Best Online Hospitality Management Programs

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Hospitality management is an academic field that explores operational and administrative strategies for hotels, lodges, restaurants, country clubs, amusement parks, and other tourist-friendly establishments. Like other areas of management, hospitality managers work to reduce costs, maximize profits, and create sustainable business plans. Students who major in hospitality management also learn how to accommodate a range of clients and create a positive experience for guests. Potential concentration areas include logistics, supply chain management, marketing, communications, and leadership.

Although most occupations in the hospitality industry do not require a formal education, business and management positions in the field often require a bachelor’s degree. Today, many students who are interested in hospitality management are choosing to earn their degree online, rather than in a classroom. The flexible, web-based format is particularly convenient for students who must balance their coursework with other responsibilities, such childcare or a part-time job.

Read on to learn more about what you will learn in a hospitality management program, and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to once you have your degree.

WILL AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online programs in hospitality management cover the fundamentals of business finance and guest services. Working in hospitality can also be hectic at times, and students are taught how to solve problems quickly in high-pressure situations. Hospitality management majors can also pursue an internship, where they receive supervised training from established professionals.

WILL AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online bachelor’s in hospitality management programs offer a convenient alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Most programs are taught asynchronously, which allows students to access course materials, submit written assignments, and take exams on their own schedule. Current e-learning technology also allows them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any other device with Wi-Fi capabilities. For additional convenience, most online programs allow students to arrange internships at sites near their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR’S IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT?

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management are eligible for supervisory roles in the industry, along with specialized occupations in event planning, guest assistance, catering, and caretaking. Additionally, many students jumpstart their job-search while still in school; since many hospitality chains strive to promote from within, students who work part-time in low-level positions (such as a front desk agent or a housekeeper) are often able to graduate with valuable industry experience.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your professional interests. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online hospitality management programs in the United States. If you are considering going back to school for a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, and you value the flexibility inherent in the online format, be sure to take a look at these top colleges.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Florida International University 71.97 3/5 49% Miami, FL

FIU offers an online BS in hospitality management with six available concentrations: beverage management, culinary management, hotel/lodging management, restaurant/food service management, event management, and travel and tourism management. Students must complete 120 credits in a combination of core, concentration, and elective courses. Courses are accessible through the Blackboard platform, along with a variety of support resources for online students, including academic advising, virtual tutoring options, and comprehensive tech support. The in-house J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Career Development Program assists students and alumni by providing guidance and resources for the achievement of career goals. Each student is paired with a success coach throughout their time in school. Online students must complete an advanced internship and senior seminar in addition to their classes. The integral elements of the School’s rise to prominence include industry-experienced, world-renowned faculty, unique location, quality curriculum, outstanding state-of-the-art instructional facilities and online educational resources, exceptional laboratories, and an unsurpassed network of support for students and graduates.

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2 East Carolina University 69.74 3/5 58% Greenville, NC

East Carolina offers a hospitality management degree online with three optional concentrations: food and beverage management, lodging management, and conventions and special events management. The 45-hour program combines core and concentration courses in hospitality with a minor in business administration. Students are also required to complete a lab course or field experience within their respective concentration. Courses are facilitated through the Blackboard and Centra online learning platforms. Support services include interactive chat groups, career counseling, and academic advising, along with a dedicated self-help center staffed by student service specialists. Students may take BS/MBA classes in an accelerated format, which offers students the opportunity to graduate with both degrees in only five years.

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3 University of South Carolina-Columbia 66.05 3/5 72% Columbia, SC

South Carolina offers a hospitality management online degree, and the program provides aspiring hospitality managers a broad education in hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. The program is comprised of core and required courses, including practicum and internship experiences. Applicants must have completed 45-60 hours of college-level coursework in a comparable major. Courses are accessible through Blackboard. Online student support resources include career counseling, academic coaching, peer tutoring, and more. The 120-credit program can be completed in two years by full-time students.

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4 University of Missouri-Columbia 63.55 3/5 71% Columbia, MO

Missouri offers an online bachelor's degree in hospitality management with an emphasis in food and beverage management. The program is ideal for students with previous experience in culinary training within a university, vocational, or military setting. Courses are accessible through Blackboard. The student portal provides support for online students through academic advising opportunities, new student orientation courses, and access to the Ellis Library database. Coursework explores broad topics in this specialization of hospitality management, from operations and catering to commercial food production and hospitality law. Thirty-three of the 53 course credits required to complete the degree may be taken online; distance classes are taught in eight-week sessions. Students finish their degree with a capstone project.

