If working in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries is a future goal, then choosing a degree program with hospitality school accreditation is the first step towards a career in these sectors. The hospitality profession provides a broad range of services to consumers who expect outstanding dining experiences, quality accommodations, and engaging entertainment venues. As a result, employers in these related industries are interested in creating growth by hiring and retaining the best talent for a global workforce that will cater to customer needs. The pool of applicants most likely to be hired for these jobs will be career-minded individuals with degrees from accredited hospitality programs that prepare them to implement industry standards and encourage consumer satisfaction.
Basic Hospitality School Accreditation
All reliable institutions of higher learning will hold national and regional accreditations by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Accreditation Association (CHEA). These organizations govern accreditation policies and guidelines for educational standards. Accredited schools will be recognized by one of the following regional, accrediting bodies approved by CHEA:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC).
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WASC-SCUC).
Accreditation Specifically for Hospitality Programs
Degree programs should also hold accompanying accreditation from one or more professional organizations that oversee the standards of the industry or business being studied. In the case of the hospitality profession, there are several institutions which recognize programs that adhere to curriculum guidelines promoting educational standards for the industry. The main organizations to look for are:
- Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) which accredits programs at the bachelor’s degree level or higher.
- Commission for Accreditation of Hospitality Management Programs (CAHM) which accredits programs at the associate’s degree level.
- American Culinary Federation Foundation’s Accrediting Commission (ACFFAC) which accredits culinary programs that are part of hotel/restaurant majors at all degree levels.
- Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business(AACSB) which accredits hospitality programs that are offered within schools of business at colleges and universities.
Accredited Program Curricula
Accredited programs will follow curriculum guidelines outlined by accrediting institutions. Program length varies with the degree type, but a bachelor’s degree will typically be about 120 credits with a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Business being earned at completion. Basic coursework will cover topics such as:
- Principles of marketing, finance and management for the hospitality industry.
- Fundamentals of hospitality, tourism and travel industries.
- Environmental standards and accommodations practices.
- Food and beverage management, kitchen management.
- Legal and ethical issues of the industry.
- Office management and staff supervision.
- Event management and conference planning.
- Property management systems and technology.
Accredited programs also partner with local businesses to include externships that provide experiential learning opportunities.
Graduates with degrees from accredited hospitality institutions have several career advantages within the field:
- A wider variety of domestic and global employment opportunities from which to choose.
- A better likelihood of sustaining lifelong careers in the industry.
- A higher probability of faster advancement to mid-and-upper level positions.
Besides working in hotel and restaurant settings, qualified hospitality degree holders will also find employment within the travel, leisure, sports, and recreation sectors. These jobs are available in private and public facilities worldwide. For those who enjoy providing quality services for the public, obtaining a degree with hospitality school accreditation is the place to start for a satisfying, career with long-term benefits.