Online Degrees in Hospitality Management

Article Sources


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The hospitality industry offers you a chance to work in a dynamic, fast-growing environment that offers diverse opportunities for career growth.You should be a person who enjoys being a part of a service industry, and possess excellent interpersonal and customer service skills – which can be learned in a hospitality management program.

Many employers prefer to hire managers with at least some postsecondary schooling. A degree in hospitality management can help you gain important business knowledge and administrative skills needed to advance into management roles within the industry.

High school graduates or hospitality professionals looking to earn an advanced degree while continuing to work full time can find online programs allow a work-life-study balance. Online degree programs in hospitality management offer flexibility that can be perfect for those with family or work commitments.

The leisure and hospitality industry is one of the fastest-growing service industries in the country with 1,319,000 new jobs being added from 2016 to 2026.

Hospitality managers are charged with overseeing the daily operations of businesses throughout the hotel and lodging industry. Not only should they possess great administrative and customer service skills, hospitality managers must rely on their understanding of business concepts to effectively oversee their company's daily operations.

In addition to this, hospitality managers may also take care of the following:

  • Making the bulk of the company's on-site business decisions
  • Managing a hotel's administrative and accounting tasks such as budget preparation, promotional plans, profit and loss operations
  • Coordinating safety and hygiene procedures
  • Organizing and synchronizing the work of different departments and supervising the training of new personnel
  • Collaborating with local authorities, travel companies, and tour operators to make sure guests enjoy a seamless transition
  • Scheduling deliveries of food and beverages and assuring they are checked for quality and quantity

The hospitality industry covers a wide range of different businesses, from hotel and lodging to food service and entertainment. The following chart lists some of the most popular career options in hospitality management, along with wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Average Salary
Projected Job Growth
(2016 - 26)
Business Teachers, Postsecondary84,230$103,33018.1%
Cooks, Restaurant1,340,810$27,58011.8%
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners110,120$53,73010.2%
Chefs and Head Cooks128,600$52,1609.6%
General and Operations Managers2,289,770$123,8809.1%
Food Service Managers219,160$58,9608.8%
Lodging Managers37,050$62,2705.9%
Gaming Managers4,300$85,2602.5%
Gaming Dealers92,530$23,0701.1%
Source: 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Choose a degree that can help you meet your career goals

Online degrees in hospitality management range from associate to Ph.D. programs. Most entry-level jobs in hospitality management come with some level of in-house training, but a college degree can help job seekers start out with ready knowledge. Upper-level management positions often require a master's degree or higher.

As an example, take a look at the education level most lodging managers have:

Lodging Managers
Education Level Required & Percentage of Respondents
Bachelor's degree
Source: 2018 Occupational Information Network (O*NET), U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Read on to find information on online hospitality management programs by degree level. Get a taste of what you can expect to find in the degree of your choice and where it can take you.

Don’t forget to explore online colleges that match the type of degree you’re looking for. You’ll find a sponsored list at the bottom of this page or you can use our degree finder tool to help you zoom in on the college of your choice.

What can I expect to learn?

Hospitality management jobs require employees to possess a workable understanding of business concepts, as well as excellent customer service skills. By completing an online certificate program in hospitality management, you can improve your acumen in both areas.

Typical duration: Less than a year

Typical prerequisites: High school diploma.

Typical coursework: The courses are usually designed keeping in mind emerging trends in the hospitality industry. They should also incorporate standards laid down by the hospitality industry. Some of the courses covered may include:

  • Hospitality analytics for decision making
  • Understanding financial statements
  • Service operations management
  • Introduction to revenue management
  • Risk management in the hospitality industry

Possible electives: Depending on the chosen program, you may have a number of electives to choose from based on your area of interest, such as business communication, and hospitality internship.

What can I do after earning an online certificate in hospitality management?

A certificate in hospitality management can qualify you for most entry-level jobs in hotel, restaurants or travel companies. Students who have completed an online certificate program in hospitality management can be employed as a:

  • Front desk manager
  • Social director
  • Caterer
  • Hospitality supervisor
  • Meeting planner
  • Recreational director
  • Travel director

What can I expect to learn?

The future of the travel experience must be a seamless blend of talent and technology — freeing (and empowering) humans to provide better service experiences, and more meaningful connections.

Subjects in an associate degree program may cover the basic principles of accounting, sales, marketing and management.

