Best Online Associate in Hospitality Management Programs

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Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleAssociatein Hospitality Management2017
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An online associate degree in hospitality management can jumpstart your career. The degree often leads to work as a restaurant or hotel manager, an event planner, and more. You’ll learn the leadership and analytical skills needed to succeed.

As of 2015, hospitality management jobs earned an average starting salary of $37,000 per year, according to the NACE. The BLS confirms that salary will increase with experience, as the median annual salary in 2015 was $49,720. The BLS projects a growth rate of 8% over the next ten years. One of the best ways to take advantage of this trend is to earn an online hospitality management degree.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Macomb Community College 71.94 38% Warren, MI

Macomb Community College provides the most associate degree programs among community colleges in Michigan, with offerings in fields ranging from automotive technology and health information technology to nursing and sign language. The hybrid (65% online) associate of business administration in hospitality management prepares students for careers in daily operations of hotels, casinos, restaurants, and similar venues. This program prepares graduates with entry-level management skills in areas such as staffing, reservations and check out, food handling, and operations in the dining room. The curriculum includes courses in computer and information processing, marketing, table service, business law, and lodging management. Credits earned at Macomb are transferable to bachelor's degree programs at four-year institutions across the state. Macomb boasts that it is one of the most affordable community colleges in Michigan, with roughly 80% of students leaving the school without any debt.

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2 Albany Technical College 67.78 41% Albany, GA

Albany Technical College's academic programs blend classroom instruction with hands-on learning in technical sciences, health care, industrial careers, and business sectors. Albany Tech offers 30 fully online degree programs, in addition to opportunities for hybrid learning. Online degree programs are delivered using Blackboard, and include accounting, business management, law enforcement, and operations. The fully online associate of applied science in hotel/restaurant/tourism management is designed to give students the occupational knowledge necessary to start a career in the hospitality business industry. Courses in this 60-credit online hospitality management degree include event planning, hospitality marketing, culinary safety and sanitation, and small business management. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be admitted. ATC offers its students a warranty that "any graduate who does not meet program standards" is re-educated for free. As a result of this commitment, 98% of graduates are employed shortly after graduation.

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3 Chemeketa Community College 62.50 38% Salem, OR

Located in Salem, Oregon, Chemeketa Community College offers courses through its two campuses, five education centers, and online. The college offers associate degree programs in several disciplines including agricultural sciences, arts and communication, business management, and health sciences. Chemeketa also offers 10 degrees and 16 certificate programs online in fields such as accounting, fire protection, and management. Hospital and tourism is the state's fastest growing sector, and the entirely online associate of applied science in hospitality and tourism management is designed to create a pipeline of qualified workers to meet demand. Focus areas for this program include event planning, food and beverages, computer reservations systems, catering, and meetings and conventions. The 92-credit online associate degree in hospitality management prepares students for careers as hotel managers, attractions managers, restaurant managers, and food entrepreneurs in just 10 months. New students may be required to take prerequisite courses before studying the core curriculum.

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4 Casper College 59.44 48% Casper, WY

Casper College is a comprehensive two-year school in Casper, Wyoming. Casper offers 140 associate degree and certificate programs. Eight degrees are delivered fully online, and nearly all of Casper's program includes an online learning component. All online courses are delivered using Moodle. The 60-credit associate of applied science in hospitality management can be completed entirely online and focuses on operations in areas such as food and restaurant, parks and recreation, conference centers, and entrepreneurship. Students are required to complete 17 credits of general education requirements before studying major coursework in front office operations, human resource management, food and beverage management, and customer service. The curriculum also includes an 80-hour co-op where students gain valuable on-the-job experience. The associate degree in hospitality management online takes two years to complete on average, and is a non-transfer degree program.

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5 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 51.67 35% Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College offers about 100 associate and certificate programs on its main campus in Clifton, three satellite campuses, and online. Cincinnati State's catalog includes several degree programs and courses delivered entirely online in fields like business technologies, humanities, engineering, and healthcare. The 62-credit associate of applied business in hospitality management incorporates classroom learning, lab work, and co-op experience to prepare graduates for jobs in hospitality management. The curriculum includes courses in food and beverage, rooms division management, meetings and convention management, and business law. Cincinnati State is recognized for student placement in co-ops, with 2,400 placements each year within a network of 600 local and national employers. The school boasts that 77% of students receive some form of financial aid. Cincinnati State's tuition is one of the lowest in the state, and students in some neighboring counties in Indiana and Kentucky may pay in-state tuition.

