How a Degree or Diploma Can Propel Your Hospitality Career

Want to jump-start your hospitality career? A degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management or in Culinary Arts may give you an advantage.

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September 18, 2023 10 min read

Love the food industry but not the food prep? Maybe you prefer greeting customers over feeding them, or you’re a whiz at crunching numbers for busy establishments. If so, a job in hospitality could be for you.

A degree or diploma in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management or in Culinary Arts from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts can help you prepare for jobs in businesses where food and service converge:

  • Restaurant, hotel, or resort management
  • Catering
  • Tourism
  • Event venue management
  • Retail food operations
  • And much more.

Education might also jump-start your career. Employers tend to reward employees who demonstrate proficiency and don’t need as much training, potentially even offering promotions and bonuses that could result in higher salaries.

Need some ideas? Read on to find out what types of hospitality jobs you can find.

6 Exciting Hospitality Jobs

No matter your personality or skill set, you can thrive in a hospitality job—whether you’re the quintessential extroverted cruise ship director or the behind-the-scenes organizer who favors business plans and fine details.

Some hospitality roles put you face-to-face with customers, while others are in administration or operations. Some positions are with small companies, while others can be with large multinational corporations. With such varied roles, figuring out where you might excel in the industry can be a challenge.

Escoffier students have access to representatives from the Career Services department, which may help them decide upon a niche. Here are some examples.

“Even if you decide that you do want to transition into a leadership position in general management and not be in the back of the house, a knowledge of how food is prepared and food safety is a big thing. If you understand the back of the house, you can be that much more successful in the front of the house.”*
Jason Goldman
Jason Goldman
Escoffier Lead Chef Instructor, Pastry Arts and Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

1. Restaurant and Bar Jobs

Restaurant management is an in-demand occupation, and your expertise in the details of running a restaurant can help make you desirable to employers. The National Restaurant Association projects 500,000 new jobs in 2023 for a total foodservice employment of 15.5 million.

In this field, you can interact with customers and restaurant employees alike, plus manage long-term business planning.

Jobs in this field can include:

Person dressed in a grey shirt standing in front of a bar looking at a tablet

Restaurant and bar management calls for a variety of skills.

2. Hotel Management Jobs

Hotel management includes a variety of positions that may require customer service as well as business skills — including front desk management, sales and marketing, event planning, food and beverage management, and more.

Responsibilities of this position can include:

  • Recruiting, training, and managing staff
  • Setting budgets, determining sales goals, and forecasting income
  • Maintaining required licenses and permits
  • Addressing guest requests and complaints
  • Overseeing private events like conferences and weddings
  • Maintaining health and safety standards
Hotel manager standing in a room holding a tablet

In hotel management, customer service and business skills are key.

3. Travel and Tourism Jobs

Similar to other niches, a wide range of possibilities exists within travel and tourism. This can include cruise ships, food tourism, and dining events. In those roles, you might plan events, work as a food and beverage coordinator, lead a culinary tour, host a food and wine tasting, or work in management and guest services. This niche often calls for flexibility–you might spend a stretch of time in one location or need to travel frequently to various locations in your jurisdiction.

Hotel management might overlap with this one; if you like to travel, you might consider pursuing a job where your duties include checking in on hotels around the country or around the world.

4. Catering Jobs

A job in catering can mean anything from working a small backyard event to serving food for a glamorous extravaganza. Either way, your organizational and people skills could likely come into play.

You might own a catering company and oversee employees as well as contractors, or work in management for a catering company. Other positions within catering include banquet servers, catering assistants, sous chefs, and guest services.

Long wooden banquet table decorated with candles and flowers outside

Catering opportunities can include small backyard celebrations or large corporate events.

5. Wedding Event Coordinator Jobs

Wedding event coordinators are almost always in demand. These often-large-scale events have lots of moving parts and typically call for a coordinator with a level head and plenty of training. According to The Knot, 33% of couples hired a full-service wedding planner and 36% hired a day-of coordinator

This job can include anything from coordinating hundreds of people to be served a plated dinner at the same time, ensuring the bar is properly stocked, managing an event budget, making sure sanitation standards are met, and keeping the bride and groom calm as they plan for the big day.

6. Nursing Homes and Care Facilities Jobs

Healthcare facilities need people who know how to manage large operations. These can include hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and schools. Each of these often provides food on a large scale.

These establishments may employ a large staff of cooks, chefs, and other food service workers. Management skills can be key to overseeing the moving parts–whether for one team or the entire facility.

What Training Could You Need For a Job in Hospitality?

You can certainly get hands-on experience by starting a job in the hospitality industry, but an education can help improve your learning curve and give you a chance to network and learn from people who have already been in your shoes.

