Hospitality Operations Certificate

Hospitality Operations Certificate

Program Benefits
  • Benefit from flexible format options including a full certificate and three micro-certificates
  • Attend a program that is offered in partnership with AHLEI / students also earn the AHLEI certificate
  • Earn a valuable credential backed by the prestige of the University of Utah that will increase your chances of success in the competitive job market
  • Gain the skills needed to pursue positions in one of today's most rapidly growing job sectors

The Hospitality certificate is on hiatus for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters as we work on streamlining our program and improving our offerings. We are planning on rolling out our new and improved certificate in the Fall of 2021, so keep an eye on your inbox!

Click HERE to email us for more information and to join our waitlist.

Improve your career options with one of four certificates and micro-certificates in hospitality management

A Hospitality Operations certificate or micro-certificate from the University of Utah will provide you with a comprehensive education in the key areas of hospitality operations management needed to pursue a successful tourism related career.

In this noncredit program you will learn a broad range of topics from foodservice and front office operations to hospitality law and leadership. These certificates and micro-certificates are offered in partnership with AHLEI, the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) to deliver a well-rounded curriculum.

Available programs:

Non-credit certificate
Hospitality Operations Certificate - 8 courses

This certificate is offered in collaboration with the Health, Kinesiology and Recreation Department (HKR) in the College of Health. These collaborative non-credit certificates utilize existing for-credit classes and as such, have unique application requirements which are described in the information below.

The following certificate and micro-certificates are available through this program:

Non-credit Certificate

Hospitality Operations Certificate - 8 courses / equivalent of 24 credit hours (AHLEI Approved Program)

  • Students completing the Hospitality Operations Certificate will receive both a University of Utah certificate and Hospitality Operations certificate from AHLEI.

Demand in the job market for hospitality professionals

The demand for professionally trained hospitality professionals remains high in Utah with projections for both employment and wages looking bright. According to the “State of Utah’s Travel and Tourism Industry Authored by: Jennifer Leaver, M.A., Research Analyst”, in April 2016,

“Utah’s diverse and seasonal travel and tourism industry has experienced steady and record-setting growth over the past five years. Increased numbers of travelers, spanning a variety of ages and origins, continue to visit Utah’s ski resorts, parks, and other natural, cultural, and historic attractions. In 2015, Utah’s economy experienced another year of record-setting traveler spending ($7.98 billion) and associated state and local tax revenues ($1.09 billion). Total tourism-related jobs increased 10 percent in the past five years and three percent in the past year. Tourism-related wages increased at an even greater rate, with a 12 percent increase since 2010 and a four percent year over increase.

Looking ahead to 2016, there is reason for optimism about continued growth in Utah’s travel and tourism industry. Meanwhile, the U.S. Travel Association forecasts a three percent increase in domestic and international spending in the U.S. in 2016 along with a two percent increase in domestic person-trips and a three-to-five percent increase in international visitation.”

Who are these programs designed for?

This program is open to those at a variety of stages of their educational or professional career. This includes individuals who want to gain entry to hospitality careers, advance their career, or simply acquire additional knowledge and skills.

Career outcomes
This program is designed to prepare students for a variety of entry-level, supervisory, and managerial roles within the hospitality industry such as marketing, general management, operations, human resources, and guest services. Students will be prepared to work in hotels, food and beverage, event management, and tourism agencies. Students learn about all aspects of the hospitality industry including marketing, leadership, accounting, front office procedures, and legal considerations

Affiliation with a AHLEI – American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute

These classes meet the requirements set forth by the AHLEI for the Hospitality Operations Certificate. The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) was founded in 1953 to provide working hospitality professionals with education and training. As the industry grows, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) leaderships the way with real-life skills and knowledge through education and training. AHLEI’s academic course certification:

  • Is backed by more than 60 years of AHLEI’s hospitality education and training expertise
  • Provides a stamp of approval from the American Hotel & Lodging Association – a respected national association that represents more than 23,000 lodging properties
  • Is recognized by hospitality employers as evidence of competency in hospitality knowledge
The University of Utah is an approved AHLEI partner school for the AHLEI Hospitality Operations Certificate. More information about the AHLEI certificate can be found here. Courses feature AHLEI curriculum, exam preparation materials and exams.

