If you are looking into getting a hospitality degree, you may be wondering whether or not to pursue your education at a small college or a large university. Hospitality is a thriving industry, and the training you need to acquire to be a hospitality manager can be found in different educational settings. Small and large programs can each have unique advantages. Which you decide to pursue may depend on many factors, including your location, the amount of money you can invest in your education, and the specific hospitality track you want to study.

What to Look for in a Hospitality Degree

Regardless of which kind of college you choose, there are certain things you might want to look for in a hospitality degree to ensure that the program will help prepare you well for your career. Flexible degree options can be helpful. Many programs, small and large, offer a variety of degree types such as diplomas, associates degrees, and bachelors degrees. All of these degrees can help you get started on a career that could help you run a restaurant or hotel, manage a casino or club, plan events for a cruise line or resort or work in travel arrangement. Sometimes a shorter degree, such as a 10 month to year long diploma or a two year associate’s degree, can be very specific in a certain hospitality track. Completing one of these options may enable you to begin working more quickly.

A good program, however, will also likely have some general course components that could be useful in all aspects of hospitality, such as management, guest relations, purchasing or hospitality law. Having teachers with actual experience in hospitality management is a real plus, as is the opportunity to work in hospitality related internships while you’re in school. Some programs may actually operate businesses that are partially run by students, which can provide an excellent chance for hands-on learning.

Some Possible Small College Advantages

Some of the programs that are consistently ranked among the best in hospitality training are at large universities. These larger programs often have the resources and history to offer students invaluable internships and travel abroad opportunities. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get excellent training at a smaller school. In fact, there may be some advantages to a smaller program. The number one advantage may be cost, as you can generally complete a degree in a smaller school for much less than you would pay to attend a larger university. A recent ranking of some of the most affordable small school options in hospitality training shows that on average, you can find a good program for $10,000 a year or less. Like some of their larger school counterparts, smaller schools often have partnerships with local businesses for student internships. In a smaller school, you may also have the potential for more faculty mentoring.

Large or small school, online or traditional classes are all important choices you’ll need to make. The good news is that there are many excellent programs at different levels. Even if you decide to go on to a larger school for a bachelor’s degree, getting a shorter degree in a small college first can be a good, affordable stepping stone in your hospitality management training.