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An online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree prepares students to operate food services and lodging businesses. Graduates can earn $59,440 annually as a food service manager and, as a lodging manager, $59,430. Other careers to pursue include convention and event planner, with a median annual salary of $49,470, and facilities manager, with a salary of $99,000.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree typically takes about four years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition at a four-year public institution was $7,869 in the 2021-22 academic year. At private institutions, undergraduate tuition averaged $$37,095.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program

Choose your area of study

One of the first steps in choosing an area of study is to set short and long-term education and career goals. Students can create specific steps to reach their goals and match them with the best online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree program. Students must choose between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree.

Bachelor of Arts degrees are broader and typically allow students to take more general education courses. Bachelor of Science degree programs are more narrowly focused, with more coursework specific to the student’s major. For hotel and restaurant management, both types of degrees will include courses in areas like personnel management, public relations, accounting, and laws that apply to the industry.

Research schools and programs

Researching the best online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree programs includes verifying accreditation for the school and the program. Students should confirm that the institution is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and that the program has accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). These accreditations ensure that students get the highest quality education available and that their degrees will be recognized by employers and other postsecondary institutions.

Students can research programs from home by taking virtual tours, joining social media groups, video conferencing with staff, and reading reviews and comments online. Create a list of questions to answer, like the following:

  • Do graduates find placements in their field?
  • What are the faculty’s credentials?
  • Are there networking opportunities?
  • What are the graduation requirements?

Prepare for tests and applications

Preparing for tests and applications is best done when students create a spreadsheet or checklist to stay organized. There is much information to sort through, and each school may require different application materials. For example, some schools require standardized entrance exams like the SAT or ACT, while others have waived this requirement or made test scores optional.

Generally, all applicants must provide the following:

  • Application
  • High school transcripts and proof of graduation
  • Recommendation letters
  • Personal statement
  • Resume including awards or recognitions

Students transferring from other schools must submit transcripts from the colleges they’ve previously attended.

Select your program

It may be tempting to submit numerous applications to online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree programs, but doing so can be costly since all schools charge nonrefundable application fees. Setting an application budget is helpful. Apply to your top choices first, as application deadlines allow. Students can contact each school’s admissions department to inquire about application fee waivers.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Working with a guidance counselor, parents, or the college’s financial aid department, students will complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for student loans, grants, work-study funding, and scholarships. Students should explore all avenues for funding their education that don’t require repayment before borrowing federal or private student loans.

Parents can claim a $2,500 tax credit through the American Opportunity Tax Credit if they each earn less than $90,000 annually. Other IRS savings programs include the education savings bond program and student loan interest deduction.

Students who are working while enrolled in their online hotel and restaurant bachelor’s degree program can find out if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits.

Best 50 Accredited Online Bachelor’s in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs Badge
01

Florida International University
01

The University of Alabama
01

East Carolina University
01

Johnson & Wales University
01

Northern Arizona University
01

Washington State University
01

University of Wisconsin - Stout
01

Fort Hays State University
01

California State University, East Bay
01

University of Central Florida
01

Norfolk State University
01

Texas Tech University
01

Arizona State University
01

University of Utah
01

SUNY Delhi
01

North Carolina Central University
01

Missouri State University
01

University of the Southwest
01

Eastern New Mexico University
01

Everglades University
01

Charleston Southern University
01

Utah Valley University

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How we rank schools

This list features some of the best online hospitality management degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of business-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission standards, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online hospitality management degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, including U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management can expect to complete 120 credit hours, which usually takes four or more years for full-time students. For part-time students, it may take closer to six years to finish.

Coursework will vary somewhat depending on whether students choose the more business-focused Bachelor of Science or the more liberal arts-centered Bachelor of Arts degree. However, the core curriculum of an online bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management typically focuses on understanding the principles of sales, marketing, event planning, and procedures in running a hospitality business.

