Hospitality Certification Program at MSUHospitality management sounds fun and rewarding to professionals in the industry, but what exactly does it entail? Does it involve accounting? Marketing? Training? Interviewing? Organizational strategizing? Financial planning?

In a word: yes. Oh, and also some conflict de-escalation; lots of interpersonal and public communication; a good deal of human resources, facility, and information systems management; and a dash of absolutely everything else that keeps the intricate gears of a service establishment running smoothly. There’s no such thing as an average hospitality manager, just as there’s no such thing as an average day in this industry. (Of course that’s one of the reasons why we love it!)

Given the number of competencies essential to hospitality management, until quite recently, managers were created gradually, over time.  They began at the bottom and worked their way up every single rung of the industry ladder until they finally got to the top.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with experiential learning—unless you don’t feel like waiting years for career advancement. And now that one of the best hospitality business institutions in the country, The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University (MSU), has begun offering a Management Certificate in the Business of Hospitality, you don’t have to.

You don’t even have to leave your desk, in fact. The School’s certificate program is conducted exclusively online, via cutting-edge interactive technologies that offer multiple means of acquiring and retaining knowledge.

The online learning environment is much more flexible than a traditional certificate program (a boon for students already employed in the industry), and the three eight-week courses—Hospitality Business Operations, Hospitality Business Management, and Hospitality Leadership, in that order—are designed by industry and education experts.

The program runs for 21 weeks; the credentials and competencies last a lifetime.

The timing of MSU’s new program couldn’t be better. The hospitality industry, already a critical sector of our recovering economy, will benefit as a whole from President Obama’s initiatives to increase travel and tourism in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the leisure and hospitality industries will create around 1.7 million new jobs by 2020. More hospitality jobs mean more hospitality managers.

The old method of acquiring hospitality expertise may be effective, but it’s also inefficient. As the industry continues to flourish, the most attractive hospitality professionals will be the ones who are ready to manage immediately.

This guest post was provided by Jessica Edmondson who works on behalf of this program for the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.