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Time to Complete
Two years
Credit Hours
32-46 credits
Program Costs
$3,722 – $11,184 per year
Core Courses
Principles of Management, Food and Beverage Management, Intro to Marketing, Public Speaking, Intro to Hotel Management Industry
Food and Beverage Management, Event Management, Lodging Management
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business


If you enjoy working directly with customers while also managing other employees, ensuring that customers of your business are taken care of, and are willing to work flexible hours, then hospitality management jobs will be a good fit. Hospitality management careers range from event planning to managing, or even working as a tour guide.

Lodging Manager: Lodging managers take responsibility for the quality of their guests’ vacation experiences at hotels, motels, and other lodging businesses. In addition to attending to guests, lodging managers must also lead employees and ensure the business stays profitable. Lodging managers must be willing to work flexible hours and constantly be on call, as their hotels will likely be open 24 hours.

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners: Meeting, convention, and event planners are responsible for all aspects of events and professional meetings. They must take charge of meeting space, transportation, logistics, locations, and even food. A number of their work hours will take place during the meetings themselves, and the job requires a lot of travel, as planners must scout potential meeting locations beforehand.

Food Service Managers: Food service managers are in charge of all aspects of running a place that serves food. They manage employees to make sure that patrons have a satisfactory dining experience, and they also run the business side of the operation to make sure that their restaurant is profitable. Food service managers must be willing to work flexible hours, including nights, holidays, and weekends.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Lodging manager $49,720 8%
Meetings, convention, and event planner $46,840 10%
Food service manager $48,690 5%


The appeal of pursuing an online associate degree in hospitality management is that there are many jobs available and graduates quickly gain experience. Higher levels of hospitality management are available, and many companies who employ students that have associate degrees in hospitality management will foot the bill for their employee’s continuing education.

Cornell University — BS in Hotel Administration: Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration was the first of its kind in the country, offering the first-ever undergraduate hospitality management program. The school’s on-campus hotel, Statler Hotel, allows students to gain hands-on experience before graduating.

Michigan State University — BA in Hospitality Business: Michigan State University’s hospitality management program offers a number of features, including an 80-employer job fair, study abroad opportunities, and hands-on practice at Les Gourmets and Vegas Night. Bachelor’s students also gain access to a worldwide network of internships.

University of Nevada at Las Vegas — BA in Hospitality Management: Bachelor’s students in hospitality management at UNLV have hands-on access to Las Vegas, a hotel and tourist Mecca that constitutes one of the hospitality hubs in the world. Students in the program must complete 1,000 work hours in the industry to earn their degrees, and UNLV offers realistic work settings (restaurant, kitchen, and gaming “laboratories”) for practice.


Location is important here, as places that see more tourists tend to pay higher salaries to hospitality management majors. The next table shows which states are the highest-paying for hospitality industry workers.

Top Paying States for Hospitality Management Average Annual Salary
Florida $63,860
California $62,720
Pennsylvania $53,120
Texas $52,800
Illinois $48,470


Professional organizations can be of great service to new hospitality management graduates. Local organizations, like Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, provide access to networking events and resources that are great for professionals who want to work in that area. Below are a few examples of large, nationwide associations.

American Hotel and Lodging Association: The AHLA provides resources, support, and advocates for hospitality professionals and the hospitality industry.

National Restaurant Association: Focusing specifically on restaurants, this organization partners with over 500,000 restaurant businesses and advocates for their interests ( financial and regulatory).

National Tour Association: The NTA provides member organizations with resources, research, and market data so that they can take advantage of a number of business opportunities.

Students earning an online associate degree in hospitality management should fill out a FAFSA form. There are also a number of industry-specific scholarships available, usually related specifically to tourism, hotels, or food and beverage. All prospective hospitality management students already working in the field should ask their employer to pay for their education, as many organizations need good managers and will chip in for their employee’s educations.


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