It’s a good idea to begin preparing for a career in hotel management while in high school. Concentrate on a business-oriented curriculum, with classes in finance, accounting, and mathematics. Since computers are widely used in the hotel setting for reservations, accounting, and management of supplies, computer literacy is important. Brush up on your speaking skills while in high school you’ll need them when giving direction and supervision to a large and diverse staff. A second language especially Spanish, French, or Japanese will be very helpful to you in the future.
Instead of working at the mall or local fast-food outlet, play it smart and consider obtaining part-time or seasonal work at a local hotel. Some hotels employ high school students to work the switchboard and front desk, and as members of banquet, restaurant, and housekeeping staff. In addition to making money, these teenagers are getting valuable experience and making useful contacts for future employment. Check with your high school career center to see if there are employment opportunities in your area. Don’t forget that career centers, your local library, and the Internet can all be helpful when researching college programs or specific businesses.
Many companies require management trainees to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management. There are more than 800 colleges and universities that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in hotel administration. A typical hotel management program will concentrate on hotel administration, food service management, accounting, economics, marketing, housekeeping, computers, and hotel maintenance engineering. To complement class instruction, most programs require students to work on site at a hotel. Some universities, have a training hotel on campus. Many hotels will also consider candidates with degrees in business management, public relations, or other related fields, if they are highly qualified and talented.
Certification for this job is not a requirement, though it is recognized by many as a measurement of industry knowledge and job experience. Many universities offers a variety of certifications for hotel and motel managers, including certified hotel administrator, certified lodging manager, certified lodging security director, certified food and beverage executive, certified hospitality housekeeping executive, certified human resources executive, certified engineering operations executive, certified hospitality revenue manager, and certified lodging security supervisor. Contact the institute for more information on these certifications.
Additionally, the International Executive Housekeepers Association offers two certification designations: certified executive housekeeper and registered executive housekeeper. Qualified individuals earn these designations by fulfilling educational requirements through a certificate program, a self-study program, or a college degree program.
Other hospitality trade associations also offer certification programs for hotel managers.
High school juniors and seniors who are interested in working in the hospitality industry can take advantage of Lodging Management Program. The program combines classroom learning with work experience in the hospitality industry. Graduating seniors who pass examinations and work in the lodging industry for at least 160 hours receive the certified rooms division specialist designation.
Participating in internships and volunteer opportunities will provide you with a great introduction to this career. These activities also look great on a resume and may give you an edge over other job applicants. The best sources of information about such opportunities are professional organizations, such as the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Your high school or college career center will have helpful information on available internships or volunteer opportunities, as well as career books, magazines, and counselors to guide you. Don’t forget to ask your teachers if they know of job opportunities before the center does. Post your resume on an industry job Web site or research the countless internships and scholarships that are posted by schools, hotels, and motels across the world.