Using Your Hospitality Management Degree to Work at a Theme Park
When we talk about careers in hospitality management, most people assume the field includes hotels, motels, and other overnight accommodations. While it’s true that these types of professions dominate the hospitality trade, the field is actually quite large.
Spas, cruise lines, restaurants, catering companies, event planners, and even theme parks are all included. That’s why a degree in hospitality management is so versatile; there are plenty of places where employment is a real possibility.
Working in a theme park (or water park) might not be something you’ve considered before, but the truth is that there are good job opportunities here. When you have a degree in hospitality management (either at the Associate or Bachelor’s level), you can go beyond serving popcorn at the concession stand or wearing a giant dog costume to work in guest relations, marketing, and other mid-management roles.
What Does a Theme Park Manager Do?
Your job as a member of a theme park’s management staff will vary depending on the employer. For example, a large corporation like Disney is run differently than a more science-oriented place like SeaWorld or a locally owned and operated water park. Your personal background and professional goals will dictate where and how you will best succeed.
With that disclaimer in place, you can still expect to:
Create business plans and strategies
Implement marketing plans and promotional packages
Monitor and maintain customer satisfaction
Oversee facility management
Hire, fire, and train employees
Work with legal departments to ensure safety
This kind of work comes with a high level of responsibilities, which is why most theme parks look for someone who has a degree in hospitality management, recreation services, or another related field. These courses are offered at many different types of schools, and you should be able to find both online and local options at the community college, private college, or public university level.
As is the case with most degrees, the higher you go (all the way up to a Master’s in hospitality management), the better your chances of promotion and higher rates of pay.
Of course, all that hard work can pay off you’re really interested in the field. Whether you’re drawn to taking advantage of perks like free admission for your family, or you love being around an industry that thrives on fun, this can be a very rewarding profession. And with salaries that figure into the six figures for highly trained and experienced managers, the financial aspect is appealing, as well.
For more information on beginning a theme park hospitality career, you may want to visit the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), which offers workshops, conferences, and training opportunities for professionals already in the field.