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Online Degrees in Hospitality and Culinary Arts

A variety of well-paying occupations can open up to you with a degree in hospitality and culinary arts — an industry with one of the highest job openings (BLS, 2017).

Whether it's for business, a vacation or to catch the next international music festival, people are traveling more than ever. Because the industry has become so competitive, having a degree in hospitality or culinary arts can help widen your career prospects and increase your chances for advancement.

Students aspiring to enter this field may find it more exciting and challenging than ever with hotels, restaurants and travel agencies competing for customer attention, striving to create the ultimate experience for their clients through state-of-the-art services and innovative culinary delights. Many are using technology to enhance customer experience through services such as facial recognition for unlocking doors, automatic check-in apps or the use of AI to keep records of hotel guest preferences. Chefs and sous chefs are learning to blend technology, science and art to create new culinary experiences for their diners.

Government initiatives to boost the hospitality industry are not far behind. Brand USA, a marketing organization which works with the Department of Commerce, is actively working to increase international travel to the United States through multiple campaigns. The Department projects international travel to grow by 2.7 percent by 2022.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the hotel industry can provide "jobs with benefits and offers opportunities that quickly lead to upper management position providing longterm careers with high level of satisfaction." The U.S. Department of Commerce reports 3.4 million jobs in the hotel sector, while food services support nearly 2 million jobs.

Sounds wonderful? If you have good communication and organizational skills you can be a good candidate for jobs in this industry. An online hospitality and culinary art degree program can help you learn the skills needed to advance in this field. High school graduates or working professionals, who don't have the time to attend an on-campus program, can earn a hospitality degree online without having to leave their job or neglect other commitments.

Human Resources Managers
Job DescriptionHuman resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organizations management and its employees.
Mean Annual Salary: $124K
Typical Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
Food Scientists and Technologists
Job DescriptionAgricultural and food scientists research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural establishments and products.
Mean Annual Salary: $72K
Typical Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
Food Service Managers
Job DescriptionFood service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants and other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.
Mean Annual Salary: $57K
Typical Degree Required: High school diploma or equivalent
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
Job DescriptionMeeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.
Mean Annual Salary: $53K
Typical Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
Chefs and Head Cooks
Job DescriptionChefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.
Mean Annual Salary: $50K
Typical Degree Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Hospitality and culinary workers may be equipped on the job, but upscale institutions increasingly require formal preparation from hospitality and culinary arts degree programs. Online hospitality and culinary degree programs are offered at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. These programs often include internships to help students gain hands-on experience and customer service skills. They may also help prepare you for professional certification or potential employment, as well as specializations of your choice.

Take a look at the variety of options you have in fields such as the hotel and lodging industry, recreation, entertainment, or dining and food service. 

Be sure to click on the buttons under each section to get data-driven information on degree programs. This information can serve as a guide as you consider your various degree options.

Take a look at our top college choices, carefully crafted to present prospective online students with the best online college options.

Online Culinary Arts Degrees

While a passion for food is definitely a must, an entrepreneurial spirit coupled with the knowledge you gain may help you start your own restaurant, bakery or even write your own bestselling cookbook. Research from the National Restaurant Association states 8 out of 10 restaurant owners started their careers with entry-level positions in the industry.

Studies show that formally educated professionals in the culinary field are more in demand and receive higher pay than those without. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the demand for chefs and head cooks is going to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations.

Click on the buttons below to learn about the type of jobs you may qualify for, wages you may earn, typical duties you may perform along with coursework you may encounter related to each degree program.

Online Hospitality Degrees

Careers in the hospitality industry often involve working with customers face to face; however, there are plenty of jobs, like managing housekeeping staff, that involve working behind the scenes. Competition in the industry is expected to be tight in the coming years as hotel chains seek to streamline management positions. Event planners are expected to have a faster than average job outlook from 2016 to 2026. The BLS predicts that degree holders are more likely to have an advantage because of their formal education.

Click on the tabs below to learn about the different degree programs related to the hospitality, travel and tourism including hotel and restaurant management. Compare programs by finding out the jobs you may be able to get with each degree along with the kind of salary you may expect, and coursework you may encounter by degree level.

Under each degree level, we've ranked the top 10 accredited colleges offering the best online hospitality management programs and culinary arts degree programs based on criteria that are important to you as an online student. Our ranking criteria include the percentage of students enrolled in distance education, career placement services, funding opportunities and more. You can have a look at our detailed methodology at the bottom of the page.

Top Colleges for Online Associate Degrees in Hospitality and Culinary Arts

Earning an associate degree may allow you to obtain entry-level positions in larger establishments in the hospitality and travel industries, or even managerial positions in smaller hotels and restaurants. However, you may find colleges that allow you to complete them on a part-time study schedule so that you have more time to focus on your other commitments. Associate degree programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete.

