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Degree Overview: Associate of Hospitality and Tourism

Majors Overview May 31, 2013

Associate degree programs in tourism and hospitality may offer specialization options, including management or business. Individuals who have earned their associate degree will qualify for various positions within the tourism and hospitality industries. Alternatively, students may seek transfer opportunities to earn a four-year bachelor degree.

Associate Degree Program in Tourism and Hospitality

A two-year associate degree program in tourism and hospitality provides students with general knowledge of the functions in the industry and how different segments operate. Students will learn multiple skills, such as managing food service and hotel staff, booking procedures for a cruise ship, or developing hospitality menus. Individuals will also study various aspects of the industry, including what to expect during the off-season and travel trends. The experiences and curricula prepare graduates to work in various settings, including airlines, cruise ships, and hotels. Most colleges and universities require applicants to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma.

Program Coursework

Typically, associate degree program coursework covers broad administrative and management skills, as well as topics more specific to the industry, including hotel operations, travel, and food service. Program course topics may include the following:

•Geography
•Cruise ship operations
•Consumer issues in the industry
•Food and beverage business management
•Marketing
•Tourism and hospitality law
•Industry technology
•Meeting management
•Front office operations
•Housekeeping

Career Options

Hospitality and tourism associate degree program graduates will be prepared to help companies improve operations and efficiency, as well as take on leadership roles. The degree programs will help prepare individuals for entry-level roles in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, travel businesses, and airlines. Graduates may obtain the following career titles:

•Cruise ship director
•Restaurant manager
•Travel agency specialist
•Hotel supervisor

Information on Continuing Education

Associate degree program graduates who want to advance in their career should consider furthering their education by pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree program in tourism and hospitality management. Employers generally prefer individuals who holds a bachelor degree or higher for top executive or management positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov).

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In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
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