Diplomas and certificates in hospitality management are the most common credentials awarded by hospitality schools. So, what are these programs all about?
What is hospitality management?
Hospitality management is the field that encompasses management of the entire hospitality industry. The two main prongs are lodging management and food and beverage management. It includes not only hotels and restaurants, but also casinos and resorts, country clubs, cruise ships, amusement parks, and other recreational and travel destinations. This field also covers the core basic areas of management, like finance, marketing, leadership, strategic planning, and operations.
What are the core courses in hospitality management programs?
Hospitality management programs focus on key functions of front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house management. Front-of-the-house operations are those that the customer interacts with directly, such as the staff who provide service to customers. Back-of-the-house operations are those that take place behind the scenes, like menu planning and purchasing for restaurants or pricing and booking rooms in hotels.
The required courses vary by school, but most programs include courses on financial accounting, communication skills, computer proficiency, marketing and sales, human relations, legal and ethical issues, menu planning and food preparation, food safety, beverage management, and leadership. In addition to these courses, students may have the choice of electives so they can customize their course of study. For example, someone interested in catering would take courses in banquet preparation and catering management, and someone interested in hotel management would take courses in housekeeping management and hotel marketing. Not all schools offer specialized certificates, so if you are interested in a particular area of hospitality management you may need to do some research to find a program that offers the courses you want.
Is practical experience offered as part of the program?
In many cases, the answer is yes. Hospitality schools often develop relationships with local restaurants and hotels, and as part of the diploma requirements, students take internships or externships, which may last anywhere from one month to three. If you are considering several different hospitality schools, choose one with an internship or externship program—this is one of the best ways you can gain practical experience before applying for a job.
What doors can a hospitality diploma open?
The hospitality industry is unique in many ways. Currently quite a few jobs do not require a formal credential, but many employers will only hire people who have both some relevant schooling and some experience. A diploma in hospitality management may be just what it takes for your resume to get noticed, and not having one may mean you get left behind.
As more jobs open up in various areas of the hospitality industry, more managers will be required to oversee operations. Prepare for the future by enrolling in a hospitality school today.