Hospitality Pathways to Recognition

emerit Tourism Certified Manager (TCM)

Purpose: The TCM designation applies to professionals who manage – and may own - operations. These professionals may also manage staff, but staff management is not their primary responsibility.  emerit Tourism Certified Manager (TCM) certification is a Canadian competency based industry certification program and is managed by Tourism HR Canada, the tourism sector council for Canada.

Process:Certification is a challenge process (no formal training program required) following a specified amount of related workplace experience. The certification process has a minimum workplace experience requirement and includes an industry endorsed knowledge exam, and a performance evaluation. The evaluation is based on industry developed and validated occupational standards.  These standards are available free of charge to provide self-assessment for potential candidates. Some certification processes include additional requirements, such as training/certification in basic first aid, or safe food handling.

Occupational certifications available: TCM eligible occupations are campground operator, food and beverage manager, and events manager.

Additional information:

Some post-secondary programs provide credit for emerit tourism certification toward their required courses.  Check with the institution you are considering about their joint credit or Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) policy.

For more information about the Tourism Certified Manager designation, visit http://emerit.ca/en/emerit_certification/available_certificates/professional_certification/tourism_certified_manager_tcm.aspx


emerit Tourism Certified Professional (TCP)

Key terms:

  • Front line positions: positions which have the most daily contact with customers
  • Entry level skills: skills required for positions at the initial or entry level of a career path (usually a combination of general employability skills such as communication, and job/occupation specific skills such as front desk reservations or food service skills).

Purpose: emerit Tourism Certified Professional(TCP) certification is a Canadian competency based frontline industry certification program managed by Tourism HR Canada, the tourism sector council for Canada.

Process:Certification is a challenge process (no formal training program required) following a specified amount of related workplace experience. The certification process has a minimum workplace experience requirement and includes an industry endorsed knowledge exam, and a performance evaluation. The evaluation is based on industry developed and validated occupational standards.  These standards are available free of charge and can provide self-assessments for potential candidates. Some certification processes include additional requirements, such as training in basic first aid and safe food handling.

Occupational certifications available:A few examples of TCP eligible occupations are bartender, casino dealer, housekeeping room attendant, food and beverage server, front desk agent, line cook, and retail sales associate (tourism).

Additional information:

Some post-secondary programs provide credit toward their required courses for emerit tourism professional certification.  Check with the institution you are considering about their joint credit or Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) policy.

Candidates who are certified Tourism Certified Professionals (TCPs) in an occupation may apply for higher designations (Tourism Certified Supervisor- TCS, and Tourism Certified Manager – TCM). When applicable, recognition earned for one designation will be credited toward the next one, however there are no prerequisites for any of the three. For more information about the Tourism Certified Professional designation, visit http://emerit.ca/en/emerit_certification/available_certificates/professional_certification/tourism_certified_professional_tcp.aspx


emerit Tourism Certified Supervisor (TCS)

Purpose: The TCS designation applies to professionals whose primary responsibility is to supervise other staff.

Process: Certification is a challenge process (no formal training program required) following a specified amount of related workplace experience. The certification process has a minimum workplace experience requirement and includes an industry endorsed knowledge exam, and a performance evaluation. The evaluation is based on industry developed and validated occupational standards.  These standards are available free of charge and may provide self-assessments for potential candidates. Some certification processes include additional requirements, such as training in basic first aid, safe food handling, and other generic and transferable skills

Occupational certifications available: TCS eligible occupations are tourism supervisor and tourism trainer.

Additional information:

Some post-secondary programs provide credit toward their required courses for emerit tourism certification.  Check with the institution you are considering about their joint credit or Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) policy.

Candidates who are certified Tourism Certified Supervisors (TCSs) may apply for the Tourism Certified Manager (TCM) designation. When applicable, recognition earned for one designation will be credited toward the next one, however there are no prerequisite qualifications. For more information about the Tourism Certified Supervisor designation, visit http://emerit.ca/en/emerit_certification/available_certificates/professional_certification/tourism_certified_supervisor_tcs.aspx


Post Secondary Hospitality Skills Certificates

Key terms:

  • Front line positions: positions which have the most daily contact with customers
  • Entry level skills: skills required for positions at the initial or entry level of a career path (usually a combination of general employability skills such as communication, and job/occupation specific skills such as front desk reservations or food service skills).

