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Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Schools and Colleges
| Last Updated March 10, 2022
Travel, tourism, and hospitality schools and colleges can help you learn what it takes to create exceptional guest experiences. By completing post-secondary training in this field, you can develop the leadership, customer service, and communication skills that can lead to enriching and wide-ranging opportunities across Canada and around the world.
Education & Training
Post-secondary training in tourism and hospitality can help you acquire the knowledge and abilities that can help you stand out to potential employers.
Length of Training
Programs related to travel, tourism, and hospitality can last anywhere from two months to four years, depending on the credential you pursue.**
Most Common Length of School**
(range in months)
Travel and tourism8-24
Certificate programs generally last between six and 12 months.** Some provide a general overview of the industry while others have a very specific focus, such as adventure guiding. Note that some certificate programs are aimed at people currently working in the industry who want to upgrade their education.
Diploma programs are typically two years long, but that can vary.** They tend to include more general education courses in areas such as communications or computer applications.
Bachelor's degree programs usually take about four years to complete.** They are commonly offered as business administration, hospitality and tourism management, or commerce degrees. Programs at this level tend to feature more in-depth training in business and management.
Many programs at all levels also include an externship, work placement, or co-op option that enables you to get real-world industry experience before you graduate.
The types of courses that are offered depend on the specific program and credential you pursue. However, broadly speaking, many travel, tourism, and hospitality-related programs cover topics like:
- Hotel and resort management
- Budgeting, purchasing, and cost control
- Food and beverage management
- Safety and sanitation
- Ecotourism and sustainability
- Airline, cruise line, and tour operations
- Reservation systems
- Event planning
- Guest relations
- Human resources management
- Business law
- Organizational behavior
- Cross-cultural tourism
Skills You Can Learn
Depending on the program you choose, you may have the opportunity to develop skills related to:
- Managing both people and finances
- Marketing and selling
- Planning events
- Communicating effectively
- Addressing guest complaints
- Adhering to health and safety regulations
Licensing & Certification
Some types of professionals in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry require certification or licensing at the provincial, territorial, or even municipal level. Here are just two examples:
- Travel agents (also known as travel counsellors) must be licensed in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. And anyone who sells travel insurance must be licensed in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Licensing information is not available for the other regions of Canada. Travel agents across the country can also choose to become certified through the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).
- Tour guides are not regulated in most areas of Canada, but they must be licensed in Montreal and Quebec City. And tourism operators require a license in the Northwest Territories.
For many other types of positions in the industry, voluntary certifications can boost your employability. For example, hotel managers can pursue certification from emerit. And depending on the role you hope to land, you may want to become certified in areas like:
- Food safety
- Alcohol service
- CPR or first aid
Education & Training FAQs
Are online programs available?
Yes. Many programs are delivered entirely online, with both part-time and full-time options. However, depending on the program, you may still have to complete an in-person work placement with an organization in your local area.
Do I need to have a degree or diploma to become a manager in this field?
That depends on the employer. In some cases, several years of hospitality experience can substitute for formal education. So you may be able to start out in an entry-level role and work your way up, even without having a university degree or college diploma. However, completing a post-secondary program typically does make you more attractive to potential employers.
Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Programs
With a focus on helping people get the most out of their leisure time and business trips, the travel, tourism, and hospitality field encompasses an enormous range of exciting careers.
4% growth from 2019 to 2028
Average Yearly Openings
Length of Training
Most Common Length
- Government of Canada Job Bank
- Canadian Occupational Projection System
According to data from the Government of Canada Job Bank, these are the median yearly full-time earnings of people in related careers:
- Accommodation services managers: $57,200
- Accommodation, travel, tourism, and related services supervisors: $45,760
- Food services managers: $42,994
- Hotel front desk clerks: $31,200
- Pursers and flight attendants: $37,440
- Tour and travel guides: $29,640
- Travel counsellors: $36,400
Based on the earnings noted above, the average median wage for Canadians in travel, tourism, and hospitality occupations is $40,091.
Accommodation services managers$57K
Food services managers$43K
Pursers and flight attendants$37K
Hotel front desk clerks$31K
Tour and travel guides$30K
Job Openings & Outlook
Between 2019 and 2028, occupations related to travel, tourism, and hospitality are expected to see a four-percent increase in employment, according to the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS).
