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A master’s in hospitality management program will teach students to demonstrate advanced skills in presentation, communication, customer service, and organization to lead teams effectively. The breadth of study encompasses several types of lodging spaces and recreation, such as hotels, restaurants, casinos, resorts, theme parks, travel companies, and spas.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for lodging managers is $59,430. Jobs in this field are expected to grow by 18% through 2031. Food service managers earn a median annual salary of $59,440, and employment in this field is projected to grow by 10% in the next decade.

An online master’s in hospitality management typically requires a total of 30-40 credits, which can be completed in 1-2 years of full-time study. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a graduate degree is $12,394 at public universities and $26,621 at private schools.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Program

Choose your area of study

Early in the research process, students should define their goals and consider the area of hospitality management that interests them most. Common concentrations within the hospitality management field include:

  • Hotel and motel management
  • Meeting and event planning
  • Food and beverage service management
  • Tourism management
  • Recreation and leisure management
  • Gaming management
  • Human resources management
  • Country club management
  • Ecotourism management

Having a clear idea of the type of job you want to pursue post-graduation will allow you to seek out programs that provide the training and knowledge you need. Students should also consider the type of master’s degree they want. A Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in hospitality management are the two most common options.

This is also the ideal time for students to reflect on their needs in terms of scheduling and enrollment. Some students may be able to enroll in a program full-time, while others may need a part-time program to accommodate work schedules or other responsibilities. In terms of course delivery methods, students in an online program can choose between a synchronous program with live virtual classes or an asynchronous program that allows students to complete lessons on their own time.

Research schools and programs

To ensure that the programs they’re considering provide the highest quality education, students should check the school’s accreditation status. A school’s accreditation status also affects students’ eligibility for financial aid, post-graduation employment opportunities, and options for further study. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a database of accredited institutions. Students should also verify that their program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.

Beyond accreditation, students should make sure that schools and programs match their personal and career goals after graduation. Most schools publish detailed information about their programs on their website. Other options for learning more about programs include contacting the school’s admissions office, attending virtual open houses or information sessions, and following schools and programs on social media.

Common questions to ask during the research stage include:

  • Do students need a bachelor’s degree or work experience in hospitality management to be eligible?
  • Does the program require experiential learning, such as a practicum or internship?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their qualifications?
  • How do online students interact with classmates and instructors?
  • Are courses delivered synchronously or asynchronously?
  • What services are available to online students, such as academic advising or tutoring, mentorships, and career services?

You can access the school’s website for information, read online reviews, and search social media comments about the school.

Prepare for tests and applications

The eligibility requirements and application processes for an online master’s in hospitality management will vary by school. It’s a good idea to confirm these requirements with an admissions counselor before starting an application. Some schools may want applicants who have a minimum undergraduate GPA, a bachelor’s degree in a related field, or relevant work experience.

In general, students can expect to need the following materials for an application to a hospitality management master’s program:

  • Completed application and fee
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate institution
  • Letters of recommendation from a human resources manager, work supervisor, or professor
  • Essay or personal statement detailing professional experience and reasons for seeking a master’s in this field
  • Resume/CV highlighting relevant hospitality management work experience
  • GRE or GMAT scores

Select your program

As you gather information, some schools may stand out as more aligned with your interests, needs, and budget. At this point, you can eliminate any schools that don’t sufficiently meet your needs and focus on applying to the ones that do. Some students may only apply to one or two programs, while others submit several applications to increase the odds of acceptance. Students applying to multiple programs should remember that most schools charge application fees and budget accordingly.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

During the research process, speak to a financial aid counselor to clarify the program’s total cost (including fees) and what financial aid options are available to online master’s students.

It’s a good idea to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which schools will use to determine eligibility for federal student loans and grants, need-based institutional aid such as scholarships, and other sources of funding. Many schools also offer merit-based scholarships to students with strong academic and professional backgrounds. Students can also seek out scholarships and grants from external sources like professional development organizations, non-profits, or community and religious groups.

Students who plan on working while enrolled in an online master’s in hospitality management program should find out if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits to help cover the cost of college. Veterans or active military service members can also inquire about tuition discounts for military members and GI Bill benefits. Many schools also offer tuition payment plans that allow students to spread out payments over the course of the term.

The Top 50 Best Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Degree Programs

Best Online Master's in Hospitality Management Degree Programs

University of Central Florida

Florida International University

Purdue University

University of Alabama

University of North Texas

University of Houston

University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Johnson & Wales University

SDSU Global Campus

University of New Orleans

Lasell University

Liberty University

Colorado State University

Auburn University

Florida State University

University of Florida

University of Toledo

University of Mississippi

Roosevelt University

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How We Rank Schools

This list focuses on master’s degrees in hospitality management. Most programs offer a Master of Science (MS) in hospitality and tourism management, although in some programs, you can earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA). All of the programs can be completed online.

Every program is accredited by a regional accreditation body. This guarantees that the schools meet a high standard of quality in higher education, and it means credits and degrees are more likely to transfer to other institutions.

While there is no program-specific accreditation for hospitality management degrees, many programs are accredited through specialized bodies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

We evaluated each program based on flexibility, faculty, course offerings, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Program?

The core curriculum for this degree will usually include courses in hospitality law, marketing and sales, organizational behavior, leadership skills, accounting, and revenue management. As students move through the program, they may be able to pursue more in-depth study in relevant areas such as food service management, marketing and communication, event planning, or international tourism.

Many programs include an experiential learning component, such as an internship or practicum. Students who work in the hospitality management field can find out if their current position will fulfill this requirement. Depending on the program, students may also have to complete a thesis or capstone project to demonstrate their research and knowledge in the hospitality management field.

