Earning A Degree In Hospitality and Tourism: An Overview For Aspiring Students

hospitality and tourism degrees

Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Degrees

Hospitality and Tourism is one of the country’s biggest industries. According to Statista, hotel markets alone are expected to reach $110.50 billion in 2024. With this significant rise, many job positions are expected to become available.

Others think that pleasing personality and appearance are enough to earn a spot in the industry. While this can be true, today’s job market is very competitive. Earning hospitality and tourism degrees is a great place to start.

Why Pursue a Degree in Hospitality and Tourism?

One of the best ways to prepare for the challenging and competitive market is to earn a degree in hospitality and tourism. It equips you with the required skills to help businesses expand. This degree will enhance soft and hard skills, bridging you to success.

Featured Programs

Soft Skills:

  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Multitasking
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Cultural competency

Hard Skills:

  • Attentive customer service
  • Cost control and inventory management
  • IT systems
  • Finance
  • Business knowledge
  • Human resource management

Exploring College Education Value in Hospitality and Tourism Programs

There are multiple levels of hospitality and tourism programs. Each level represents a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. You must understand what each program involves to know its value. This will also help you decide which program to pursue to ensure you reach your goals.

Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism Programs

Hospitality and tourism certificates offer a career-focused curriculum. They’re short and immersive, quickly allowing you to enter specific field areas.

Associate Degree in Hospitality and Tourism

There are two types of associate degrees in hospitality and tourism:

  • Associate of Science in Hospitality and Tourism
  • Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management

The AS degree focuses on purchasing, budgeting, marketing, and cost control topics. The AAS program provides knowledge of management skills and law. Both programs have different focuses. Yet, they share the same goal: to prepare you for entry-level positions in the hotel and tourism industry.

These programs typically last two years and require a high school diploma. Some students pursue an associate’s degree to make the cost of a bachelor’s degree more manageable.

Bachelor Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management

A bachelor of tourism and hospitality management opens more career prospects. This degree program increases your concepts, skills, and values in the field. It allows you to pursue management and leadership roles.

You’ll be able to lead decision-making processes in the hotel and tourism industry. It usually takes four years to complete. However, accredited associate degree students often complete requirements in two years or less.

Master Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Graduate programs require a bachelor of hospitality and tourism management or relevant areas. There are two types of master’s degrees in this field: Master of Science and Master of Business Administration. Although the best option depends on your interests, many students choose the MBA.

You’ll usually spend two years completing a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism. Upon graduation, you’ll have access to more careers. With an MBA, you can pursue sectors beyond hospitality and tourism.

Tips for Managing Tuition Costs

Higher education can be expensive. The costs vary widely based on where or how you attend college. Here are a few tips to reduce financial burden:

Choose an online tourism degree.

Thanks to technology, online degree hospitality and tourism programs have risen. This learning format saves you on various education-related costs. You’ll save money on daily transportation, meal plans, health insurance, and other campus fees. You’ll also be able to work part-time.

Complete FAFSA early.

The FAFSA offers several types of financial assistance. However, it’s often first come, first serve. To have more chances of availing of federal assistance, you should complete the FAFSA before the deadline. This will give you more time to know how much you need to pay for school fees.

It’s important to only pursue accredited hospitality and tourism colleges to ensure that you’re qualified for the FAFSA.

Pursue a part-time job.

This is an excellent opportunity to get relevant work experience while earning to finance your education. It is also a great way to gain valuable connections.

Utilize tuition payment plans.

This system is in place to allow students to spread out the cost of their education over several months. They often come with little to no interest, making them a manageable option for students who may not have the funds to pay tuition all at once.

Unveiling Scholarship Opportunities for Aspiring Students

Scholarship opportunities for aspiring hospitality and tourism students are abundant. There are several types of scholarships you can pursue, such as:

  • Merit-based scholarships award academic excellence, like high grades or test scores.
  • Need-based scholarships provide financial support to students facing financial challenges.
  • Specialized scholarships apply to particular hotel and tourism areas or specific demographics.
  • Minority scholarships promote diversity and inclusion by providing financial assistance to underrepresented groups.