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5 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 61.32 3/5 70% Amherst, MA

UMass offers a BS in hospitality and tourism management, with a focus on experiential learning and practical training in the field. Hospitality management online courses cover general education, business, and hospitality and tourism. Optional electives include beverage management, special event management, gaming, social policy, and more. Courses are facilitated through the Blackboard platform, and students can access a variety of online learning resources, including interactive chat forums, tech support, and academic tutoring opportunities. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA).

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6 University of Wisconsin-Stout 59.61 3/5 52% Menomonie, WI

Wisconsin-Stout offers a BS in hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. Students can take their hospitality management courses online, and classes provide a well-rounded overview of the field. Distance learners can create their own focus area by choosing professional "selective" courses from racial and ethnic studies and global perspectives categories. Online support resources include virtual tutoring services, career counseling, online orientation sessions, and more. The program encompasses 120 credit hours, including general education, major, and professional selective courses. Required general education courses include labs, a seminar, an internship experience, and a culminating capstone project.

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7 Concordia University-Saint Paul 57.76 3/5 47% Saint Paul, MN

Concordia offers a hospitality management degree online. The program helps distance learners develop strong customer service, management, and marketing skills. The program is offered entirely online; classes are taught in seven-week increments and can be accessed through Blackboard. Concordia's student portal provides support for online students through a variety of resources, including tech assistance, electronic library databases, and online bill-pay options. Courses in the 40-credit program explore accounting and finance, business strategy, new media literacy, and social media. The university offers a competitive, per-credit tuition rate that won't change throughout your time in school.

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8 Northern Arizona University 58.95 3/5 49% Flagstaff, AZ

NAU offers a BS in international hospitality management. As part of the program, students spend one term studying abroad, where they learn about the global application of hospitality and management skills. Distance learners in NAU's hospitality management online degree must complete 120 total credit hours. Courses are accessible through Blackboard. NAU offers a variety of student support resources, including a virtual library, bookstore access, online tutoring options, and career advising services. Applicants must demonstrate their proficiency in a foreign language in accordance with their study-abroad destination. Additionally, students are required to complete a fieldwork experience and an internship course.

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9 Fort Hays State University 56.71 3/5 41% Hays, KS

Fort Hays State offers an online hospitality management degree. Students in the program can pursue one of three concentrations: hospitality operations, events management, and health and wellness tourism operations. Distance learners must complete 120 credit hours in general education, core, major, and elective requirements. All students have access to a range of support services, including academic tutoring and a full-service career center. The curriculum covers applied business practices in local, national, and global hospitality fields. Students are required to complete an internship in order to graduate. The university also offers unique mentoring and alumni networking opportunities for undergraduates.

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10 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus 52.63 3/5 29% Portales, NM

ENMU offers an online BBA with a concentration in hospitality management. The program comprises 120 credits in business core, international studies, hospitality management, and elective courses. Courses are delivered through Blackboard. The school offers support to online students through a variety of resources, including electronic library access, virtual counseling, and an online writing center. Students must complete a business strategy and policy capstone course during their last semester in order to graduate. Students can transfer previously earned credits in from other schools and complete the degree in an accelerated format.

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11 Washington State University 53.95 3/5 67% Pullman, WA

WSU offers a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, and distance learners can take hospitality management courses online. Classes cover business, hospitality business management, and elective topics. The degree offers unique experiential learning requirements -- students must earn 1,000 hours in the hospitality industry and complete an international experience which involves a study-abroad or global internship course for immersive study of foreign hospitality operations. Students take courses part-time, and these classes are taught in durations lasting between seven and 16 weeks, depending on the class. Courses are offered during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students complete their online assignments in Blackboard. WSU's distance learning resources include a one-stop student portal for tech support, writing labs, career counseling, and more.

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12 Saint Leo University 50.39 3/5 43% Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo offers an online bachelor of arts in international tourism and hospitality management. Courses cover a variety of pertinent topics, and all online materials are accessible through the Saint Leo student portal. The portal also provides students access to various support tools, including Smarthinking tutoring services, LeoCat library catalogs, and student message boards. The 120-credit program involves a unique sequence of general education courses, including institutional core and "common body of knowledge" topics. Students must complete an internship and a mandatory senior seminar. The remainder of required courses are taken within the student's specialization; they may also choose two electives from outside of their concentration area to complete the degree.

