Career Guide to JMU Majors:
Hospitality Management

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds



Get the Facts

The Major

The Hospitality Management (HM) major is one of two programs in the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management. Students within the major will receive a Bachelor of Science degree.

Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

The hospitality leaders of tomorrow must be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. The Hospitality Management program at JMU prides itself on being a leading Bachelor of Science hospitality degree program in the country. The HM major emphasizes practical experience through the curriculum and students are encouraged to participate in opportunities to study abroad.

The HM mission is to develop hospitality leaders through sound theoretical coursework, innovative learning activities, mentoring opportunities, exposure to premier hospitality organizations, and interaction with dynamic industry professionals. Together with alumni, students, parents, and friends of the program, HM at JMU will be recognized as the preferred provider of hospitality graduates.

Hospitality Management is an extremely dynamic field and students may pursue careers in hotels, resorts, restaurants, private clubs, travel, various food service operations or convention management and meeting planning.

The goals of the program are:

  • To expose students to a rigorous academic and experiential learning program, including a 400 hour internship prior to graduation.
  • To provide an intimate educational setting of small classes, team learning experiences and meaningful personal contacts with faculty and industry professionals.
  • To promote the use and development of technology, critical thinking and communication skills in hospitality leadership.
  • To ensure that all HM students have a meaningful choice of job opportunities upon graduation.
  • To build a set of leadership skills while providing students exceptional financial acumen.
  • To maintain a faculty of knowledgeable and respected industry professionals, dedicated to continuous improvement via internships, authorship, industry contacts and participation at national and international industry conferences.

Tell me more about this field of study

The Hospitality field, also known as the mega-industry, includes many career opportunities. Recent statistics include the following:

  • Hospitality Management provides $98.3 billion in tax revenues or federal, state and local governments.
  • Total Hospitality Employment in the United States includes 15.4 million jobs.
  • Pleasure travel volume was 950.4 million; personal-trips with business travel accounted for over 251 million trips in the United States alone.
  • The World Tourism Organization forecasts a growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3% and 4% in the next year. International visitors spend $79.4 billion a year.
  • The travel field is America's largest services exporter, with international travelers spending over $110 billion in the United States.
  • The US hotel and motel industry consists of about 40,000 companies that operate 48,000 properties, with combined annual revenue over $120 billion.
  • The restaurant industry’s total economic effect is $1.5 trillion.
  • The restaurant industry remains one of the nation’s largest private-sector employers with its 12.7 million employees, comprising 9% of the U.S. workforce.
  • The restaurant industry is projected to add 1.3 million career and employment opportunities by 2020. Dining is the most popular domestic trip activity and is included in 31% of all domestic trips. On a typical day, 130 million Americans will visit a restaurant.
  • The private club industry represented by The Club Managers Association of America had $13 billion in revenue in 2008 employing 290,749 associates.

Tell me more about specialization

Individuals can pursue entry level management paths in the hospitality industry. General Managers of clubs, resorts, hotels, and restaurants coordinate a team of managers to deliver exceptional service and a memorable experience, relative to the following: Convention services managers coordinate meetings, conventions, and other special events for a hotel. Food and beverage managers direct the food services of hotels. Front office managers coordinate reservations and train front desk staff to deal with the public. Executive housekeepers insure that guest rooms, meeting rooms and public areas are well maintained and train and supervise housekeepers. Restaurant managers are responsible for all phases of a food service operation.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

There are many compatible combinations with an HM degree, including: Accounting, Communications, English as a Second Language, Finance, Modern Foreign Languages, Music Industry, Human Resource Development, or Psychology.

Characteristics of Successful Students

Good business skills, exceptional written and oral communication skills, and excellent interpersonal skills are essential in this field. Individuals must also be able to adapt and work well under pressure in order to solve problems and handle emergencies.


Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers a few examples of some career paths taken by recent graduates of the HM program:

  • Banquet Director
  • Cake Designer
  • Catering Director
  • Club Manager
  • Conference Coordinator
  • Event Planner
  • Food/Beverage Manager
  • Food Cost Accountant
  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Lodging/Resort Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Retail Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Special Projects Assistant
  • Technical Recruiter
  • University Food Service Manager

Who employs graduates?

Airlines, Amusement Parks, Associations, Catering Companies, Colleges/Universities, Country/City Clubs, Cruise Lines, Bridal Establishments, Conference Centers, Convention Centers, Hotels/Motels, Lodging Corporations, Resorts, Restaurants, Special Events/Promoters, Tourism Companies, Travel Agencies.

Internships and Practicum Experiences

Hospitality Management requires the student to complete 1,000 hours of work experience in the hospitality field prior to graduation. This is reflected in two courses:

  • HM 310: 600 hours of Work Experience
  • HM 402: Supervisory Internship

Students pursue internships under the direction of a faculty advisor and our Internship Director.  In addition, students have a variety of opportunities to gain practical experience. For example, in HM 440: Hospitality Leadership, students are required to plan, organize and execute all aspects of a creative, fun-filled Senior Project with high quality food and entertainment while staying within budget. Students may wish to become active in one of the related student organizations:

  • CMAA – Club Management Association of America
  • NSMH – National Society of Minorities in Hospitality
  • PCMA – Professional Conference Management Association
  • ESD - Eta Sigma Delta

NSMH and PCMA participates in the regional and national NSMH Conferences and CMAA members attend regional events as well as the World CMAA Conference.

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Get the Facts

What are JMU graduates doing with this major?
Chefs and Head Cooks
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
Food Service Managers
Lodging Managers
Sales Managers
Travel Agents
VAULT: Log in, Click on Guides and search for over 700 professions and 100 industries. 

Our Resource Center

A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in our Resource Center. Come to the 3rd floor of the Student Success Center to explore our Resource Center in person, or search for titles from our collection online. Just enter keywords into the search bar under "Search JMUCAP's books" in the upper right to find titles that interest you.

Back to Top