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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Students who graduate with a degree in hospitality management can pursue careers in areas such as guest relations, food and beverage management, tourism, event planning, and entertainment and leisure. They can find employment as managers at hotels and restaurants, event planners, travel agents, catering assistants, marketing and public relations specialists, conference organizers, and more. A hospitality management degree can be earned at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for hotel managers in 2021 was $59,430, while travel agents made an average of $43,810. Food service managers had an average annual salary of $59,440. For bachelor’s degrees, the cost of a hospitality management degree ranges from an average of $7,869 at public institutions to an average of $37,095 at private institutions. Meanwhile, average tuition for master’s degrees ranges from  $12,394 at public universities to $26,621 at private schools.

It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete a bachelor’s degree and two years to complete an associate’s or master’s degree.

How to Choose an Online Hospitality Management Program

Choose your area of study

Since a hospitality management degree can lead to many different types of employment, those planning to pursue this degree should consider their career goals when choosing an area of study and look for programs that offer concentrations that align with those goals.

For example, various programs offer concentrations in food and beverage management, event management, hotel management, travel and tourism, restaurant and club management, hospitality leadership, sport tourism management, and more. Not all schools offer the same concentrations. The student’s degree level will also inform the programs and schools they explore, as not all schools offer hospitality management degrees at all levels.

Research schools and programs

After determining your area of study, thoroughly research various schools and their hospitality programs. Most universities have websites dedicated to each degree program they offer, and you can often find detailed information about the curriculum, learning format, admissions requirements, credit transfer policy, and more. Other universities provide few details online, and you’ll need to request more information by filling out an online form or contacting the admissions office directly.

When doing your research, focus on programs with concentrations that coincide with your desired career and gather as much information as possible. Some programs offer internships, and if that’s something you’d like to do, find out if there are opportunities available locally.

As you’re researching the academic aspects of the programs, take note of these factors as well:

  • Is the school accredited? This is one of the first things you should look at. A properly accredited school will meet the educational standards of recognized agencies in the field. Make sure the accrediting agency is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Proper accreditation also affects your eligibility for financial aid as well as what postsecondary programs you can apply to in the future; students moving from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree or from a bachelor’s to a master’s will most likely need a degree from an accredited institution. Finally, a degree from an accredited school is an advantage when seeking employment after graduation.
  • What is the cost of the program? If the tuition is more than you’re planning to spend, the school is probably not going to be a good fit. There’s no reason to spend a lot of your time researching a program that’s not in your budget. At the same time, though, you will want to weigh all of the factors of a program. The cheapest program isn’t necessarily the best, so don’t choose a program just because it’s the least expensive one.
  • What is the learning format? Online programs are delivered in three different formats — asynchronous, synchronous, and a combination of the two. Students who need complete control over their schedules or plan to study in the evenings and on weekends should choose an asynchronous format. Some students, however, prefer synchronous learning, where the instruction is live and they must be online at specific times. A synchronous format helps them stick to a schedule and facilitates closer collaboration with fellow students and instructors. Some programs combine both formats, requiring that students be online for certain live classes and lectures. Decide which format is best for your learning style and personal responsibilities.
  • Where is the school located? Even if students are enrolled in an online program, they may still have access to on-campus services, events, and amenities, including fitness centers, libraries, student clubs, job fairs, sporting events, and more. Living near your school can make it easier to take advantage of these perks. Additionally, some online programs are offered in a hybrid format, where students either have the option or are required to attend some classes in person. For these reasons, the school’s location may be important when choosing a program.

Prepare for tests and applications

Admissions requirements will vary depending on the degree you’re planning to earn. For associate and bachelor’s programs, you’ll likely need a high school diploma or GED, letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and SAT or ACT scores. Be prepared to submit official high school transcripts or proof of your GED. Most institutions have a minimum GPA requirement, but it varies from school to school.

Graduate programs require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university along with transcripts, a resume, one or more letters of recommendation, and a personal statement or essay. GMAT or GRE scores may also be needed, and applicants may be required to have previous professional experience in the field.

Some schools offer rolling admissions, while others have specific deadlines. Be sure to check these dates and submit your application along with supporting documents on time.

Select your program

If you haven’t yet decided on which type of hospitality management degree program you want, now is a good time to make that decision. Bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management include a Bachelor of Science (BS), a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), and a Bachelor of Hospitality Management (BHM).

If you’re pursuing a master’s degree, options include a Master of Science (MS) in Hospitality Management, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in hospitality management, or a Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH), which is a three-semester program that focuses exclusively on hospitality management.

After researching various programs and schools, take a closer look at each option and list them in order of preference. You should apply to all the options on your list since you don’t know which schools will accept your application. When all have replied, look at your acceptance letters and choose the one that ranks highest on your list.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

To determine eligibility for federal student loans, grants, work-study, and scholarships, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many institutions use the information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for scholarships. Students should also explore other avenues for scholarships, including community and religious organizations, nonprofits, and businesses.

Many schools offer payment plans that allow students to spread tuition payments out over the course of the term, as well as military discounts for veterans and active-duty service members. Enrolling in a flexible online program can make it easier for students to work full- or part-time, which can help subsidize education costs. In many cases, employers may offer tuition assistance benefits to help students pay for school.

