9 Hospitality Jobs That Pay Well

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn about career paths and industries you can explore when you're interested in working in hospitality.

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While many industries focus on making and selling products, hospitality is more concerned with delivering service. A hospitality job is one that involves working in a service-oriented industry, such as tourism, lodging, events, transportation, or food and beverage, and performing tasks that foster a relationship with your company’s customers.

Services now comprise a large portion of the US economy, meaning that there’s high demand for hospitality roles at all experience levels. While some entry-level roles, such as server or bartender, tend not to require formal education, more advanced positions, like those in hotel management, have started requiring a college degree. That being said, hospitality can be an excellent industry in which to advance with on-the-job experience. 

In this article, we’ll go over nine jobs you may want to explore if you’re interested in working in hospitality. 

9 high-paying hospitality jobs

As you gain more experience, it's possible to make more money when you work in hospitality. With the roles below, we’ve noted the preferred education, but it’s worth emphasizing that experience goes far in the hospitality industry. The roles below often require some amount of experience, usually between two and five years, and may substitute experience for education in certain instances.  

1. Hotel manager 

Managing a hotel or resort typically means being in charge of its day-to-day operations. This can mean delegating responsibilities to department managers, like those overseeing housekeeping, the front desk, and maintenance; reviewing the facility's budget; conducting regular inspections; interviewing, hiring, and training new employees; and resolving problems as they arise.  

  • Median annual salary:  $59,430 [1]

  • Projected job growth: 18% 

  • Preferred minimum education: Bachelor’s degree

2. Food service manager 

Food service managers typically work at a restaurant, club, bar, cafeteria, bakery, cafe, or anywhere food or beverages are made and served. Your day-to-day duties can include ordering ingredients and equipment, hiring and overseeing employees, managing kitchen staff, and making sure the facility is compliant with local health codes.

  • Median annual salary:  $59,440 [2]

  • Projected job growth: 10%

  • Preferred minimum education: High school diploma

3. Casino director

Working as a casino director means ensuring that its day-to-day operations are running smoothly. While your goal is to ensure guests are enjoying themselves, you'll also spend time hiring and training employees, monitoring employees to ensure they're following house rules, creating schedules, monitoring budgets and cash flow, and reviewing surveillance footage as needed. 

  • Median annual salary:  $89,190 [3]

  • Projected job growth: 24%

  • Preferred minimum education: Bachelor’s degree

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4. Sales manager 

Sales managers aren’t limited to the hospitality industry, but within that context, they often work for hotels, resorts, event facilities, and entertainment venues to help ensure those places do as much business as possible. In this role, you'll pursue new leads to secure business, analyze data and reports to help you find and attract customers, delegate tasks and manage other sales team members, build and execute new sales plans, and monitor budgets, among other things. 

  • Median annual salary:  $127,490 [4]

  • Projected job growth: 5%

  • Preferred minimum education: Bachelor’s degree

5. Executive chef 

Chefs work in restaurants, hotels, casinos, and resorts, among many other locations. Essentially, they oversee the kitchen, ensuring staff prep food and execute orders, maintaining food and ingredient inventory, planning menus, and ensuring the kitchen is up to local health codes.

  • Median annual salary: $50,160 [5]

  • Projected job growth: 15%

  • Preferred minimum education: High school diploma

6. Director of housekeeping 

A director of housekeeping will usually work in a hotel, resort, or another type of lodging, though you can also work in places like schools and hospitals. In this role, you're the person in charge of the housekeeping staff. You’re responsible for ensuring the facility where you work is clean, and you'll also train new employees, create schedules, order supplies, and inspect rooms to ensure they're up to standard. 

  • Median annual salary:  $ 45,100 [6]

  • Projected job growth: 6%

7. Event manager

Like sales managers, event managers can work in many industries. In the hospitality industry, they're usually in charge of overseeing the planning of events like concerts, sporting events, and conventions. When you represent a site or location and an organization asks to hold an event there, you'll help with the coordination of everything from catering to security. You'll likely need to set or work within a budget, and you'll be in charge of helping with any problems that come up at the last minute.

