fbpx

In recent years, the Australian hospitality, tourism and personal services industries have grown in size and sophistication, which is reflected in the wide variety of courses offered. New markets continue to emerge in niche areas such as gastronomy, ecotourism and wine tourism. In the past, many people within these industries were trained in the workplace, but now courses are offered at many institutions across Australia, including universities, TAFE institutes and private colleges.

If you are interested in studying hospitality, tourism and personal services, you may also be interested in studying Business and management or Health services and rehabiliation.

The courses and employment opportunities available will depend on the level of qualification you complete. There are three qualification levels in hospitality, tourism and personal services:

VET study in Hospitality, tourism and personal services

Courses and specialisation

There are many different types of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications available in the hospitality, tourism and personal services field, which lead to wide variety of jobs. Most qualifications are available at certificate, diploma and advanced diploma level. In the tourism industry, you can choose from travel, tourism, international hotel and resort management, and guiding. In the hospitality industry, courses are offered in hospitality, commercial cookery, Asian cookery, kitchen operations, patisserie, wine industry operations and events. Those who would like to work in the personal services industry can choose between nail technology, beauty services, beauty therapy and hairdressing.

There are also some higher-level VET qualifications available at the vocational graduate certificate and vocational graduate diploma level, which are equivalent to the graduate certificates and graduate diplomas offered in the higher education sector but offer a more practical focus. These courses train graduates for management roles within their industry. Qualifications available at this level include international hotel management and hairdressing creative leadership.

Training in the hospitality, tourism and personal services field has traditionally occurred in the VET sector, and many professionals have launched their careers through a VET qualification. While undergraduate and postgraduate degrees usually prepare graduates for management roles, VET qualifications provide practical training that prepares graduates for roles at the operational level (chef or travel agent, for example) as well as management level (such as resort manager), depending on the level of qualification completed. Due to the practical nature of the hospitality, tourism and personal services industries, industry placements are included in many of the courses.

Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to some institutions is highly competitive and requires students to attend an interview. For more information about VET qualifications and entry requirements, see Vocational Education.

Where to study

VET qualifications in hospitality, tourism and personal services are available at TAFE institutes, universities with TAFE departments and also many private colleges around the country. There are a number of specialist providers in this field. You may find that there is greater range of courses and a higher level of expertise at specialist providers and institutions located in popular tourist areas.

Some of the private colleges are elite residential schools, where students live and work on campus as part of their course. Residential schools may charge higher fees than other institutions, but fees usually include accommodation and meals.

Practical experience is a very important part of many courses in the hospitality, tourism and personal services fields, so it is important to check that the courses and institutions you are considering are able to offer you these opportunities. This includes looking out for up-to-date facilities and equipment, industry-based learning and simulated training environments (such as beauty salons that are open to the public and student-run restaurants). You should also look for institutions that have good contacts with your industry, as this will be helpful when you are seeking work at the end of your course.

You may also be interested in overseas job opportunities within these industries, which means that international recognition could be a factor when you are doing your research. You should look for courses and institutions that have gained accreditation from the relevant international organisations in your industry and enquire with institution staff about your job prospects overseas.

Undergraduate study in Hospitality, tourism and personal services

Courses and specialisation

The growth of the hospitality and tourism industries has led to the emergence of a wide variety of courses at undergraduate level. Courses in the personal services industry, such as hairdressing and beauty therapy, are offered in the VET sector only. For more information, see VET study in tourism, hospitality and personal services.

Undergraduate degrees in hospitality and tourism prepare students for employment in management roles. Many are specialist bachelor degrees in areas such as tourism management, events management, international hotel and resort management, international restaurant management, culinary management and hospitality management. There are also a number of undergraduate degrees in business that offer specialisations in hospitality and tourism (a bachelor of business specialising in tourism management, for example). While specialist hospitality and tourism degrees are a good option for students who are certain about studying and working in these industries, the general bachelor of business degrees allow students who are interested in management to sample a number of fields before committing to dedicated study in tourism and hospitality. There is also a small number of double degrees that combine studies in tourism and hospitality with study in fields such as humanities, and business and management. Honours degrees are also available for students who are looking to complete more in depth research into the industry.

Undergraduate degrees in tourism and hospitality usually involve classes that teach you about your industry and how it works, classes that deal with business skills relevant to the industry (such as marketing or management), and classes that involve extensive practical components (including training in elaborate practical facilities on campus and paid industry internships).

Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to some institutions is highly competitive and requires students to attend an interview as part of the selection process. For more information about undergraduate degrees and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Undergraduate.

Where to study

Undergraduate degrees in tourism, hospitality and personal services are available at universities, TAFE institutes and private colleges around the country. There are a number of specialist providers in this field of study. You may find that there is greater range of courses and a higher level of expertise at specialist providers and institutions located in popular tourist areas.

Some of the private colleges are elite residential schools, where students live and work on campus as part of their course. Residential schools may charge higher fees than other institutions, but fees usually include accommodation and meals.

Practical experience is a very important part of many hospitality and tourism courses, so it is important to check that the courses and institutions you are considering have good facilities, incorporate plenty of practical experience through industry placements and simulated training environments, and provide access to the latest equipment and techniques. The best courses should also have good contacts with employers and help students to find work in their industry. Look out for training restaurants that are open to the public, simulated environments such as mock hotel front desks, industry-standard equipment and software, and field trips.

There are many employment opportunities overseas in the hospitality and tourism industries, so international recognition is important to many students. Look for courses and providers that are accredited by prestigious international organisations in your industry and ask institution staff about graduate prospects overseas.

Postgraduate study in Hospitality, tourism and personal services

Courses and specialisation

Hospitality and tourism is quite a new field at postgraduate level, although there is a wide range of courses available. Courses in the personal services industry, in areas such as hairdressing and beauty therapy, are offered in the VET sector only. For more information, see VET study in tourism, hospitality and personal services.

Most postgraduate students complete coursework degrees, including graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and coursework masters degrees. There are many specialist postgraduate degrees in areas such as tourism management, events management, hospitality management and international hotel management, as well as in unique areas such as ecotourism and gastronomic tourism. There are also postgraduate degrees in business and management that offer specialisations in hospitality and tourism (a master of business administration specialising in tourism management, for example).

Postgraduate coursework degrees provide opportunities for those who are new to the field to gain professional skills and qualifications that will allow them to move into management positions within the hospitality and tourism industries. For those who already work in the industry or have completed an undergraduate degree in hospitality and tourism, postgraduate study is a good way to improve career advancement into higher levels of management. Due to the practical nature of the hospitality and tourism industries, industry placements are included in many of the courses.

Postgraduate research degrees in hospitality and tourism are also available, including research masters degrees and research doctorates, although they are currently less popular than coursework degrees.

Applicants must meet academic and English language entry requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to most postgraduate courses is open to students with an undergraduate degree in any discipline or relevant industry experience. Selection for some institutions is highly competitive and requires students to attend an interview. For more information about postgraduate degrees and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Postgraduate.

Where to study

Postgraduate hospitality and tourism courses are offered at both universities and private colleges. There are a number of specialist providers in this field of study. You may find that there is greater range of courses and a higher level of expertise at specialist providers and institutions located in popular tourist areas.

Gaining industry experience is very important in hospitality and tourism courses, so you should look for institutions that have up-to-date, industry-standard facilities, incorporate plenty of practical experience into their courses, and offer simulated training environments (such as training restaurants and mock hotel front desks) as well as access to the latest equipment and techniques. The best institutions also have good contacts with the industry, which help students to find work once they have graduated.

There are many employment opportunities overseas in the hospitality and tourism industries, so international recognition is important to many students. Look for courses and providers that are accredited by prestigious international organisations in your industry and ask institution staff about graduate prospects overseas.

If you are considering a research degree, you should look for university departments and schools that specialise in tourism and hospitality and have an established research program in your area of interest. You should also investigate possible supervisors.

Hospitality, tourism and personal services jobs in Australia

Hospitality, tourism and personal services graduates work in a wide range of employment roles within their respective industries. Possible jobs include operational roles such as caterer, chef or cook, kitchen hand, waiter, bar attendant, hotel attendant, events coordinator, tour guide, travel agent, visitor information officer, hairdresser, nail technician and beauty therapist, as well as management roles such as hotel manager and restaurant manager.

Common workplaces include restaurants, hotels and resorts, tourism agencies and beauty salons. Some graduates apply the general business skills they have been taught to management and marketing roles outside the industry. Other graduates go on to operate their own businesses. The knowledge and skills gained in this industry are increasingly transferable worldwide, and many graduates take up positions in Australia and overseas once they have completed their course.

While VET qualifications train students for a range of roles at both operational and management levels, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are focused on training students for management positions. Despite this, many VET graduates progress to management roles.