Getting your Hospitality Management degree online might be for you if you get energized by the thought of travel and new experiences. This field may also be a perfect match if you thrive on organization and attention to detail.
Types of Hospitality Management Degree Programs
Is the goal to have a career that takes you around the world? Hospitality Management may be the degree path for you.
Of course, you might prefer to create amazing experiences for people right where you live. The hospitality industry has plenty of room for both goals.
You’ll need to decide the degree type you want to obtain before you can start building a path to your career in hospitality. Yes, it’s crucial to get that degree if you’re going to be competitive against other applicants for plum positions with room for growth in the hospitality industry.
The truth is that the most prestigious hospitality brands typically require some sort of educational background related to hospitality management. What’s more, a degree is going to help train you to really understand the robust, challenging industry you’re about to enter.
Let’s break down the different options on the table for degrees:
An Associate’s in Hospitality Management can help equip you for entry-level to mid-level positions. This is a two-year program that may qualify you to handle things like front-desk operations, guest accommodations, booking, marketing, and all of the other necessary tasks behind serving guests and clients.
A Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management is a four-year degree that is meant to prime you for management roles within hospitality companies. You may find yourself in charge of things like guest relations, event planning, or general operations after graduating with this degree.
A Master’s in Hospitality Management helps prime you to become a facility or brand manager. Obtaining this degree demonstrates high levels of ambition and competence. You are being trained to be the go-to person regarding everything involved in the operation of a business that serves guests.
An on-campus or online master’s in hospitality management degree may open up opportunities to become a regional or national manager for a hotel chain or resort brand. The sky is the limit after that when it comes to roles as CEO or president.
A degree may really be the launching point for a successful, long career in the hospitality industry. One of the things that attract many people to this major is that you might end up anywhere! Many resorts and hospitality brands need skilled, qualified employees to work in locations around the globe.
In fact, a passport is often the most essential document to obtain after getting your diploma!
Of course, travel isn’t required by default. There is always the possibility that you may simply enjoy a very stable and predictable role doing some behind-the-scenes work from a corporate office.
There is also the possibility that you may rotate around the globe for long stints to help a hotel chain open and manage new locations.
Concentrations for a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management
A bachelor’s program for hospitality management typically offers you the option to choose a specialty that focuses on your strengths or interests.
Some people are drawn to roles that require organization and planning. Others like the idea of working directly with customers to create world-class experiences. Of course, many are drawn to the fact that they may be able to accept jobs in glitzy cities or slivers of paradise throughout their careers.
Here’s a look at the three specialties that many students choose when obtaining degrees focused on hospitality.
A focus on casino management can help make you uniquely qualified to manage the logistical and financial challenges of running a high-volume, high-profile casino. The fact of the matter is that casinos are always in need of qualified, responsible people to manage operations.
Just how big is in the casino industry at the moment? The American Gambling Association’s most recent survey shows that more than $41.7 billion is generated in gambling revenue annually. Your role may be to keep attracting visitors, satisfy existing visitors, and sustain profitability.
You can expect to learn about marketing, employee relations, safety, and revenue generation as you pursue this exciting degree specialty. You may walk away from the time spent earning your degree with a scarce and specific set of skills.
A restaurant management specialty can help equip you to manage the service side and the financial side of running a place people enjoy and respect. This specialty focuses on delivering a fantastic experience for customers while also managing a restaurant staff.
Opportunities may exist for graduates to manage a restaurant or provide support via the corporate side. Additionally, you may want to consider this degree if you intend to open your own restaurant. Your restaurant will likely be competing against larger chains that are staffed with people who have degrees in Hospitality Management.
Travel and Tourism Management
A concentration in travel and tourism management may provide a great way to channel your wanderlust into an amazing career. This specialty focuses on how to ace every aspect of running a hotel, resort, or tourism brand.
A big part of your education will revolve around mastering customer relations and loyalty. You’re also going to dive into the practical and logistical aspects of serving customers safely and effectively.
Don’t forget that things like employee management, OSHA compliance, and marketing are all going to shape your degree experience.
Common Courses for a Hospitality Management Degree
The course list for a Hospitality Management degree can be every bit as exciting, fast-paced, and multifaceted as this industry! Here’s a rundown of some of the common courses you can expect to complete:
- Fundamentals of Hospitality and Tourism introduces you to the administrative and practical aspects of serving clients. Topics to be covered include hotels, expositions, conventions, and cruises. This course provides an overview of all that goes into creating incredible experiences for customers while building a lasting brand.