Typical duration: Two years

General prerequisites: High school diploma or a certificate in hospitality management

Typical coursework: Designed to build a strong foundation in hotel and management skills, courses may include:

  • Analysis of hospitality Industry
  • Food and beverage management
  • Front office procedures
  • Customer service
  • Hospitality supervision

Possible electives: Depending on the program you choose, your choice of electives may include psychology, sociology, oral communications, mathematics, hospitality foods, international field experience, and principles of ethics.

What can I do after earning an online associate’s degree in hospitality management?

You may choose to go on to complete a bachelor's degree in hospitality management in order to further specialize in an area of interest. Those who would like to start their careers immediately after earning an associate degree may find jobs as a:

  • Gaming dealer
  • Food and beverage manager
  • Golfing facilities manager
  • Event planner

What can I expect to learn?

Most bachelor's degree programs in hospitality management come under the school's department of hospitality and tourism, but you may be able to major in hospitality management with a bachelor of science or a business administration program. Culinary institutes can also offer bachelor programs in hospitality management.

Typical duration: Four years

General prerequisites: High school diploma or GED certificate

Typical coursework: Undergraduate courses can include:

  • Foundations of hotel management
  • Meetings and event management
  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Restaurant management
  • Casino management
  • Tourism management

In addition to core coursework, students are generally required to complete an internship at a hospitality center appointed by the college.

What can I do after earning an online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management?

You may be able to apply for jobs as a:

  • Hotel or restaurant general manager
  • Food service manager
  • Gaming manager
  • Lodging manager
  • Tourism operations manager
  • Meeting, convention, or event planner

What can I expect to learn?

Students who are interested in further expanding their knowledge of the hospitality industry may pursue a master's degree in hospitality management.

Typical duration: Two years

General prerequisites: A bachelor's in hospitality management or related field

Typical coursework: Courses in an online master's degree may include:

  • Strategic business marketing
  • Financial management in hospitality
  • IT in hospitality
  • Managerial economics in hospitality
  • Business statistics and quantitative analysis
  • Hospitality business law and risk management

What can I do after earning an online master’s degree in hospitality management?

Pursuing an advanced hospitality management degree online can help students sharpen their analytical skills and may improve employment prospects, especially in upper-level hotel management jobs and in academia.

Those who would like to advance further may earn a doctoral degree, which is designed to prepare students for a career in academia, a researcher or as a consultant for the hospitality and tourism industry. Doctorate programs usually take three to four years to complete.

Specializations in hospitality management

Students pursuing online hospitality management degrees, particularly those in undergraduate programs, can expect to receive a broad education covering the hospitality industry as a whole. But since the hospitality industry includes such a wide array of businesses, some programs may offer students the chance to specialize in one or more specific areas of the field. Common degree specializations include:

  • Hotel and lodging management
  • Restaurant management
  • Tourism management
  • Casino management
  • Meetings and events management
  • Brand management and guest services
  • Real estate and asset management
  • Business standards

Accrediting bodies for hospitality management programs

Prospective students should consider enrolling in accredited institutes or programs. Prospective employers tend to prefer candidates who have graduated from an accredited school. Major accrediting bodies for hospitality management programs include:

Cross-border investment, large-scale mergers and acquisitions, and technology, such as data analytics, have changed the global landscape for hospitality executives.

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) is a prestigious certifying body that validates professional excellence for over 20 positions in the hospitality industry. AHLEI participates in the American Council on Education's (ACE's) Transcript Services. This transcript service offers a nationally recognized transcript to students who have successfully completed an AHLEI certification program that has been reviewed by ACE Credit. Students planning to take such a course should check with the admissions office of their college of choice to find out whether a course can earn credits toward their degree program. Certifications offered by the AHLEI include:

In addition, the Certified Hotel Asset Manager (CHAM) is offered by the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA), a certifying body consisting of professionals in the hospitality industry.

Employment Statistics

Lodging Managers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Rooming and Boarding Houses
  • RV (Recreational Vehicle) Parks and Recreational Camps
  • Traveler Accommodation
  • Office Administrative Services
  • Gambling Industries
States with highest employment level
  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
  • Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metropolitan Division
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  • Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
  • Bend-Redmond, OR

Food Service Managers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Special Food Services
  • Restaurants and Other Eating Places
  • Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)
  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water
  • Traveler Accommodation
States with highest employment level
  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Metropolitan Division
  • Odessa, TX
  • Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Ocean City, NJ

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Other resources for aspiring hospitality managers

Article Sources
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