Purpose:Certificate programs provide graduates with the entry level skills they need to become successfully employed in front line positions in hospitality, including occupation specific skills needed for food and beverage service, bar service, front desk duties in a hotel, and housekeeping services. The programs also include ‘employability’ skills which are transferable to many occupations and fields. Most one year certificates are food and beverage certificates, but some focus on accommodation.

Length:Certificate programs vary in length, but average one year (two semesters).  In order to be listed on the Tourism Framework they must consist of a minimum of 750 hours.

Additional information:Some programs include industry co-op (paid workplace learning) or practicum/internship (unpaid workplace learning) terms of varying length, some of which may be gained in an institution’s own casual or fine dining facilities.

Where can I get further information about Hospitality Skills certificates?

For specific programs at individual institutions, see http://discovertourism.ca/en/education_and_training/school_finder

FAQs for Learners

1. What might be included within Hospitality Skills certificate programs?

The focus and names of certificate programs vary across Canada and between institutions. Most certificate programs focus on food and beverage service, but some focus on accommodation service (e.g. front desk, housekeeping, sales and marketing). As well as job-specific skills, individuals gain transferable employability skills ranging from communications, working with numbers and money, and managing information, to using technology, organizational skills, professionalism, and working with others. These programs usually incorporate service excellence and responsibility, and safety programs.

2. How long will it take me to complete a certificate program in Hospitality Skills?

The average time is one year (or two semesters). To be included in this Framework, certificate programs must consist of a minimum of 750 hours. The length of co-op placements or internships varies by program. Check the website of the institution you are considering for program details.

3. Are certificate programs separate programs, or are they part of diploma programs?

It varies by program and institution. All certificate programs provide a credential/qualification on successful completion, but some also act as the first year of a two year diploma program. Check with individual institutions to see how their programs are structured.

I have completed some courses in Hospitality (or Cooking) and have a number of years of work experience. Could I receive any credit recognition or advanced standing?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), which could allow credit or advanced access based on proof of relevant prior learning, is available at most institutions.  Check the PLAR policies of the institution you are considering to identify possible credit.

If you are transferring from another post-secondary institution, you may be able to transfer credits. Contact the institution you are transferring to for clarification.

FAQs for Employers

1. What do most Hospitality Skills certificate programs cover?

One year certificate programs incorporate industry specific skills for Food and Beverage Service and/or Front Office and Housekeeping, as well as more general subjects such as applied mathematics, communications, and computer literacy. See details above.

2. Could I employ students during their certificate programs?

Many programs include a co-op placement, which would allow you to hire students, help them learn on the job, and determine whether you might want to hire them in the future. As well, many students look for part time hospitality-related employment outside of school hours. Often these students bring current theory, trends and ideas to your enterprise. Check with your local institution for program details and benefits to your enterprise.


Post Secondary Hospitality Management (Undergraduate) Degrees

Purpose: Undergraduate degrees in hospitality provide the foundational knowledge and business skills needed for students to enter the industry in preparation for a supervisory or management careerin hotel, resort and restaurant environments. Program focus ranges from tourism or hospitality, to commerce, business or management in the hospitality sector and many include knowledge and skill development in leadership and management principles, operational analysis and problem-solving/risk management, global perspectives, sustainable tourism and community development, hospitality ethics, entrepreneurship andconsumer behavior. These programs provide learners with the skills they need to lead teams and develop businesses in a rapidly changing environment. Studies in this field may include Hospitality Business Management and Accounting, Consumer Behaviour, Hospitality Ethics, Risk Management, Community Development and Hospitality/Tourism Current Events.