1
Albany Technical College(Albany, GA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,136
No. of online programs
27
% of students in distance education
67%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,351
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Chemeketa Community College(Salem, OR)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,825
No. of online programs
22
% of students in distance education
36%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,754
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
Arizona Western College(Yuma, AZ)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$1,968
No. of online programs
2
% of students in distance education
52%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,004
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Casper College(Casper, WY)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,256
No. of online programs
11
% of students in distance education
42%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,191
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Central Texas College(Killeen, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,390
No. of online programs
54
% of students in distance education
55%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,717
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College(Cincinnati, OH)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,567
No. of online programs
25
% of students in distance education
52%
Avg. amount of Aid
$2,943
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Tompkins Cortland Community College(Dryden, NY)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$4,950
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
46%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,334
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Middlesex Community College(Bedford, MA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$576
No. of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
31%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,524
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Somerset Community College(Somerset, KY)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,888
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
68%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,538
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
NHTI-Concord's Community College(Concord, NH)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$6,720
No. of online programs
10
% of students in distance education
28%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,961
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
Top Colleges for Online Bachelor's Degrees in Hospitality and Culinary Arts

With the hospitality industry booming, you can expect that competition for jobs to be stiff. Positions in high-end hotel and restaurant chains or large event management companies may require a minimum of a bachelor's degree even for entry-level jobs. The career outlook can be bright for bachelor's degree holders with employment in the meeting, conventions and events sector projected to grow by 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. Bachelor's degrees typically take full-time students four years to complete.

1
Schiller International University(Largo, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$14,160
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
100%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,944
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
31%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
North Carolina Central University(Durham, NC)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,728
No. of online programs
16
% of students in distance education
43%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,233
Admissions Rate
83%
Graduation Rate
44%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
Fort Hays State University(Hays, KS)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,900
No. of online programs
37
% of students in distance education
81%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,503
Admissions Rate
89%
Graduation Rate
44%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Florida International University(Miami, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$4,721
No. of online programs
45
% of students in distance education
60%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,301
Admissions Rate
54%
Graduation Rate
57%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Northern Arizona University(Flagstaff, AZ)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$9,366
No. of online programs
64
% of students in distance education
42%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,741
Admissions Rate
81%
Graduation Rate
55%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
East Carolina University(Greenville, NC)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$4,452
No. of online programs
55
% of students in distance education
42%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,681
Admissions Rate
79%
Graduation Rate
62%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Robert Morris University(Moon Township, PA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$28,210
No. of online programs
19
% of students in distance education
31%
Avg. amount of Aid
$17,082
Admissions Rate
83%
Graduation Rate
61%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
California State University-East Bay(Hayward, CA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$5,742
No. of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
52%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,994
Admissions Rate
74%
Graduation Rate
42%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
University of Wisconsin-Stout(Menomonie, WI)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$7,014
No. of online programs
15
% of students in distance education
44%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,458
Admissions Rate
87%
Graduation Rate
54%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
University of Massachusetts-Amherst(Amherst, MA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$15,030
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
22%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,159
Admissions Rate
58%
Graduation Rate
77%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
Top Colleges for Online Master's Degrees in Hospitality and Culinary Arts

Online master's hospitality degree programs can give working professionals a hands-on chance to apply their knowledge as they learn and work toward management positions. A master's online culinary arts program can prepare you to run a professional kitchen. Wages can vary depending on your job role, experience and where you live. Online master's degrees can take full-time students approximately between one to two years to complete.

1
University of North Texas(Denton, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$8,103
No. of online programs
19
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,621
Admissions Rate
72%
Graduation Rate
54%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Schiller International University(Largo, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$14,160
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
100%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,944
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
31%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
Florida International University(Miami, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$4,721
No. of online programs
45
% of students in distance education
60%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,301
Admissions Rate
54%
Graduation Rate
57%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
University of Central Florida(Orlando, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$4,478
No. of online programs
45
% of students in distance education
58%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,126
Admissions Rate
50%
Graduation Rate
70%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
California State University-East Bay(Hayward, CA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$5,742
No. of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
52%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,994
Admissions Rate
74%
Graduation Rate
42%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
University of Nevada-Las Vegas(Las Vegas, NV)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$6,899
No. of online programs
8
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,233
Admissions Rate
81%
Graduation Rate
42%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
University of New Orleans(New Orleans, LA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$6,090
No. of online programs
5
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,694
Admissions Rate
57%
Graduation Rate
32%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Monroe College(Bronx, NY)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$13,896
No. of online programs
21
% of students in distance education
23%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,530
Admissions Rate
52%
Graduation Rate
53%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Johnson & Wales University-Providence(Providence, RI)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$31,158
No. of online programs
N/A
% of students in distance education
11%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,854
Admissions Rate
88%
Graduation Rate
63%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
Roosevelt University(Chicago, IL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$28,963
No. of online programs
14
% of students in distance education
33%
Avg. amount of Aid
$13,365
Admissions Rate
70%
Graduation Rate
40%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
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The table below uses data from the BLS to show you the top occupations in the fields of hospitality and culinary studies based on average wages, projected job openings and employment in the field to help you determine which career path can be right for you.

