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.
What can you do with a degree in hospitality and culinary studies?
Explore Online Degree Programs in Hospitality and Culinary Studies
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.
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.
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.
Top Ten Online Colleges for Hospitality and Culinary Arts 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.
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.
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.
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.
In-Demand Occupations in Hospitality and Culinary Arts
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 Technologists||1,800||$71,990||Bachelor's degree|