Length: Most undergraduate degrees require four years of study.  Some may be based on or include the “2 + 2” articulation agreement model, where learners complete a two year diploma program at a college and then attend a university for the final two years to gain a Bachelor degree.

Additional Information: Some colleges now offer applied degrees, which normally require four years of full time study and which emphasize technical applications. They frequently involve field work or practical workplace training.

Where can I get further information about Hospitality Management Degrees?

For specific programs at individual institutions, seehttp://discovertourism.ca/en/education_and_training/school_finder

FAQs for Learners

1. What do most Hospitality Management Degrees cover?

There are two types of Hospitality Management Degrees; one is specific to Hospitality or Tourism Management, the other is a general Business Degree with a specialty in Hospitality, Hotel or Food & Beverage Management.  The Bachelors of Hospitality Management or Hotel/Resort Management provide more in depth focussed learning in Hospitality and specialty areas, while the Business Degree provides a broader focus on general management and leadership skills as well as hospitality related learning. Degree programs provide more in depth and broader information about the tourism and hospitality industries than a diploma program.

2. How long will it take me to complete a degree program in Hospitality Management?

The average time is four years full time or equivalent. Many institutions are now offering part or all of their programs online, and on a part time basis. The length of co-op placements or internships varies by program. Check the website of the institution you are considering for program details.

3. I have completed some courses in hospitality/or tourism/or cooking and have a number of years of work experience. Could I receive any credit recognition or advanced standing?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), which could allow credit with proof of relevant prior learning, is available at most institutions. Check the PLAR policies of the institution you are considering to identify possible credit.

If you are transferring from another post-secondary institution partway through a program, you may be able to transfer credits. Check with the institution you are transferring to for clarification.

FAQs for Employers

1. What do most Hospitality Management degrees cover?

Degree programs are progressive from what is learned in hospitality diploma programs. Common themes of Hospitality Management Degrees and Bachelor of Commerce with Hospitality/Tourism Management Degrees are Hospitality Business Management, Consumer Behaviour, Hospitality Ethics, Risk Management, Community Development, Hospitality/Tourism Current Events, and Hospitality Career Preparation. Business Degrees with Hospitality/Service Management specialization provide graduates with broader management and leadership skills. Some programs features a mandatory co-op (work experience) term, helping students launch successful careers in the industry.  Since there can be more variation in specialty areas of content in degree programs than in diploma programs, it is necessary to check program outlines of individual educational institutions to be sure of what the program covers in addition to general business management and service skills.

2. Could I employ students during their degree programs?

Degree programs vary as to the amount of co-op (paid workplace learning) or practicum/internship (unpaid workplace learning), but most include at least one co-op placement.  This would allow you to hire students, help them learn on the job, and determine whether you would like to hire them in the future. As well, many students seek part-time employment after school. Often these students bring current theory, knowledge of new trends, ideas and new technology to your enterprise. Check with your local institution for program details and benefits to your enterprise.

3. Can the workplace learning my employees gain help them earn a degree faster?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is available at most institutions, which could allow credit or advanced standing for relevant learning if it can be proven. You may be able to help your employees prove their related learning so they do not need to repeat learning they already have. Check the PLAR policies of your employees’ institutions to identify possible credit.


Post Secondary Hospitality Management Diplomas

Key terms:

  • Entry level skills: skills required for positions at the initial or entry level of a career path (usually a combination of general employability skills such as communication, and job/occupation specific skills such as front desk reservations or food service skills).

Purpose: Diploma programs provide learners with the skills they need to become successfully employed and progress within Hospitality and include both occupation specific skills as well as broader general transferable employability skills. Hospitality Management diploma programs use a Core + Specialty Courses framework. Common core topics usually encompass accounting, communications, economics, business management, human resources, law, marketing, organizational behaviour, accommodations and food and beverage operations and service. Specialty or optional topics could include topics such as computer applications, conferences and events, food science nutrition, entrepreneurship, marketing, cultural tourism, resorts and additional languages.