Many online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree programs allow students to complete an internship or co-op to gain experience working in the industry before graduation.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree program

  • Customer Service. Students learn the importance of customer service and how to ensure customers have a great experience even if they encounter minor problems. Topics include communication skills on every platform, including the telephone, in-person, and online. Other topics include serving diverse clients, sensitivity training, product marketing, and social media.
  • Revenue Management. Students study managing money best when running a hotel, restaurant, or other hospitality environment. Focus areas include booking and double booking based on forecasting, setting rates, strategies to increase revenue, and understanding customer behaviors. Also, students learn to understand customer needs and expectations and know the local and nationwide factors that may affect business.
  • Hospitality Management Fundamentals. In this course, students learn about managing personnel, employment laws, industry trends, and the various career paths available in hospitality. Students get an overview of the hospitality industry as it applies to travel, tourism, hotels, restaurants, conventions, clubs, and meetings.
  • Sanitation and Safety. Students learn the importance of sanitation in keeping customers and staff safe. Topics include personal hygiene, cleaning, sanitization, food allergies, and temperature controls. Other topics may include pest management, employee health, serving safety, and microbiology. Students also learn how to train employees on sanitation and safety.

What Can I Do With a Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree?

This degree equips students with the skills they need to enter the hospitality management field and take on leadership roles in restaurants, bars, food service vendors, hotels and other types of lodging, and more.

Graduates of hotel and restaurant management programs may work for small, privately owned restaurants or hotels or seek employment with large national or global chains. While most individuals start out in on-the-ground positions in a restaurant or hotel, they may advance into corporate-level positions, especially if they pursue a graduate degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Another option is for graduates to start their own dining or lodging establishment.

Career outlook

  • Lodging manager — Plan, direct, or coordinate activities to ensure that a lodging facility such as a hotel, motel, or resort is efficient and profitable and that guests have a satisfactory experience at the facility.
    • Median annual salary: $65,360
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 7%
    • New jobs projected: 5,400 per year
  • Meeting and event planner — Coordinate events, including meetings, conventions, and social events, by overseeing budgets, scheduling, facilities, transportation, food, and more.
    • Median annual salary: $56,920
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 8%
    • New jobs projected: 15,200 per year
  • Food service manager — Oversee the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages by directing staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience and managing the business to ensure that it runs efficiently.
    • Median annual salary: $63,060
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 0%
    • New jobs projected: 39,600

Online Bachelor’s in Hotel and Restaurant Management Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management degree program?

Students in high school who plan to enter an online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management degree program will benefit from talking to their high school guidance counselor and the university’s admission counselor. Together, they can create a list of application requirements for the schools they wish to apply to. The same requirements apply to students transferring from one bachelor-level program to this one. Students will likely find they need the following common materials:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from high school and any college courses already taken
  • Standardized test results

How much does an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management degree cost?

The cost of a bachelor’s degree program will vary for all students because it depends on factors unique to each person and differences in how universities set tuition rates. Public universities tend to have lower tuition rates than private institutions. However, public schools may charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students.

Other factors that will influence the annual and total cost of a bachelor’s degree include:

  • Part-time vs. full-time status
  • Additional university fees
  • Scholarships and grants awarded to the student
  • Employment status while enrolled
  • Military and other tuition discounts

Students enrolled in online programs can save money by not having to pay for transportation, childcare, or on-campus activities fees.

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management degree?

Similar to costs, varying factors affect the time it takes students to complete an online bachelor’s degree program. Students who are starting their degree from scratch need to earn 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree. Those with prior college credits to transfer may only need to complete as few as 60 credits to graduate.

Students who can attend full-time will likely finish in four years or less. Students getting a double degree or minoring in a subject may need five years to complete. Part-time students can expect to add at least one year to their graduation timeline.

Is an online hotel and restaurant management degree worth it?

Having a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management isn’t an industry-wide requirement for employment. Many food service and lodging managers enter the field with a high school diploma or associate degree and work their way up to management level through hands-on experience. However, a bachelor’s degree in this field provides individuals with formalized training in all aspects of hospitality management, including customer service, personnel management, accounting, sales, marketing, and more, which some employers may prefer.

Another route for individuals who want to open their own restaurant is culinary school, although this type of training emphasizes the development of cooking skills, while a hotel and restaurant management degree focuses more on business and management principles.