At Escoffier, you can jump-start a hospitality job in a number of ways.

Should You Get a Diploma or Degree?

The choice between a diploma and a degree is a personal one based upon your goals and objectives. In short, a diploma provides a foundation that can prepare students for entry-level positions, while a degree can expand further on industry concepts. Escoffier’s Culinary Arts program offers both a diploma and a degree, while the Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program solely offers a degree.

The Diploma in Culinary Arts and Operations includes courses that may introduce students to theoretical knowledge and practical skills in areas like contemporary cuisine preparation, farm-to-table production methods, purchasing and cost control, and world cuisines. As a requirement for graduation, students must complete one hands-on industry externship.

The Associate Degree in Culinary Arts offers more advanced content in the areas of business communications, world history and culture, foodservice math, and the science of nutrition. Before graduation, students participate in two hands-on industry externships, where they can develop their skills and acumen in a real-world setting.

Escoffier’s online Associate of Occupational Studies in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Degree includes extensive coursework in the business and interpersonal skills you may need for a job in the industry, including hiring and training employees, providing top-notch service, analyzing operations, and more. Students must also complete a hands-on industry externship as a requirement to graduate.

How to Choose Between Culinary Arts or Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management?

The key difference between these two programs is that Culinary Arts focuses more intently on working with food, while Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management can help prepare students for the business and management side of foodservice.

Escoffier’s 60-week online Culinary Arts Diploma Program is designed to produce competent professionals for potential employment in entry-level positions. These positions could be available in restaurants, dinner clubs, country clubs, resorts, hotels, catering companies, delis, and other foodservice establishments. Students may spend much of their time learning to prepare dishes through actual practice.

The 60-week online Associate Degree in Culinary Arts was developed to provide both practical and theoretical foundations essential for success in the foodservice industry. The competencies explored in this program help deliver a comprehensive knowledge of foodservice preparation, operations, and management.

Escoffier’s 60-week online Associate Degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management is designed to help prepare students for jobs as leaders in a wide range of hospitality businesses, from hotels and restaurants to event venues.

Which Classes Does Each Program Offer?

Students can participate in a wide range of classes that can prepare them for all kinds of jobs. Here’s a sampling:

The Culinary Arts and Operations Diploma program courses include:

  • Culinary Foundations
  • Foodservice Management
  • Culinary Entrepreneurship
  • World Cuisines

The Associate Degree in Culinary Arts includes courses like:

  • World History & Culture From the Culinary Perspective
  • Culinary Arts & Patisserie
  • The Science of Nutrition
  • Foodservice Math and Accounting

In the Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Degree program, some of the courses include:

  • Business and Professional Communications
  • Catering and Event Operations
  • Introduction to Psychology in the Workplace
  • Leadership and Development
  • Foundations in Human Resources
“Students are prepared for entry-level management positions in a variety of hospitality establishments. Some choose to focus on providing excellent hospitality in Front of the House management, while others may go into Financial management utilizing the skills taught in courses like Cost Control and Purchasing.”*
Vicki Berger
Vicki Berger
Escoffier Online Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Instructor

Education can provide a solid business foundation that potentially makes you invaluable to a hospitality team. You may be in a position to increase profits and manage budgets, which might appeal to prospective employers.

The industry externship, which is a requirement for Escoffier students to graduate, can provide additional experience. During an externship, you might work at a hotel’s front desk, help out an event planner, spend time on a cruise ship, and more.

Other skills that could come with a degree include:

  • Analyzing relevant operations data to make sound decisions for a profitable operation,
  • Planning and providing professional service with high levels of attention to detail in guest experience
  • Training and coaching line-level employees in operations
  • Understanding available business technologies and providing consultation based on an operation’s needs
  • Understanding and developing the operation as a concept

A formal education might be what sets a candidate apart and catches an employer’s eye on a resume. With an education from Escoffier, most graduates can become more qualified for an entry-level management position. They understand operations as well as customer service, and they may have faster job advancement opportunities than someone without an education.

“In my experience as a hotel manager, it is so rewarding to welcome guests to your property and ensure they feel like they are at their ‘home away from home’!”*
Ashley Godfrey
Ashley Godfrey
Escoffier Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Instructor

Explore What Escoffier Can Offer You

The Associate of Occupational Studies in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management degree and the Culinary Arts degree and diploma programs can each help prepare students for a wide variety of hospitality jobs.

Throughout these programs, students can develop their understanding of the hospitality industry from back of house to front of house while gaining the skills necessary to obtain an entry-level position through the skills necessary to successfully manage operational aspects of a profitable hospitality operation.

When you’re ready to commit to an education and all of the valuable experiences that can come with it, reach out to our team to get started with your application.

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