Individuals who want a general academic program and who may not be sure what they want to do usually choose a four-year college or university. Such a program lays the foundation for more advanced studies and professional work. Four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees (the B.A. and B.S.) in most areas in the arts and sciences, such as English literature, foreign languages, history, economics, political science, biology, zoology, chemistry, and in many other fields.
Although the skills and experience required by workers in the hospitality industry depend on the specific occupation, many entry-level positions require little or no formal education or previous training. Almost all workers in the hotel and lodging industry undergo on-the-job training, which usually is provided under the supervision of an experienced employee or manager. Some large chain operations have formal training sessions for new employees, and others have video training programs.
Formal training and prior hotel or food-service experience for managers is more common. Training may take the form of industry-sponsored seminars; short-term, subject-specific certificate programs; or associate or bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts, hospitality, hotel, or restaurant management. Vocational courses and apprenticeship programs in food preparation, catering, and hotel and restaurant management, offered through restaurant associations and trade unions, provide training opportunities. About 200 community and junior colleges offer 2-year degree programs in hotel and restaurant management.
Bachelor's and master's degree programs in hotel and restaurant management provide the strongest background for a career as a hotel manager, with nearly 150 colleges and universities offering such programs.
What Do You Want to Do Next?
Find 4-year colleges that offer courses in hospitality:
Get started with the U.S. Department of Education's Think College web site. It will help you get started navigating the sometimes confusing world of college.
Whatever you decide, you are in the driver's seat!