- Hospitality Law covers legal considerations regarding things like insurance, liquor licenses, and labor. You’ll also learn how hospitality brands are expected to collaborate with government agencies to keep the public safe.
- Property Management will introduce you to the basics of the physical aspects of running a hotel, resort, or restaurant. This includes topics like space planning, space regulations, real estate, project development, asset management, and lease contracts.
- Tourism and Hospitality Marketing will cover the unique approach that’s required when marketing to travelers. In addition, you’ll be introduced to trends in tourism and hospitality. Most itineraries also include how to compete through promotions and customer analysis.
Many students bulk up their course loads by adding other business and marketing classes into the mix. Business and marketing are generally good fits for Hospitality Management majors because so much of this industry depends on being business savvy and understanding trends.
Don’t forget that throwing in a foreign language can be smart if your aim is to work in a specific region of the world after graduation.
What Kind of Jobs Can You Get with a Hospitality Management Degree?
A Hospitality Management degree can help set you up to work for major global brands. This includes hotel chains, resorts, airlines, cruise operators, casinos, concert venues, and restaurants.
You may decide to pursue a concierge or front-desk role at a hotel or resort to begin your career in the hospitality industry. In addition, many event planners for large venues graduate from hospitality programs.
Those looking to work for larger resort and hospitality brands may look forward to roles as managers of customer relations, customer experience, or customer loyalty.
Many people who graduate with degrees in Hospitality Management go on to become hotel managers, venue managers, and operations managers. Opportunities may also exist to become a director of housekeeping, executive casino host, food and beverage director, or marketing manager.
Hospitality Management Degree Salary
Most careers in the hospitality industry pay richly when it comes to experiences. However, working for some of the world’s largest hotel and resort brands may also come with some very nice financial perks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the hospitality management field include:
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Food Service Manager||$56,590|
|Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner||$51,560|
Working for a large hospitality brand often means bonuses and generous employee perks. In addition, most brands throw in vouchers for free travel for employees and their families.
Accreditation for a Degree in Hospitality Management
Something that you’re going to bump into as you explore degree programs for Hospitality Management is the topic of regional accreditation. Regional accreditation means that a school has passed a strict evaluation that goes beyond federal accreditation.
It’s not necessary to attend a school with this distinction. However, regional accreditation does give a program more clout and extra opportunities for transferring credits.
Hospitality students actually have an extra accreditation to look into when choosing schools. The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) signifies that a school’s degree program has met strict standards.
The ACPHA is an organization that evaluates and offers accreditation to both two-year and four-year degree programs in Hospitality Management. Accreditation is a signal that a school meets the highest standards.
Always be sure to ask about ACPHA accreditation when looking into schools that offer Hospitality Management as a major.
Financial Aid for an Online Hospitality Management Degree
The financial aid available for a Hospitality Management program is essentially the same as what’s available for comparable two-year and four-year programs. Your roster of options includes federal grants, federal loans, work-study programs, and state-level aid.
Start your search by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Be sure to explore options for both student loans and tuition assistance. Some private companies in the hospitality industry actually offer exclusive scholarships for students pursuing degrees in Hospitality Management.
The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students is one of the more generous scholarships out there for students enrolled in four-year programs.
The American Express Scholarship is an option that’s specifically designed for people who are pursuing degrees in Hospitality Management while already working in the field.
Can You Get a Hospitality Degree Online?
Yes, you can get a Hospitality degree online. Enrolling in a program that offers courses in Hospitality Management online may allow you to complete your studies at a pace that’s reasonable based on your finances and work schedule.
Students often have the option to enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. The goal is to find a program that matches the specialty you’re looking to pursue.
In addition, students that want to finish their degree quicker than the average student might pursue an accelerated hospitality management degree program online.
Where Can I Get a Hospitality Management Degree?
Many schools throughout the country offer Hospitality Management degrees at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Take a look at a list of the best programs in the country if you’re serious about pursuing a degree that may open up the world of hotels, casinos, restaurants, and cruise ships to you on a professional level.
What Is the Best School for Hospitality Management?
There are a few characteristics to look for when selecting a school with a Hospitality Management program. Regional and ACPHA accreditations are positive signs that you’re looking at a very competitive program.
Another good sign is that a course load for a Hospitality Management degree covers a wide range of topics. A program should be well-rounded enough to include business, marketing, cost, safety, and law.
There should also be some room to add in electives or credits that allow you to dive deeper into topics like marketing or labor relations if you think that’s what will strengthen your hiring potential in the specific niche you’re eyeing.