That's based on an average of the projected growth rates for each of the categories listed below:
- Accommodation services managers
- Accommodation, travel, tourism, and related services supervisors
- Food services managers
- Hotel front desk clerks
- Pursers and flight attendants
- Travel agents
- Tourism and amusement services occupations
COPS data also shows that in total, the occupations above are projected to generate an average of 15,880 annual job openings over that same decade.
- Portability: Tourism is a global industry, so your skills could potentially lead to cool opportunities all over the world.
- Cultural enrichment: You will likely have the opportunity to interact with people from a wide range of cultures and perspectives.
- Self-employment potential: You could eventually establish your own hotel, restaurant, tour operator, or event planning business.
What a Travel, Tourism, or Hospitality Professional Does
Specific job tasks vary considerably by role. Depending on which area of the industry you focus on, you might carry out activities like:
- Overseeing the day-to-day functioning of a:
- Cruise ship
- Catering service
- Tour operator
- Preparing budgets and staff schedules
- Planning and coordinating special events
- Promoting vacation destinations or attractions
- Making travel arrangements for individuals or groups
- Explaining interesting facts to guests at tourist attractions
- Guiding travelers on escorted business or leisure trips
- Leading guests on excursions like kayaking, mountain climbing, or wildlife viewing
- Keeping airline passengers and crew comfortable and safe
- Resolving guest complaints
People in this industry commonly work in settings like:
- Cruise ships
- Travel agencies
- Historic sites
- Tourism boards or visitor centres
- Outdoor adventure sites
Travel, tourism, and hospitality is a broad field with a huge range of potential career paths. Here are just a few examples:
Accommodation services manager: Supervise staff, track revenues, and ensure a positive guest experience at a hotel, resort, bed and breakfast, or other type of lodging.
Airline customer service agent: Assist passengers by performing tasks like assigning seats, issuing boarding passes, and tagging luggage.
Event planner: Handle the accommodation, transportation, catering, and other arrangements for special events like festivals and conferences.
Flight attendant: Be responsible for ensuring that passengers onboard an aircraft remain safe and comfortable during flight.
Food services manager: Keep a restaurant thriving by hiring and scheduling staff, developing menus, controlling inventory, and making sure health and safety regulations are followed.
Heritage interpreter: Help visitors appreciate the cultural significance of heritage sites like parks, museums, and interpretive centres.
Hotel front desk clerk: Check guests in and out, maintain room accounts, process payments, and respond to questions or complaints.
Shore excursion manager: Develop, promote, and sell a collection of tours for each port on a cruise ship's itinerary.
Travel guide: Lead groups of travelers on escorted tours, confirming accommodation and transportation reservations and handling any issues that arise.
Tour operator: Organize guided tours and develop packages that combine components like accommodation, transportation, and meals.
Travel agent: Advise clients on travel options that fit their interests, budgets, and time frames, and make bookings as requested.
What characteristics do people in this industry often share?
Successful tourism and hospitality professionals are dedicated to continually improving the guest experience. To that end, they typically:
- Possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Enjoy making people happy
- Are both resourceful and tactful
- Have good cultural awareness
- Are open to working on weekends and holidays
Which careers in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry have the most promising outlooks?
Pursers and flight attendants are projected to have the highest rate of job growth between 2019 and 2028, according to COPS data. Have a look at the five fastest-growing careers:
- Pursers and flight attendants: 14.4 percent
- Accommodation services managers: 10.7 percent
- Accommodation, travel, tourism, and related services supervisors: 10 percent
- Hotel front desk clerks: 6 percent
- Food services managers: 5.9 percent
When it comes to the most yearly job openings, the order changes a bit:
- Accommodation, travel, tourism, and related services supervisors: 5,460
- Accommodation services managers: 4,330
- Food services managers: 4,330
- Pursers and flight attendants: 700
- Hotel front desk clerks: 550
* Salary information represents an average of the median wages for accommodation services managers; accommodation, travel, tourism, and related supervisors; food services managers; hotel front desk clerks; pursers and flight attendants; tour and travel guides; and travel agents, as noted by the Government of Canada Job Bank. Career outlook and job openings data is drawn from the Canadian Occupation Projection System for the same careers. (Note that for outlook and job openings, tour and travel guides are part of a broader category known as tourism and amusement services occupations).
** Length of training information is based on a combination of information from the Government of Canada Job Bank, the government of Canada's post-secondary search tool, and a wide sampling of relevant program lengths from up to 30 individual school websites. They are a mix of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit institutions.