This non-credit certificate utilizes the following courses currently offered in a for-credit format in the College of Health.

Hospitality Operations Certificate – 8 courses / equivalent of 24 credit hours

  • PEPEC 300 Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism (part of the hospitality leadership mc)
  • PEPEC 302 Food and Beverage Service (part of the food and beverage mc)
  • PEPEC 303 Hospitality Accounting (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)
  • PEPEC 304 Front Office Procedures (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)
  • PEPEC 305 Hospitality Supervision (part of the hospitality leadership mc)
  • PEPEC 306 Hospitality Law (part of the hospitality bus mc)
  • PEPEC 308 Food and Beverage Management (part of the food and beverage mc)
  • PEPEC 311 Experience and Service Marketing (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)
  • This certificate meets requirements for both the University of Utah certificate and the AHLEI Hospitality Operations Certificate

  • Students completing the Hospitality Operations Certificate will receive both a University of Utah certificate and Hospitality Operations certificate from AHLEI.
  • Courses utilize existing for-credit University of Utah courses and are taught by University of Utah faculty.
  • These classes are all offered online and meet the requirements set forth by the AHLEI for their Hospitality Operations Certificate. AHLEI is an affiliate and educational arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Courses utilize AHLEI curriculum, exam preparation materials and exams.

Class format:  Classes are held over a traditional 15 week semester

Individual class duration:  For students taking 2 classes a semester, the program will take 16 months to complete on average. Some students may be able to complete the program in as little as 12 months. Students must complete the program within four years. There is no minimum or maximum number of credits a student must or can take per semester.

Enrollment options:  Students can apply to any of the certificates or micro-certificates in fall, spring or summer semesters. Not all courses are offered all semesters.

Course sequencing:   Students can take courses in any order. There are no pre-requisites or co-requisites to the courses or the certificates.

Average Time to Complete:
   Full certificate       4 to 7 semesters
   Micro-certificates     1 to 3 semesters

Maximum time to complete the certificate:   Hospitality Operations Certificate - 4 years / Individual Micro-certificates - 2 years each

Eligibility:   Students at all stages of their educational or professional career are eligible for this non-credit certificate. There are no course prerequisites for any of the certificates.

The courses in these certificates and micro-certificates utilize existing for-credit classes meaning you’ll be taking these classes alongside for-credit students and from University of Utah faculty in a traditional 15 week format.

Students complete all assignments required of for-credit students and receive a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Hospitality Operations Certificate – 8 courses / equivalent of 24 credit hours

PEPEC 300 Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism (part of the Hospitality Leadership mc)

This course will provide an introduction and overview of the hospitality and tourism industry. The primary goal of this course is to acquaint you with the sectors of the hospitality and tourism system, their history, development, and roles in the tourism system, both nationally and internationally. Additionally, the course will review career opportunities in the lodging, food service, and tourism industry.

PEPEC 302 Food and Beverage Service (part of the Hospitality Food and Beverage mc)

Covers the effective management of food and beverage service in operations ranging from cafeterias and coffee shops to room service, banquet areas, and upscale dining rooms. Presents basic guest service principles and emphasizes the special needs of guests.

PEPEC 303 Hospitality Accounting (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)

Covers the basic steps in the accounting cycle in the hospitality industry, preparation and analysis of financial statements, and accounting for short-term and long-term assets, liabilities, and equities.

PEPEC 304 Front Office Procedures (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)

A systematic approach to front office procedures focusing on the flow of guests through a hotel. Examines effective front office management; planning and evaluation of front office operations and human resources management.

PEPEC 305 Hospitality Supervision (part of the Hospitality Leadership mc)

Provides students with the principles of supervision as they apply specifically to the hospitality industry. Topics covered include leadership, motivation, effective communications, productivity, conflict, and change.

PEPEC 306 Hospitality Law (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)

Covers the rights and responsibilities that the law grants or imposes upon a hotel keeper, and discusses the possible consequences of failure to satisfy legal obligations.

