Choosing the Best Hospitality School for Your Career

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While many industries were still struggling to take on new hires in 2011, the hospitality industry was already witnessing signs of a real recovery.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure/hospitality sector was second only to healthcare in the number of jobs created in 2011. The job outlook for hospitality looks even better in 2012. Executive search firms are already reporting a rise in demand for skilled, higher-paying executive positions, especially in hotels, casinos and resorts--both at home and overseas.

If you’re embarking on a career in the hospitality industry, you probably should acquaint yourself with the top hospitality universities in the nation. Many have long histories dating back decades, others offer a full spectrum of programs, with guest lecturers and benefit fundraisers that give the students an inside look into this vibrant industry. 

Hospitality universities that have their own restaurant or hotel to manage usually top the list, since students can immediately put their learned theories into practice on a daily basis. That said, here’s the list of top hospitality universities:

The Art Institute. Founded in 1929, this university boasts many locations across the county, many with in-house restaurants or cafés where students can get valuable hands-on experience in food preparation, service and managerial duties. The Art Institute also has an online division, which offers a hotel and restaurant management degree. 
The University of Denver. Their Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management has a special event center designed for meetings, banquets and other special occasions. 

Cornell University. Its School of Hotel Administration features a full-service hotel run by students alongside industry professionals. The school has a boutique ambiance and location in the heart of Cornell University campus. 
Oklahoma State University. Their School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration lets students service customers first-hand. Students can work in well-known food establishments like The Rancher’s Cub, West Side Cafe, and Taylor’s Dining Room.

Pennsylvania State University. Their School of Hospitality Management offers one of the best hotel and restaurant management courses. Students are trained in the Cafe Laura during the day; at night, students on a rotation run the restaurant at different positions.
Keep in mind that earning your degree, while gaining the work experience, can help you get that first all-important managerial post. The best hospitality universities combine hands-on experience with formal education in their degree offerings.

So if you’re interested in landing a job in hospitality, you’ll need to know that the competition for good jobs is fierce, but a fine school can give you a distinct advantage. 



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