Universities Offering Hospitality Management Degrees Online
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
The American Public University System dates back to 1991, and it specializes in long-distance education. They are based in Charles Town, West Virginia, but their 46,420 students hail from across the country.
Their Hospitality Management program focuses on providing the hands-on knowledge needed to ensure a hospitality company is profitable and sustainable. This includes coursework in marketing, labor law, and health and safety practices.
- BA in Hospitality Management
APUS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Charleston Southern University is a Southern Baptist College that dates back to 1964. They are based in Charleston, South Carolina, and have over 3,700 students. Their Hospitality and Tourism Management program is offered as a Bachelor of Science, and as such, it offers a special emphasis on economics, strategic planning, and business science. It is designed to take 4 years.
- BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management
Charleston Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
DeVry University, which dates back to 1931, specializes in adult and long-distance education for its 17,000 students. Their Bachelor’s Degree specialization in Hospitality Management is designed to round out a degree in technical management or business administration. It adds proactive courses on staffing, event planning, and labor law. These programs can be completed in as little as 2 years and 8 months.
- Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management
DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
East Carolina University is based in Greenville, North Carolina. They date back to 1907 and have grown their student body to well over 25,000 students. Their wide business catalog includes Hospitality management degrees at a Bachelor’s level. They offer specializations in Lodging management, event and convention planning, and food and beverage management.
- BS in Hospitality Management – Convention and Special Events Management
- BS in Hospitality Management – Food and Beverage Management
- BS in Hospitality Management – Lodging Management
East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Sometimes colloquially known as “Eastern,” ENMU was established in 1927 in Portales, New Mexico. Their College of Business offers both standalone B.B.A. in Hospitality Management, as well as specialization coursework for their General Bachelor of Business Administration Students. Both options can be completed in 4 years and include courses on hotel management, casino management, and event planning.
- BBA in Hospitality Management
Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1966 in Norfolk, Virginia, ECPI University specializes in long-distance education for working adult and military servicemen. They have eight different campuses across Virginia and offer a variety of fully-online programs. Their Hospitality Management programs place a strong emphasis on the Culinary Arts and the Food or Beverage industries.
- BSBA in Hospitality Management
ECPI University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Sometimes known as FAU, Florida Atlantic University is located in Boca Raton, just south of Palm Beach. This sunny setting serves as the backdrop for this relatively new public university and its 850-acre urban campus. They were established in 1961 to serve as a postgraduate institution, although they now offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
- BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management
FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida International University provides on-site education to over 58,000 students from over 119 countries. Their Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management offers a Bachelor of Science program that encompasses 120 credits and 4 different specializations in Beverage Management, Restaurant Management, Hotel Management, and Tourism. All of these programs can include event planning electives or concentrations.
- BS in Hospitality Management
Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Fort Hays State University is based in the town on Hays, Kansas, and serves over 15,000 students in their main campus. Their Hospitality Management program is given as a Bachelor of Science, and it is part of their Applied Business Studies Department. It requires completion of 120 credit hours, which encompasses general education in economics, 25 credits in business core courses, and additional major-specific electives.
- BS in Tourism and Hospitality Management
Fort Hays State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Granite State College is located in New Hampshire, where they possess seven suburban campuses around the city of Concord. They date back to 1972 and have grown to encompass seven academic departments. They focus on allowing a large number of credit transfers, to better serve adult learners with previous incomplete degrees.
- BS in Service and Hospitality Management
Granite State College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christian College located in Marion, Indiana. They now have over 10,000 students, of which more than half are enrolled outside their main campus.
Their program encompasses the completion of 120 credit hours, which encompass both core business courses and general Liberal Arts coursework. Besides, specific modules devoted to International Business, Business Ethics, and Human Resource Management are included.
- BS in Management
Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited as a whole by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Johnson & Wales University is located in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1914 and now includes 6 different specialized colleges
Their Business Management section offers three different programs focused on Hospitality Management, with specific focuses on residential facilities, tour operations, and general hospitality. These are all provided at a Bachelor’s level and require completion of 120 credits that can be completed in 2 years.
- BS in Hospitality Management
- BS in Residential Hospitality Management
- BS in Tourism & Hospitality Management
JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Located in Southeast Michigan, Madonna University is a Roman Catholic University that was established in 1937. Their facilities, however, are open to students of all faiths and offer a deep ethical foundation for all their majors.
They offer Hospitality Management programs as a standalone Bachelor’s degree or as a minor within their College of Business. Either can be adapted to include specific courses on the country and private club management, resort management, or food and beverage company practices.
- BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management
Madonna University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Missouri State University was founded in 1905 and is a public university based in Springfield, Missouri. It is the second-largest university by enrolment in Missouri, with an enrollment of around 23,500 students. Missouri State University has been classified as a “Doctoral/Professional” university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
- BAS in Hospitality Leadership
Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Monroe College was originally established as a School of Business in 1933. They now have two main campuses in New York and on the Caribbean Island of St Lucia. They offer on-site, long-distance, and extension programs devoted to Hospitality Management, and place a special emphasis on the resort and residential facility industries. Their international setting offers its students unique internship opportunities.
- Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management
Monroe College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ohio University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Management. The program uses a flexible format to help students fit their studies into their schedules. Coursework includes Food Sanitation and Safety, Accounting Principles for Hospitality Operations, Marketing Principles, and more.
- Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management
Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
SUNY Delhi offers an online program for a BBA in Hotel and Restaurant Management. The program features small class sizes and experiential learning. The program offers internship opportunities to give students the chance to gain in-person experience while being able to complete all academic work online. Courses include Menu Planning and Controls, Hospitality Marketing, Managerial Accounting, and more.
- BBA in Hotel and Restaurant Management
SUNY Delhi is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Troy University is located in the city of the same name, in Alabama. It was founded as a Normal School in 1887. Nowadays, their recently furnished college town campus serves over 18,000 students, both residential and online.
Their Bachelor’s program in Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management offers a solid balance of coursework. This is meant to allow students to have a working knowledge of all different branches in the industry, and open the gates for further specialization.
- Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management – Hospitality Management
Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama is based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They serve over 38,000 students, most of them from within the state of Alabama. Their comprehensive Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management is highly noted, as it includes 120 credit hours of academic work in addition to a minimum internship of 500 hours.
- BS in Hospitality Management
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Central Florida serves over 60,000 students in its main campus, which is located in Orlando, Florida. These students hail from over 150 different countries, many of them attracted by its ranking as one of the most innovative schools by U.S. News & World Report. They offer an extensive catalog of online business degrees, including a B. Sc. in Hospitality Management.
- BS in Hospitality Management
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst was established in 1863. It had already risen to one of the top Public Universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report before opening its online extension campus. This has allowed them to expand their course offerings around the globe.
Their Hospitality and Tourism Management is part of this offer: it trains working adults to rise through the ranks of the hotel, restaurant, and research industries.
- BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The University of South Carolina enjoys over 200 years of prestige and a historic campus in the city of Columbia, South Carolina. They also run seven satellite campuses across the state and an online campus. Their School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management offers a Bachelor of Science that encompasses four different concentrations. They are also one of the few programs in the country that offer Master Sommelier training.
- BS in Hospitality Management
The University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of the Southwest is located in Hobbs, New Mexico. This is a Christian university that specializes in online programs with a strong practical slant.
They offer a B.B.A program in Hospitality Management that emphasizes hands-on business practices, such as accounting, marketing, and trade-show organization. Their goal is to ensure all graduates are workplace-ready for an administrative position and are ready to climb into management.
- BBA in Hospitality Management
The University of the Southwest is an accredited member of the Higher Learning Commission.
Originally founded as the University of Deseret, in 1850, the now-renowned University of Utah serves over 32,000 students in their Salt Lake City campus. Their B.S. degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism requires the standard 120 credit hours and can be completed entirely online.
Their unique curriculum places a strong emphasis on the management of large estates and provides a solid foundation for future Country Club or resort managers.
- BS in Parks, Recreation and Tourism – Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Management
The University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Washington State University is based in Pullman, Washington State. However, their Global Campus serves students from all over the world. Their B.A. in Hospitality Business Management is one of the most successful programs in their online catalog and offers a combination of industry-specific skills with personal development and leadership mentorship.
- BA in Hospitality Business Management
Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management Worth It?
Yes, a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 5% job growth in management occupations for the next 10 years. Common careers in this field include housekeeping supervisor, hotel manager, food service manager, and gaming manager.
It can be easy to think of Hospitality Management as a “fun” major. However, the reality is that the hotel industry alone adds $218 billion in revenue to the United States economy each year. That means you’re obtaining a degree that does some serious business.
The hospitality industry is growing more than anyone saw coming. There were 353,000 job openings in the hospitality industry in the United States in 2009. That number stands at more than 900,000 today.
What’s the final word on a Hospitality Management degree? You may be the person with the job that everyone else wishes they could have. A life-work balance consisting of travel opportunities, challenging tasks, and amazing experiences might be just ahead once you apply to programs.
I hope you find this article helpful.