Eligibility criteria vary from one program to another. Moreover, some scholarship opportunities do not consider students enrolled in an online hospitality management degree. It’s best to research multiple opportunities and tailor your applications accordingly!

Navigating Financial Aid for Hospitality and Tourism Studies

86% of college students avail financial aid. But figuring out how to get it can be tricky and confusing. Learning to navigate the financial aid process is important to avoid taking on too much student loan debt.

Know the basics.

Financial aid comes in different types. They are grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Each has its own rules and requirements. Ensure you know what you qualify for and understand what each type involves before accepting any aid.

Don’t skip the FAFSA.

Everyone should apply for financial aid each year, regardless of circumstances. Schools use the FAFSA to decide who gets grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. Some schools also need the CSS Profile for extra aid.

Seek professional advice.

Federal student aid customer service has improved greatly. School counselors, nonprofits, and colleges offer assistance through workshops and webinars. Remember, the application is free, and you shouldn’t have to pay for help.

Use a net price calculator.

Remember that the sticker price is different from the actual cost. Always use the net price calculator on school websites to ensure you get the ballpark of the total cost. This strategy will also help you compare school costs more effectively.

Career Paths and Prospects in Hospitality and Tourism


Accommodation is a popular sector in the hospitality industry. This sector requires strong leadership and a strong sense of initiative to ensure guest comfort. Career pathways include:

  • Hotels
  • Hostels
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Campsites
  • Resorts

Event Management

Event management involves planning and executing memorable events, requiring expert coordination and cooperation. It involves working with stars, brand executives, venue owners, technicians, and artists. The dynamic experience changes from project to project, with various types, including:

  • Concerts
  • Sporting events
  • Conferences
  • Parties
  • Awards shows
  • Fashion shows


Working in the tourism sector of the hospitality industry is ideal for those with inside knowledge or passion for a specific area. It requires balancing revealing new things about the world while ensuring customer comfort and enjoyment.

Other Sectors

A hospitality degree also opens doors to diverse careers. Soft skills like those in hospitality are valued in many fields, such as:

  • Sales
  • Project management
  • Finance
  • Business

Understanding the Curriculum: What to Expect

The specific curriculum for hospitality and tourism degrees varies from program to program. But despite degree level and focus, these programs focus on two overarching areas of competency:

  • customer and their experience
  • staff and facilities and their performance

Marketing, public relations, business, management, and information systems are typical courses in these degrees.

The Importance of Internship Experience

In addition to formal education, gaining relevant work experience through internships is important. In fact, practical experience is a prerequisite for most bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management. This component will:

  • Teach you practical skills.
  • Show employers that you are competent.
  • Expose you to unexpected job obligations and environments you may pursue professionally.
  • Help you network with professionals in the field.

To succeed in this field, you need to stay informed of evolving industry trends. Here are five easy ways to do so:

  1. Subscribe to newsletter
  2. Use analytical tools
  3. Join professional organizations
  4. Enroll in certificate or individual courses
  5. Read interviews with industry leaders

Choosing the Right Academic Institution for Your Hospitality and Tourism Degree

To answer the “What degree do you need for hospitality and tourism careers?” question, you must define your goals. Different positions may require different travel and hospitality degree levels. Nevertheless, the general rule is to choose an accredited and reputable college or university.

It’s advised to pursue institutions with regional accreditation, the golden standard for high-quality learning. Moreover, enrolling in programs recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration further ensures that you’re receiving education that meets industry standards.

Conclusion: Charting Your Course in Hospitality and Tourism

What education is needed for hospitality and tourism careers depends on individual goals. Here are quick guidelines when choosing which program to pursue:

  • Certificate programs are best for focusing on specialized skills.
  • Associate degrees help you pursue various entry-level positions.
  • Bachelor’s degrees will qualify you for management positions.
  • Master’s programs deepen your expertise in specific areas and open doors to leadership roles.