PEPEC 308 Food and Beverage Management (part of the Hospitality Food and Beverage mc)

Provides a basis for understanding the various challenges and responsibilities involved in managing a food and beverage operation. Describes the steps in the management process, menu planning, food production, safety, sanitation, and financial management practices.

PEPEC 311 Experience and Service Marketing (part of the Hospitality Business Foundations mc)

This course will expand traditional marketing concepts with an emphasis on the building of relationship and value with customers in parks, recreation and tourism experiences and services. Provides a basic background in marketing, focuses on practical sales techniques, proven approaches for targeting markets, and the role of the 4 Ps.

Testing-out of courses

AHLEI offers the option of testing-out of certificate courses based on student experience and existing mastery of the knowledge and skills. This is called “taking the Educational Institute Challenge”. The University of Utah Hospitality Operations Certificate will honor this recognition of prior learning as well and will utilize the AHLEI process.

Students may take the AHLEI “Challenge Exam” for a maximum of up to two courses. Students must pass with a grade of 70% or better to obtain recognition of competency and recognizing of completing a particular course. You cannot test out of an entire certificate.

Students wishing to take advantage of this option, are required to 1) be admitted into the non-credit certificate program, 2) obtain approval from PRT staff in advance, and 3) pay the testing fees.

Under this process, Individual classes will be counted towards successful noncredit certificate completion but will not be reflected as completed classes on University transcripts. Digital badges for any impacted certificate or micro-certificate will not be awarded.

Hospitality Operations Certificate – Noncredit tuition for each course is $440.00 / Full certificate cost is $3520.00

  • A $75 fee will be added to each course to cover course materials and exams.
  • Tuition is due at the beginning of each course offering a pay-as-you-go option. Tuition listed above is for the 2017-2018 academic year and subject to change without advance notice.
  • Online courses may have an additional $60 per class fee.
  • Financial aid is not available for this non-credit certificate. Students are encouraged to inquire with their employers to determine if tuition assistance is available.
  • Tax credits and deductions may be available for higher education expenses.
  • For this certificate, installment plans and deferral payment plans are available for non-credit students. For information about tuition payment options visit

Why choose the University of Utah?

We understand that you have a choice when it comes to taking professional development courses and we work hard to earn your trust with each and every class!

By selecting the University of Utah, you’ll enjoy the following benefits whether you’re coming to us as someone new to the job market, a career changer, a seasoned professional or a lifelong learner.

Resume Power - benefit from the University of Utah reputation for credibility and quality. Choosing the University of Utah for your certificate program makes a clear statement about your commitment to excellence.

Instructor Excellence - learn from the same high-quality faculty that teach in our degree programs.

The Power of the U Network – students have access to a valuable University of Utah peer and faculty network.

Programs that Fit Your Schedule – most of our certificates offer convenient online or evening classes that offer a schedule that works around you. Go to class whenever and wherever you want.

How to register for an Academic Noncredit Certificate

  • These unique certificates are offered in collaboration with University of Utah colleges and academic departments and as such, have unique registration requirements.
  • Register for the certificate through the Professional Education website. There is no cost to register.
  • By registering, you are declaring your intention to complete the full certificate curriculum.
  • Once you’ve registered for your certificate, our staff will send you the link to a short supplementary registration information form for that is required by the departments. Please complete this form within 5 days of receipt.
  • Each certificate has unique application requirements for admission. Please see the "program details" information on each individual certificate webpage to find out the requirements for your certificate.
  • Academic noncredit certificates are not open to students admitted to the University of Utah as a matriculated (degree-seeking) or non-matriculated student.

The following information is required on the supplementary registration information form:

  • 1. Personal information such as your name, address, phone and email address
  • 2. Academic history: degree, degree institution, year
  • 3. University of Utah student history (if any)
  • 4. Short response: why are you interested in taking this certificate?
  • 5. Short response: Please use this space to tell us anything else about yourself that you would like to include in your application.

Please have all information available when you are ready to start the application. Once the application is started, there is no option to save and return. Uploading of documents for short-answer response is not available. Please be prepared to enter directly or paste from another document.

Once it’s verified that you meet all certificate requirements, you will be sent a new student information packet and instructions on how to register for your courses.

