What Salary Can I Expect With a Hospitality Management Degree?

What Salary Can I Expect to Make With a Hospitality Management Degree?

Similar to other wide-reaching industries, hospitality workers’ salaries range and depend upon role and industry sector: restaurants and food services, lodging, event planning, or tourism. The good news is that businesses continue to post solid earnings, and economists forecast sustained growth. Event planning makes a $106 billion contribution to national GDP. In 2016 the restaurant industry’s global revenue was $2 trillion, and the hotel industry’s revenue was $550 billion. In 2012 international tourist arrivals exceeded one billion for the first time, and annually travel & tourism makes a global economic impact of around $6.5 trillion. In other words, no matter the occasion, hospitality pays.

As one of the world’s largest hospitality markets, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects significant hiring increases through 2024. Lodging managers, food service managers, gaming managers, and meeting, convention, and event planners are expected to see employment grow as much as 10%; management occupations in general are expected to add over 500,000 jobs, with a low six-figure median annual wage. That’s just the beginning, though. Say you’re a Director of Hotel Sales, responsible for all the hotel’s sales, marketing, and product development projects. Median salary for sales directors is $160,000, with upper-tier positions commanding closer to $200,000. Entry- to mid-level roles for meeting and event professional run from $45k-75K – pretty good money. But at the senior meeting and event director level, which you can reach with just a bachelor’s in hospitality management, median salary hits $118,000. Of course, a master’s or advanced degree bumps the pay up even further.

To get a better idea of what type of salary you can make with a hospitality management degree, let’s take a look at individual degrees and typical corresponding positions’ pay.

What Salary Can I Expect With an Associate’s in Hospitality Management

An associate’s degree in hospitality management is a great way to get a foot in the industry. Course work typically only lasts two years, and you’ll have plenty of time to continue your job if you’re a working professional. At the same time, aspiring hospitality workers shouldn’t feel required to have an educational background in the field, especially if you’re just beginning your career. Many hospitality workers start at the bottom with an entry-level or apprenticeship role, then return to school for an advanced degree to move up to a mid-level or managerial role. Below are a few common associate-level roles in hospitality, but many professionals with an associate’s earn higher positions after experience in the industry.

  • Restaurant Greeter – Median Salary: $18,767
  • Front Desk Clerk – Median Salary: $33,051
  • Guest Services Manager – Median Salary: $36,060
  • Assistant Restaurant Manager – Median Salary: $41,095
  • Meeting/Event Assistant – Median Salary: $48,380

What Salary Can I Expect With a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management

The bachelor’s in hospitality management is the most popular degree in the field, and hospitality workers can work up to mid- and even senior-level positions with just a bachelor’s if they have enough experience. In addition to a business core, the bachelor’s in hospitality management covers everything from food service and purchasing, to hospitality law and service operations management. For students who already have an idea of which hospitality field they want to enter, many bachelor’s offer specialization options, and most include some internship or field experience requirement to help students develop real-world skills. Below is a brief list of typical bachelor’s-level positions in hospitality, keeping in mind that many bachelor holders earn even higher-paying managerial and director roles.

  • Marketing Coordinator – Median Salary: $52,078
  • Sales Promotions Coordinator – Median Salary: $54,852
  • Restaurant Manager – Median Salary: $51,555
  • Regional Restaurant Manager – Median Salary: $89,031
  • Executive Chef – Median Salary: $63,506
  • Meeting/Event Planner – Median Salary: $60,286
  • Meeting/Event Manager – Median Salary: $75,684
  • Meeting/Event Director – Median Salary: $118,000
  • Maintenance Supervisor – Median Salary: $73,882
  • Hotel Manager Assistant – Median Salary: $55,518
  • Hotel Resident Manager – Median Salary: $70,496
  • Hotel Manager – Median Salary: $103,534

What Salary Can I Expect With a Master’s in Hospitality Management

The master’s in hospitality management builds on fundamentals from the bachelor’s and gives students the opportunity to concentrate in a particular area of professional interest, whether it’s food and beverage operations, hospitality and tourism, resort management and operations, or a business-specific specialization like entrepreneurship, sales, or marketing. (Some master’s tracks are available as MBAs with hospitality management concentrations.) Regardless of focus, all master’s in hospitality management are designed to prepare students for managerial roles in the industry, and not every master’s requires prior academic or professional experience in hospitality; many pursue the degree to facilitate a career switch. Below are several common master’s-level positions in hospitality management.

  • Hotel Manager – Median Salary: $103,534
  • Regional Restaurant Manager – Median Salary: $89,031
  • Restaurant Director – Median Salary: $101,868
  • Sales Director – Median Salary: $158,256
  • Operations Director – Median Salary: $163,950
  • Marketing Director – Median Salary: $134,901
  • Sales and Marketing Director – Median Salary: $147,275

What Salary Can I Expect With a Doctorate in Hospitality Management

The PhD in Hospitality is a relatively rare degree, and very few hospitality management roles outside of academia require a doctorate. As with many doctoral tracks, the PhD in Hospitality is primarily a self-directed degree in which students specialize in an area of hospitality and produce original research. Below are a few possible positions.

  • Sales Director – Median Salary: $158,256
  • Operations Director – Median Salary: $163,950
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