Length: Diploma programs in Hospitality Management vary in length, but average two years (or four semesters). Program focus ranges from Food and Beverage Management to Hotel and Restaurant Management or Resorts.

Additional information:All post-secondary diploma programs are based on learning outcomes (e.g., descriptions of what students should know and be able to do at the end of the programs), and include occupationspecific skills as well as general education courses in areas such as the arts and humanities, social science, and technology.

Some programs include industry co-op (paid workplace learning) or practicum/internship (unpaid workplace learning) terms of varying length.

Many diploma programs have agreements, known as articulation agreements, with degree programs which allow graduates of diploma programs to gain entry to degree programs and receive up to two years credit transfer.

Where can I get further information about Hospitality Management diplomas?

For specific programs at individual institutions, see http://discovertourism.ca/en/education_and_training/school_finder, or http://www.accc.ca/inventory/index.php?sector=tour&c_id=948&chge_crit=sub

For BC: www.linkbc.ca
For AB: www.alis.gov.ab.ca/edinfo/
For SK: www.gosiast.com
For MB: Check individual institution sites
For ON: www.ontariocolleges.ca
For QC: www.cqrht.qc.ca
For the Atlantic Region (NS, NB, NL, PEI): Check individual institution sites

FAQs for Learners

4. What do most Hospitality Management Diplomas cover?

Most diploma programs focus on Food and Beverage Management, or Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Management, and include a common core of courses plus some specialties of that program. Common core subjects usually includeAccommodations, Accounting, Beverage Operations, Business Communications, Economics, Food and Beverage Cost Control, HR Management in the Hospitality Industry, Hospitality Law, Marketing and Organizational Behaviour. Specialty or optional topics could include topics such as computer applications, conferences and events, food science nutrition, entrepreneurship, marketing, cultural tourism, resorts and additional languages, or further detail on core topics.

In B.C., there is a recognized Core Curriculum through the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and the BC Hospitality Management Diploma Programs Articulation Committee. Colleges following this core curriculum plus specialized courses ensures graduates have a common set of core knowledge, skills and attitudes plus knowledge and skills in specific areas of hospitality. 

In Ontario, there is a requirement for all public colleges to follow the Ontario government program standards which set out common core general and technical outcomes that must be met.

Graduates from diploma programs which follow provincial standards are usually able to enter degree programs with advanced standing for two years (often referred to as a ‘2+2’ articulation agreement).

5. How long will it take me to complete a diploma program in Hospitality Management?

The average time is two years (four semesters). The length of co-op placements or internships varies by program. Check the website of the institution you are considering for program details.

6. I have completed some courses in frontline skills and have a number of years of work experience. Could I receive any credit recognition or advanced standing?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), which could allow credit with proof of relevant prior learning, is available at most institutions. Check the PLAR policies of the institution you are considering to identify possible credit.

If you are transferring from another post-secondary institution partway through a program, you may be able to transfer credits. Check with the institution you are transferring to for clarification.

FAQs for Employers

4. What do most Hospitality Management diplomas cover?

Most diploma programs focus on Food and Beverage Management or Hotel and Restaurant management, and include a common core of courses, plus some specialties of that program. Common core subjects includeAccommodations, Accounting, Beverage Operations, Business Communications, Economics, Food and Beverage Cost Control, HR Management in the Hospitality Industry, Hospitality Law, Marketing and Organizational Behaviour. Check with potential employees for more details about their program, or check program websites. Specialty or optional topics could include topics such as computer applications, conferences and events, food science nutrition, entrepreneurship, marketing, cultural tourism, resorts and additional languages, or further detail on core subjects.

In BC and Ontario, colleges following the core curriculum ensure all graduates will have common core knowledge and skills. Programs will vary according to specialty areas of concentration.

5. What skills do graduates of diploma programs have that graduates of certificate programs may not have? 

Individuals in diploma programs complete entry level supervisory and basic management and operational courses. They also gain a greater breadth of technical/vocational skills and transferable skills such as communications, presentation skills, the ability to work independently and in teams, and to think critically and solve problems.

