Polk State launches Associate in Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management degree program

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College has launched the Associate in Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management Program for students seeking a degree and certifications that lead to in-demand, high-wage careers in Polk County’s booming industry and beyond.

Enrollment is taking place for classes that will start on August 14. Individuals who are interested or have questions should contact Director of Business Programs Maria Lehoczky by emailing mlehoczky@polk.edu, calling 863.669.2896, or texting 863.345.2021.

“This new program stems directly from the need of our community and the State of Florida,” Lehoczky said. “We have evaluated several economic surveys, discussed with local business and industry leaders, and collaborated with our faculty and staff to develop a program that will benefit students and respond to workforce needs.”

Polk County welcomes more than 5 million visitors each year, according to the Central Florida Development Council, with attractions including LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Peppa Pig Theme Park, Bok Tower Gardens, and more. Nearby Orlando and Tampa also offer a variety of employment opportunities for Polk County residents.

The Associate in Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management Program will provide students with foundational skills and knowledge in management, marketing, and procurement. Students will select one of three focus areas: Food & Beverage Management, Hotel Resort Management, and Event Planning.

Careers in these areas boast median annual salaries of approximately $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in these areas are also expected to grow between 10% and 18% by 2031, which is much faster than the growth of the average job.

Polk State’s program includes eight credit certificates in specialized areas, providing graduates with a competitive edge when seeking employment. Coursework for these certificates can be applied toward the Associate in Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management degree.

Polk State also provides students with the opportunity to complete their Associate in Arts degree and prerequisite courses to transfer seamlessly into Hospitality Administration & Management programs at the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida.

“Central Florida remains a top destination with the hospitality and tourism industry expanding rapidly in Polk County,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti. “Our College is dedicated to providing the quality education and training students need to benefit from the life-transforming opportunities within this industry and to serve as valuable members of hospitality and tourism teams.”