Deadlines and other important application information

  • Registrations are accepted on an ongoing basis. For planning purposes, please register at least one month prior to the start of the semester. Registrations received within 5 working days of the start of the semester may not be able to start the program on time.
  • All classes for Academic Noncredit Certificates start at the beginning of each semester unless otherwise noted.
  • Find information about the University of Utah academic calendar here.
  • Applicants can expect to receive information about their registration within 3 days of submission.
  • Applicants are asked not to register for courses prior to being admitted into the certificate program. Details about how to register for classes will be included in all new student information.
  • Students wishing to take courses individually and not as part of a certificate, do not need to submit a certificate registration and may register for classes through Academic Noncredit programs. Note that these classes cannot be applied towards a certificate at a later date. Some courses may not be offered for non-certificate seeking students.

Certificate Completion Requirements

  • Students will be required to fulfill the same expectations and requirements as matriculated students including exams, projects and participation.
  • Certificate students will receive an “S-Satisfactory” or “U-Unsatisfactory” assessment for each class. “S-Satisfactory” will indicate that the student has met the standards for at least a B-.
  • Students must receive an “S-Satisfactory" grade in all classes for successful completion.
  • A certificate is awarded upon satisfactory completion of all required courses.

How is my accomplishment recognized?

For students earning an “S-Satisfactory" grade, the completed certificate will appear on University of Utah official transcripts.

Students will also be awarded a University of Utah digital credential (badge) that can be shared on social media sites and used with other professional resources. Digital badges are embedded with metadata that validate the skills demonstrated and other requirements for earning the badge.

Digital Credentials / Badges

examples of badge graphicsexamples of badge graphicsFollow the link on the badge to the left to find out what metadata is behind the Yoga Teacher Training Certificate or Caring for the Aging Population Micro-certificate badge. This is an example of the type of information you’ll find behind all our academic noncredit certificates.

Find out more about Digital Badges at the University of Utah »

Are there exams? Am I graded?

Certificate classes are graded with a "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" option. For successful certificate completion, students must achieve a "satisfactory" grade in all classes.

Can I apply these classes to a degree at the University of Utah?

This certificate is noncredit and cannot be applied to any for-credit degree.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of credits a student may take in a semester?

There are no minimums or maximum number of credits restrictions for students. The certificate must be completed within one year.

Will I have flexibility in what classes I take and when?

Once admitted, students are responsible for enrolling in individual classes on their own through Continuing Education Academic Noncredit. Students may consult with the certificate program manager if they have questions about specific courses. (See contact us section)

Are these classes eligible for federal financial aid?

Students pursuing a certificate are considered "non-degree seeking," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid loan programs.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of credits a student may take in a semester?

There are no minimums or maximum number of credits restrictions for students. Students skipping one or more semesters are encouraged to communicate with their program advisor regarding completion plans.

What is the average weekly time commitment for each of the classes?

This noncredit class is "yoked" or partnered with a for-credit section. The for-credit section is three credits. For a typical three credit hour class, each student is expect to spend approximately six hours per week outside the classroom.

What are the online courses like?

The online courses in this certificate are flexible in that you don't have to attend online classes at a specific time. Our students use a combination of self-study and peer-to-peer interaction over an online learning network to facilitate instruction. You'll complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as exams and other activities designed to enhance learning outcomes, all at times that are most convenient to you.

Using chat, video conferencing, phone calls, email, social media, bulletin boards, and more, you'll stay connected with fellow students and faculty, building personal networks along the way.

Your courses are developed by faculty and instructional designers who understand the specific needs of learners in an online environment. Special consideration is given to advance planning and setting expectations in the online classroom, so each curriculum is outlined in a syllabus distributed at the start of the course. This document provides an overview of the course assignments, grading strategy, student and faculty expectations, and course materials, as well as an understanding of the course goals and learning outcomes.

Does it matter which course I take first or in what order I take the classes?

It might matter. See the individual program details for your specific certificate.

Professional Education / University of Utah

Online contact form

Parks, Recreation, & Tourism

Preston Tanner
Online Program Coordinator, Internship Coordinator, Lecturer
University of Utah
Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Management