6. Could I employ students during their diploma programs?

Most programs include at least one co-op placement, which would allow you to hire students, help them learn on the job, and determine whether you would like to hire them in the future. Often these students bring current theory, trends and ideas to your enterprise. Check with your local institution for program details and benefits to your enterprise.

7. Can the workplace learning my employees gain help them earn a diploma faster?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), which could allow credit or advanced standing for relevant learning if it can be proven, is available at most institutions. You may be able to help your employees prove their related learning so they do not need to repeat learning they already have. Check the PLAR policies of your employees’ institutions to identify possible credit.

High School Hospitality Feeder Programs

There are a few programs which provide hospitality specific knowledge and skills at the secondary level.

1) CATT

Canadian Academy of Travel & Tourism (CATT) students gain knowledge and work experience in tourism at over 100 high schools in Canada. The program is integrated with current Canadian high school curriculum and is based on industry developed National Occupational Standards for Transferable Skillsand Essential Skills defined and developed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. CATT students can progress through 3 levels of programming to ultimately demonstrate skills in 11 areas (Tourism Ambassador, Effective Communicator I, Effective Communicator II, Technologically Literate, Team Player, Problem Solver & Decision Maker, Information Processor, Organizer and Time Manager, Independent Worker, Adaptable Worker, and Business Systems User). CATT teachers can use innovative teaching resources and curriculum activities.

For a listing of schools across the country which offer CATT programming, visit: http://cattcanada.ca/en/about_catt/catt_schools

For more information on CATT, visit: http://cattcanada.ca/en

2) Tourism, Hospitality, and Entrepreneurship 30 A & B (two semesters) - Saskatchewan only

Based on an agreement between Saskatchewan Education and the Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council, Saskatchewan Education may deliver Service Best in provincial schools offering Tourism, Hospitality, and Entrepreneurship A30, B30. The program offers foundational knowledge and skills in customer service, communication, and positive attitude.  

All participants receive a certificate of participation and the option to write an exam.  Students who successfully pass the exam receive a gold seal on their certificate. For more information on this program, visit http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/tourism/cert.html

Master’s Degrees in Hospitality

Purpose: Master’s Degree programs offer advanced skill development in topics such as leadership, destination development, strategic marketing, and applied research.

Length: Master’s programs can often be taken in a modular fashion, allowing students to work while earning their degree and generally are completed over two to five years (equivalent to two years of full time study).

Additional Information:

Master’s programs usually require an undergraduate degree to enter the program.

There is currently one Master’s program in the Hospitality field in Canada:

  • University of Guelph — College of Management and Economics (Ontario): Master’s of Business Administration in Hospitality and Tourism Management (two year online program): http://www.uoguelph.ca/cme/mba

Doctoral (PhD) Programs in Hospitality/Tourism

Purpose:Doctoral programs are usually research based on focused subjects.  Therefore there are no general descriptors.

Length:There is a varying length of time in which students are expected to complete required and course work, research project, candidacy examinations, completion of doctoral research, dissertation and defense. Doctoral(PhD) programs are usually customized to a specific focus as agreed between student and supervisor.

There is currently one Doctorate (PhD) program directly related to the Tourism field in Canada:


Saskatchewan Hospitality (Tourism) Apprenticeship

Purpose: These hospitality apprenticeship programs provide the opportunity to be recognized as a provincial journeyperson. The Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC) in partnership with the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission(SATCC) offers tourism apprenticeships for two frontline positions.

Occupations available: tourism apprenticeships are offered for guest services representative and food and beverage person.

Process: Individuals must currently be working in either of these fields in order to register for apprenticeship.Apprentices in this program spend approximately 80% of their time learning skills in the workplace and approximately 20% of their time in the classroom. Successful completion leads to a journeyperson certificate.  Successful learners will have completed one or more occupational knowledge exams, 3,600 hours of work experience, and a performance evaluation, in addition to other industry training and testing required by SATCC.

For further information visit:

Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission(SATCC)