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Salary for Hotel Management With a College Degree

by Aurelio Locsin, studioD

Hotel managers make sure the guests on their properties leave happy and satisfied by overseeing the activities of their staff. Many managers reach their positions with a high-school diploma and several years of experience in positions of growing responsibility. However, large full-service chains prefer those who have a college degree and pay salaries that vary by educational level, location and employer.

Bachelor’s Degrees

Managers with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management earned a median $50,000 per year, as of May 2011, according to a salary survey by Georgetown University. The lowest-earning 25 percent received less than $33,000 yearly, while the highest-paid quartile received over $72,000. The major offered compensation that was below the median $60,000 earned by all business graduates. Although 56 percent of hospitality management graduates were female, they earned a median $42,000 per year, which was less than their male counterparts, who made a median annual $55,000.

Master’s Degrees

About 12 percent of hospitality management undergraduates earned graduate degrees, which increased compensation by 45 percent. This boosted median pay to $72,500 per year, with an annual range of $47,850 to $104,400. Salaries for women reached a median $60,900 yearly, while those for men became a median annual $79,500. Compare this to the 21 percent of all business majors who went for their graduate degrees to earn 40 percent more. Their median salaries were $84,000 per year, with an annual median range of $56,000 to $126,000. About 94 percent of all hospitality management degree holders found jobs, compared to 95 percent of those with business degrees.

Starting Salaries

The National Association of Colleges and Employers shows how initial salaries for hospitality management differed by employer in 2012. Bachelor’s degree holders started with a median $40,200 per year, with the lowest-earning quartile receiving less than an annual $32,700, and the highest-paid quartile making over $46,700 yearly. Starting median annual pay averaged $40,700 for accommodation and food services, $41,600 for educational services, $42,300 for administrative support and $43,000 for other services. Compare these amounts with the average starting salaries of all business degrees, which was $53,900 per year, and for all college degrees, which was $44,482 annually.


As of May 2012, all lodging managers, including those with college degrees, averaged $54,800 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-earning quartile received less than $36,250 yearly while the highest paid made over $64,190 annually. Facilities support services were the top-paying employers at $123,860 per year. The state with the highest compensation was Delaware, at a mean annual $89,280. The city with the same distinction was Bethesda, Maryland, at a mean $109,380 yearly. The profession is expected to increase by eight percent through 2020, which is below average. Countering the projected growth in travel and tourism is the shift toward limited-service hotels with fewer management positions.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

Photo Credits

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