Occupations In-Demand for Hospitality Culinary
Job Openings (2016-26)
Average Salary (2016)
Typical Entry Level Education
Food Scientists and Technologists1,800$71,990Bachelor's degree
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com
Methodology and Sources
Methodology and Sources

Methodology

To be included in our rankings for the top colleges for online degrees in hospitality and culinary arts by degree level all colleges had to meet the following 4 requirements:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16
  • Have reported data for all 19 ranking variables for associate/bachelor’s and 11 ranking variables for master’s (listed below)

We then ranked colleges and universities in the United States that fit our criteria, using 2016-17 data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the weights specified. The final totals were:

  • 25 colleges for online associate degree in hospitality and culinary arts
  • 23 colleges for online bachelor’s degree in hospitality and culinary arts
  • 12 colleges for online master’s degree in hospitality and culinary art

We then scored the final list of colleges by degree level on a 100-point scale using these specific data points:

Associate/Bachelor’s

  1. Associate’s/Bachelor’s Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Ratio of undergraduate students participating fully or partially in Distance Education to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Retention rate
  5. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  6. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
  7. Student-to-faculty ratio
  8. Variety of Programs, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  9. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  10. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Prepaid, Other)
  11. Services (Academic/Career Counseling, Placement for Completers)
  12. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)

Master’s

    1. Master’s Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
    2. Ratio of graduate students participating fully or partially in Distance Education to Total Enrollment
    3. Average in-state tuition for graduates
    4. Credit offerings (Life, Military)
    5. Services (Academic/Career Counseling, Placement for Completers)
    6. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Other)
    7. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media

Methodology Sources

        • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources

      • 5 Technology Trends Impacting the Hospitality Sector, Comcast, 2018, https://cbcommunity.comcast.com/docs/default-source/white-papers/comcast_hospitalitytrends_wp_3.pdf?sfvrsn=4
      • 2018 and Beyond: Hospitality and Foodservice Trends That Benefit the Business Bottom Line, Total Food Service, 2018, https://totalfood.com/2018-beyond-hospitality-and-foodservice-trends-benefit-business-bottom-line/
      • Advocating for Our Guests, Employees and Communities, the Hotel Industry, 2016 Policy Agenda, https://www.ahla.com/sites/default/files/Policy_Guide_2016.pdf
      • Assessing objective and subjective factors of culinary career success: Exploring the influence of industry certifications, Journal of Culinary Science & Technology 14, no. 1 (2016): 36-58, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15428052.2015.1080641
      • Bachelor of Culinary Arts (BA), School of Social and Human Studies, Atlantic International University, https://www.aiu.edu/Bachelor%20of%20Culinary%20Arts.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-and-head-cooks.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Facts at a Glance, News & Research, National Restaurant Association (NRA), https://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Facts-at-a-Glance, accessed October 2018
      • Hospitality and Tourism Management, M.S., University of Central Florida, https://www.ucf.edu/online/degree/hospitality-and-tourism-management-m-s/, accessed October 2018
      • Hospitality Management (PhD), University of Central Florida, https://www.ucf.edu/degree/hospitality-management-phd/, accessed October 2018
      • Leisure and hospitality industry leads in job openings, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, July 2017, https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/leisure-and-hospitality-industry-leads-in-job-openings-rates.htm
      • Lodging Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Looking for a bigger salary? These are the companies with the highest median pay, The Washington Post, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2018/04/26/looking-for-a-bigger-salary-these-are-the-companies-with-the-highest-median-pay/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.94007c7e9d4b
      • Major: Culinary Arts, BigFuture, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/personal-culinary-services-culinary-arts-related-services-culinary-arts, accessed October 2018
      • Mapping the Technology Landscape, News & Research, National Restaurant Association (NRA), https://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Mapping-the-Technology-Landscape, accessed October 2018
      • Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Occupational Wages, Department of Labor, New York State, https://labor.ny.gov/stats/lswage2.asp, accessed October 2018
      • Part-time program for Culinary Arts, Walnut Hill College, http://www.walnuthillcollege.edu/programs-classes/degree-programs/part-time-program-culinary-arts/, accessed October 2018
      • What's the Difference Between Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management?, ECPI University, https://www.ecpi.edu/blog/whats-the-difference-between-culinary-arts-and-hospitality-management, accessed October 2018
      • Why the US Budget Ax Must Spare Brand USA, Forbes, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/edfuller/2017/06/26/why-the-us-budget-ax-must-spare-brand-usa/#32fb6445ba62
      • World Travel and Tourism Council, Travel & Tourism - Global Economic Impact and Issues 2018, 2018, https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/documents-2018/global-economic-impact-and-issues-2018-eng.pdf
      • Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Spotlight, SelectUSA, the Department of Commerce, https://www.selectusa.gov/travel-tourism-and-hospitality-industry-united-states, accessed January 2019
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