  • Median annual salary:  $64,619 [7]

  • Projected job growth: 18% [8]

  • Preferred minimum education: Bachelor’s degree

8. Chief concierge 

Concierges and chief concierges typically work in hotels and resorts, helping guests with services they might need beyond typical hotel offerings, like booking flights, finding a restaurant, or looking for something fun to do. Vast knowledge of the location and its offerings can be valuable for this type of work, along with great customer service skills. As the chief concierge, you'll also need to be comfortable managing the rest of the concierge team. 

  • Median annual salary:  $51,113 [9]

  • Projected job growth: 9%

  • Preferred minimum education: Associate degree

9. Flight attendant 

The need for flight attendants is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. In addition to flying between cities, you'll likely be expected to inspect emergency equipment, teach travelers how to use emergency equipment, serve food and beverages, ensure passengers are comfortable and safe during their flights, administer some first aid as needed, and coordinate with pilots. 

You’ll likely need to pass an intense training course and certification offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You may also need to meet other requirements, like passing a background check, a vision test, a height requirement, and a medical examination. 

  • Median annual salary:  $61,640 [10]

  • Projected job growth: 21%

  • Preferred minimum education: High school diploma

Learn more: Customer Service Skills, Courses, Salaries, and Career Paths

Where to find hospitality jobs

There are many industries that involve working in hospitality to some extent. Let’s go over each one and the types of roles you can find. 

Entertainment and recreation

Entertainment and recreation facilities, like sports stadiums, spas, conference centers, theme parks, concert venues, casinos, and theaters, all hire jobs that involve hospitality. 

  • Entry-level jobs can include: Server, concession stand worker, ticket tacker, security

  • Advanced jobs can include: Operations manager, event coordinator, director of sales

Food and beverage 

The food and beverage industry involves preparing and serving food and drinks to customers. It can involve work in restaurants, cafes, bakeries, food trucks, bars, breweries, wineries, or nightclubs. 

  • Entry-level jobs can include: Host, server, bartender

  • Advanced jobs can include: Head chef, pastry chef, sommelier

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Lodging and hotel services

Hotels, resorts, and other lodging facilities are major employers in the hospitality industry. You're there to ensure people who need a place to stay while they're away from home are comfortable and safe. 

  • Entry-level jobs can include: Housekeeper, front desk clerk, reservation assistant

  • Advanced jobs can include: Sales manager, marketing specialist, hotel manager

 

Travel and tourism

If you want a hospitality job in the travel and tourism sector, you might work at a resort, on a cruise ship, or even on an airplane as a flight attendant. 

  • Entry-level jobs include: Server, fitness instructor, deckhand

  • Advanced jobs include: Operations manager, entertainment director, cruise ship director

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Essential skills for hospitality jobs

Hospitality jobs require different technical skills—or the specialized knowledge needed to do a specific role. For example, if you work as part of a kitchen team then you will need to know how to cook food. A housekeeper, on the other hand, needs to know cleaning and scheduling protocols.  

Beyond the technical nature of each role, there are certain workplace skills (sometimes called “soft skills”) that jobs in hospitality typically require, such as customer service. Depending on how “front-facing” your role is, you may come face to face with dozens—if not hundreds—of customers and coworkers. 

Other essential skills you'll need for hospitality jobs may include: 

  • Attention to detail

  • Communication

  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity

  • Organization 

  • Positive attitude

  • Problem-solving

  • Teamwork

  • Time management 

Get started

Looking to start or advance your career in the hospitality industry? Consider taking a course or completing a specialization to bolster your knowledge. The University of North Texas’ course Management Foundations in the Hospitality Industry is a great introduction, or level up your skills with Bocconi’s Food and Beverage Management.    

Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Lodging Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm." Accessed October 24, 2022. 

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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