Best 50 Accredited Online Hospitality Management Programs

Best Hospitality Management Degree Programs Badge

Florida International University

FAU College of Business

University of Wisconsin - Stout

SUNY Delhi

North Carolina Central University

Fort Hays State University

Utah Valley University

Johnson & Wales University

University of South Carolina

Northern Arizona University

University of the Southwest

University of Alabama

Washington State University

University of North Alabama

California State University, East Bay

Cleary University

Missouri State University

Everglades University

Bellevue University

University of Central Florida

Charleston Southern University

University of Utah

Kansas State University

Eastern New Mexico University

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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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 Hospitality Management Program?

A hospitality management program provides education for a number of different industries, including food and beverage, event planning, lodging management, and marketing and publicity. Core subject areas include accounting, administration, financial management, IT, marketing, HR management, and public relations. The program combines business management with food science, safety, hygiene, and more.

For online programs, universities deliver coursework and other materials via an online learning management system (LMS). Among the most popular are Blackboard, Canvas, D2L Brightspace, and Moodle. Some schools have their own LMS. The features vary somewhat, but all allow students to access their course syllabi, course material, assignments, announcements, tests, grades, and more. Students can also chat with one another and with instructors via message boards on the LMS. When applicants are officially enrolled, they are provided with the necessary software and instructions.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online hospitality management program

  • Leadership and hospitality in tourism. In this course, students examine the fundamentals of effective leadership by studying team dynamics, decision-making processes, effective communication, motivation, and managing change. They learn leadership in both theory and practice, how to set personal and group goals, and various problem-solving skills.
  • Food service operations. From menu planning and design to dining room service to food and beverage management, students learn the basics of food management in the hospitality space. The course also examines how to select, purchase, receive, store, prepare, and serve food in various settings.
  • Hospitality accounting and finance systems. This course covers general and specialized systems of accounting used in various hospitality industries. Students learn about budgeting, pricing models, evaluating expenditures, creating incentives, and more.
  • Business strategy. Students in this course delve into the business side of hospitality management. They learn how to create and implement policies, study finance and marketing, and examine case studies of various businesses and their strategies in the hospitality sector.

What Can I Do With an Online Hospitality Management Degree?

Earning an online degree in hospitality management opens doors to careers in a variety of industries, including food and beverage service, hotel and resort management, event planning, tourism, and more. This degree equips students with the administrative, organizational, interpersonal, and financial management skills needed to be a support staff member or leader in hospitality or customer service contexts.

Students may also use their hospitality management background to start their own business, especially if they also have educational experience in business administration or entrepreneurship. Earning a master’s degree in hospitality management can also prepare graduates for executive roles within hospitality-related organizations.

Career outlook

Some common career paths for individuals with hospitality management degrees include:

  • Lodging managers — Plan, direct, or coordinate operations to ensure that hotels, motels, resorts, and other lodging facilities are efficient and profitable and that guests have an enjoyable experience at the property.
    • Median annual salary: $61,910
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 7%
    • New jobs projected: 5,400 per year
  • Meeting, convention and event planners — Organize a variety of social and professional events, including weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions, by coordinating details with event hosts and vendors, venue personnel, etc.
    • Median annual salary: $52,560
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 8%
    • New jobs projected: 15,200 per year
  • Food service managers — Oversee the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages, including directing staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience and managing the efficient operation of the business.
    • Median annual salary: $61,310
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 0%
    • New jobs projected: 39,600 per year

Online Hospitality Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online hospitality management degree program?

Most colleges and universities provide information for application submission and document uploading directly on their websites, but applications can also be printed and mailed in. Those applying to bachelor’s programs can fill out the Common Application, which lets them apply to several institutions at once instead of submitting a separate application for each one. Regardless of the degree level, be sure to submit all the required documents. It’s always wise to speak with an admissions counselor before applying.

How much does an online hospitality management degree cost?

The cost for an online hospitality management degree varies widely, and much of this depends on the degree level — undergraduate or graduate. An online degree in hospitality management can cost between $30,000 and $60,000. Additional expenses for online students can include technology and software, books, and supplies. Public universities often have higher tuition rates for out-of-state residents, but many now offer a flat rate for distance learners. Read more about the cheapest online hospitality management degree programs.

How long does it take to earn an online hospitality management degree?

A bachelor’s degree requires about 120 credits, and full-time students typically complete it in four years. Full-time students can complete associate and master’s degrees in two years. Students who transfer previously earned credits from an associate or bachelor’s degree can shorten the time needed to complete the program, and some schools offer accelerated programs that can be finished in less time.

Is an online hospitality management degree worth it?

While there are many careers within the hospitality field that don’t require a degree, studying hospitality management online can be a direct path to gaining the skills necessary to succeed in the field. Having a bachelor’s degree can also give you an edge when applying for jobs, especially when coupled with real-world experience in your chosen area of hospitality. It also lays the foundation for further study at the graduate level.

Data also shows that individuals with bachelor’s degrees tend to earn more than those without. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that bachelor’s degree holders earn a median weekly salary of $1432, while those without a college degree earn $935.

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