies are also covered.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management?
Many online master’s in hospitality management degrees are designed
to be completed in two years of full-time study. Some programs have a
thesis requirement rather than an externship or work-study, which may
change the amount of time your program will take. Most master’s in
hospitality management degrees consist of 30 to 40 credit hours,
including the internship credit hours. An MBA with a focus on
hospitality management may take a little longer, as the typical credit
hours are over 40 and include more finance-related classes than the
master’s in hospitality management degree.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Prepares For
|Certified Hotel Concierge||This certification is developed by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute in collaboration with Les Clefs D’Or USA and The International School of Hospitality (TISOH) and recognizes guest service and accommodation skills of the highest level.|
|Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics||This certification from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute designates in-depth training and knowledge of hotel industry analytics, including formulas and methodology used in the hotel industry. Successful completion of the exam indicates your ability to accurately forecast revenue trends and manage rate structures for maximum profit.|
|Certified Hospitality Educator||This certification from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute explores hospitality instruction in greater depth. Upon receiving this certification, you may be able to lecture in hospitality at the university level.|
|Certified Hotel Administrator||This is an elite certification available for hotel general managers and hospitality executives with advanced knowledge in the lodging industry.|
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Any university you consider should be accredited by a professional agency such as the Higher Learning Commission, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Regional accreditation usually designates four-year universities, both
public and private, while national accreditation includes for-profit
universities and trade or vocational institutions.
The hospitality industry has several governing institutions that
regulate degree programs and accreditations. Programmatic accreditation
may come from the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), the American Culinary Federation Foundation’s Accrediting Commission (ACFFAC) or the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The U.S. Department of Education oversees each of these bodies, as does the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The ED and the CHEA websites both have complete lists of all accredited
institutions in the country that offer a Masters Degree in Hospitality
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Hospitality Management Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
Those with a graduate degree in hospitality management may find it
easier to advance to senior and C-level positions within the rapidly
growing hospitality industry. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
predicts a job growth rate of 11 percent by the year 2026. While the
hospitality profession does not require a degree for entry-level jobs,
many middle management positions require an associate’s or bachelor’s
degree. Upper-level management, especially in the financial, human
resource and legal departments of a hotel company, typically requires a
master’s degree in that concentration.
Increased job opportunities are one benefit of a master’s degree in
hospitality management. Advanced credentials in hospitality management
can increase a base salary significantly.
|Job Title||Salary Range|
|Hotel General Manager||$34,000-$105,000|
|Human Resources Manager||$45,000-$92,000|
|Human Resources Director||$54,000-$133,000|
Hospitality salaries are related to the size of the property and the location. A hotel on the coast of California will generally pay more for the same position in a small Midwest town. Below is a chart with the top paying metropolitan areas for a lodging manager.
Your degree may allow you to work in different aspects of the
hospitality field or concentrate on a particular specialty, such as
finance, human resources or marketing. Acquiring experience in different
areas of the hospitality industry will allow you to move up to C-level
positions, such as CFO, CEO or COO.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Hotel General Manager||Hotel General Managers oversee all aspects of a hotel property. They are responsible for guest services, the fiscal performance of the hotel and assisting with marketing the property. They often work closely with their area’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and other tourism agencies. The position requires irregular hours as the lodging industry is a 24-hour business.||$100,410 per year||4%|
|Human Resources Director||Human Resource Directors set policy for hotels and hotel groups, including fair treatment of staff and ensuring that hotel rules are compliant with federal and state employment regulations. They also supervise hiring practices, employee discipline and terminations per federal and state guidelines. Human Resource Directors may supervise a small staff, including payroll specialists.||$110,120 per year||9%|
|Director of Rooms||The Director of Rooms position designates an individual responsible for all aspects of hotel guest stays, including check-in and check-out, housekeeping and reservations. These positions are usually found in hotels that have conference space and convention center space, separating the sleeping room responsibilities from the catering and meeting room responsibilities.||$51,800 per year||4%|
|Director of Sales and Marketing||The Director of Sales and Marketing is responsible for selling guest rooms, meeting space, catering, and group conferences and conventions. They work closely with the area’s tourism agencies, marketing tourism to the region. They also conduct outside sales calls for the hotel and focus on increasing revenue. Many DSM positions also require writing a marketing plan for the hotel, including comparative analyses and long-term forecasting.||$121,060 per year||7%|
|Food and Beverage Director||This position is often part of the leadership team for larger hotel and conference/ convention center properties. Responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day operations for any restaurants and bars, room service and catering departments. They may be asked to help develop budgets as well as set pricing for outlets and group meetings and events.||$52,030 per year||9%|
Professional organizations for hospitality professionals are vital to
making contacts within the industry and with affiliated vendors, with
group meeting planners and in the community. While many hotels and
restaurants have a company membership in many of these organizations,
different representatives from the company may be the hotel’s primary
representative for certain organizations.
Convention and Visitors Bureau:
Your community’s Convention and Vistors Bureau is responsible for
bringing groups and individuals on vacation to your area. Sales managers
and hotel managers may both participate. Often many area sales
professionals will work together to bring larger conventions to a
community for the benefit of all.
American Hotel and Lodging Association:
The only national association representing hoteliers. Its focus is
advocacy for travel and tourism in Washington and for hotels with regard
to industry regulations.
Hospitality Financial Technology Professionals:
An American-based association for financial and IT professionals in the
hospitality industry. Membership here may allow those in these niches
to stay abreast of digital security for guests and the hotel, efficient
property management systems and networking opportunities.
Hotel Marketing Association: HMA advocates best practices for hotel marketing and branding.
Meeting Professionals International:
MPI focuses on event planning, convention management and group
business. Membership here is important for hotel sales managers as group
business and conventions are lucrative pieces of business for larger
Financing Your Online Master’s in Hospitality Management
Many online programs may be less expensive than traditional on-campus
degrees, but these expenses still may be out of reach for many
potential students. The first step to seek financial aid is to complete
the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This allows you to
explore any grants, government assistance, loans and other financial
aid options. There are private grants and scholarships available for
hospitality professionals, as well as tuition reimbursement from many
larger hotel companies. These resources can help you finance your
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|American Hotel and Lodging Academic Scholarships|
Eligibility: Employees of an AHLA member hotel.
Eligibility: Enrolled full-time in an undergraduate hospitality management program at an AHLEF affiliated school.
Award: $2,000, $3,000, or $5,000
Eligibility: The Packard Competition provides scholarships to the most outstanding student of lodging management.