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

  • Global Issues in Hospitality Management. Students will learn how to deal with trending issues that affect the hospitality industry.
  • Marketing Management. This course covers planning, controlling, organizing, and implementing techniques, policies, and programs in hospitality management.
  • Hospitality and Tourism Marketing. Students learn how to market their own products for the best returns using social media and various platforms.
  • Hospitality Business Law. Learners examine laws and regulations affecting hospitality businesses.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Hospitality Management?

Career outlook

Working in hospitality management can be a rewarding career if you like meeting new people and helping travelers have unforgettable experiences. The job outlook for this sector is also good, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expecting a faster-than-average 7% job growth in this field through 2032.

Hospitality managers, also known as lodging managers, can expect an average salary of about $61,910 per year, or approximately $29.76 per hour. However, upper-level managers, such as district managers, and those who work on luxury properties could earn even more. The top 10% of hospitality managers earn more than $122,440 per year.

Career paths

Those who pursue a master’s in hospitality management degree are able to choose from a variety of job roles. If you prefer to interact directly with desks, a role as a travel consultant or cruise ship director may be a good fit. Those who prefer to stay behind the scenes may enjoy operations-based jobs, such as a lodging manager or casino manager.

Here are some potential hospitality career paths to explore:

  • Lodging manager – oversee all aspects of hotel operations, including guest services, staff management, property maintenance, and amenities
  • Property manager – handle rent collection, unit maintenance and turnover, and marketing for rental properties
  • Food service manager – coordinate all restaurant operations, including inventory, budgeting, branding, and recipe creation
  • Gaming manager – serve as overall manager for casino operations
  • Travel consultant – assist clients with trip planning, including recommending destinations, creating itineraries, and handling any issues that arise

Lodging Manager

Earning Potential: $61,910 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in Hospitality Management, Business Administration, Operations, or a related field

Lodging managers are responsible for ensuring that all guests have a positive experience at the establishment and that everything runs smoothly. This role includes hiring and training staff, working with outside vendors for laundry and maintenance, and setting and managing budgets. Lodging managers must be available to support staff and have a visible presence for guests to ensure they feel comfortable and taken care of. A large part of this job is also listening to and addressing guests’ concerns and problem-solving when issues arise.

Property Manager

Earning Potential: $60,670 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in Hospitality Management, Business Administration, Accounting, Real Estate, or a related field

Property managers are in charge of all the day-to-day operations of properties. These are often residential rental properties, but property managers can also work in condominiums or commercial properties. This role involves continually inspecting and maintaining buildings, including working with contracted maintenance and landscaping companies. Property managers deal with tenant or owner complaints, are responsible for collecting rent or fees, and must be familiar with state and federal regulations. Financial reporting, marketing, and sales are also important job duties.

Travel Consultant

Earning Potential: $63,680 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in Hospitality Management, Marketing, Sales, or a related field

Travel consultants help others plan vacations, business trips, and other excursions. They work with hotels, airlines, and other service providers in the hospitality industry to provide clients with convenient and affordable travel arrangements. Travel consultants must be able to create itineraries based on the client’s wishes and are the first point of contact if something goes wrong and needs to be fixed while the client is on the trip. Travel consultants must be up-to-date on federal and international travel regulations and be comfortable working with diverse groups and cultures.

Online Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in hospitality degree program?

The first step is to confirm all the application requirements and deadlines with an admissions counselor. Students applying to multiple schools may find it helpful to create a spreadsheet or checklist to track all the materials they need to submit and the dates by which they need to submit them.

Most schools accept applications and supporting materials online, although some may still want hard copies of official transcripts and test scores.

Depending on the school, there may be a hard-and-fast deadline to submit an application, while other schools accept applications and enroll new students on a rolling basis.

How much does an online master’s in hospitality management degree cost?

The specific cost of an online master’s in hospitality management degree will vary based on the type of school a student selects (public universities tend to cost less than private institutions), the additional fees a school charges, and the amount of financial aid a student receives.

For reference, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2020-21 academic year, the average cost of a graduate degree was $12,394 at public universities and $26,621 at private schools.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in hospitality management degree?

Most students generally take two years to complete a master’s in hospitality management degree. The length of time to earn a degree can vary depending on various factors:

  • The number of credits required to earn a degree varies from program to program. Some require learners to complete as little as 30 credits, while others may demand students to complete 40 credits.
  • A student’s rate of progress may also affect the length of time to finish a degree. Students with a full course load of 12 to 15 credits every semester can usually complete a program in two years. However, those enrolled with a lighter class load or who take time off from school could take longer to complete their degree.
  • Assorted programs might require students to complete an internship or other experiential learning experience. This could add time to degree completion, as students would need to find an internship to fit their schedule and academic requirements.

Is an online master’s in hospitality management worth it?

An online master’s in hospitality management prepares you for upper-level management positions and high-responsibility roles, such as overseeing large resorts or multiple properties.

The average salary for a hotel manager with a master’s degree is between $109,357 and $121,555.

An online master’s in hospitality management degree helps you hone your skills and develop an advanced understanding of what it takes to run a successful hospitality business. Courses focus on business operations, managing staff, budgeting and inventory management, and customer service. You’ll have the opportunity to work on projects, complete internships, and network with other students and faculty, which can give you a valuable leg up when it’s time to apply for a job.

Completing a remote degree program also makes it easier to advance your education and prepare to take the next step in your career without having to sacrifice current work or family responsibilities.

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