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13 California State University - East Bay 47.75 3/5 41% Hayward, CA

CSU East Bay offers an online BS in hospitality and tourism, preparing graduates for careers in restaurants, lodging companies, and events management industries. The online hospitality management degree is designed to provide students with a broad introduction to promotion, leadership, and management skills. Courses are accessible through the Blackboard platform, with extensive online tools provided through academic affairs for distance learning. Support resources available to distance learners include tech support, multimedia tutorial materials, Webinars, and Webcasts. The program comprises prerequisites, as well as core, major, and elective courses. Students must also complete an internship and field placement course.

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14 Siena Heights University 46.71 3/5 43% Adrian, MI

Siena Heights University offers an online BA in multidisciplinary studies, with an option to integrate hospitality management coursework into the curriculum. The 120-credit program can be customized to include hospitality management online courses as well as a variety of classes from other disciplines. Courses are eight weeks long and run in a 10-course sequence over 20 months. The program encompasses general electives, liberal arts, and other major courses across a variety of other disciplines.

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15 Granite State College 46.84 3/5 50% Concord, NH

Granite State offers an online BS in service and hospitality management online. The program emphasizes a variety of business and commercial competencies, including problem-solving, communication, and leadership. Courses are accessible through Moodle. Granite State's online learning division offers a variety of student support resources, including IT support, academic counseling, career planning services, and more. Classes cover foundational marketing and management topics, and students must also take an integrative applied studies course. Distance learners must satisfy a combination of general education, major, and open elective courses to graduate. The school offers the same competitive tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state hospitality management students.

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16 North Carolina Central University 43.95 3/5 43% Durham, NC

NC Central offers an online hospitality management degree with a focus in broad concepts that span a variety of specialization areas in tourism and hospitality. The BS in hospitality and tourism administration encompasses 128 credits in core business classes, community service, and practical work experience. Classes are accessible through Blackboard. The myEOL student portal offers support through online tutoring, exam proctoring, and a virtual writing lab. Optional electives within the major explore event management, catering, entrepreneurship, and more. Students must complete annual seminar courses and internship experiences, and must work during the summer throughout their time in school.

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17 Robert Morris University 44.17 4/5 54% Moon Township, PA

Robert Morris offers a hospitality management degree online. Students can view online lectures and attendant materials through the Blackboard learning management system, along with a range of student support services. These include dedicated online student services representatives, career coaches, and academic advisors. The 120-credit program includes business and general education classes, and all students must also complete a strategic management capstone course.

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18 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi 43.42 3/5 57% Delhi, NY

SUNY College of Technology's bachelor of business administration in hospitality management includes a focus in hotel and resort management and an emphasis in managerial leadership. As with all programs at the school, coursework integrates theory and the practical application of business and management skills with progressive liberal arts concepts. Courses are accessible through the Vancko Hall platform, which also provides students with various support tools, including academic advising, writing tutors, financial counseling, and more. Coursework covers operations, management, and marketing topics. Students must complete a hospitality management seminar and strategic management capstone course, in addition to at least two upper-level electives. Students may transfer up to 62 external credits into the program.

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19 University of the Southwest 39.74 3/5 22% Hobbs, NM

University of the Southwest offers a bachelor of business administration with an emphasis in hospitality management degree online, and the program prepares students for a career within management or administration in hospitality services. The program requires students to complete 120 credits in core, major, emphasis, and elective courses. Courses are accessible through Blackboard, and additional resources are available through the eStudent portal. Support tools for distance learners include career advising, short-term counseling, and online training and test-proctoring services. In addition to core classes, students must take courses in religion, servant leadership, and computer courses. Regardless of their geographic location, in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.

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20 Lynn University 32.76 5/5 40% Boca Raton, FL

Lynn University offers an online bachelor of science in hospitality management. Courses are accessible through the exclusive myLynn portal. The LU Service Desk offers support through electronic library services, career counseling and financial aid advising. The curriculum covers a variety of core competencies and integrates hands-on training and field experience in your area of preference in the industry. The 120-credit program prepares graduates for careers in hotels, resorts, restaurants, theme parks, cruise ships, and more. Full-time students enroll in six credit hours per term; each term lasts seven or eight weeks.

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Timeline
4 to 5 years
Program Costs
$25,000 to $35,000 for full tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Tourism, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Communications, Organizational Leadership
Accreditation
There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.
Additional Considerations
In some cases, ‘hospitality management’ will only be available as a concentration or specialization for general business or business administration majors.

Job Placement

According to a 2014 survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), job placement rates for hospitality management degree-holders have improved in recent years. In 2009-10, the unemployment rate for hospitality management bachelor’s degree-holders with work experience was 5.7%, while inexperienced bachelor’s graduates faced a 9.1% unemployment rate. Two years later, these figures had fallen to 4.5% and 5.2%, respectively.

Using data from the CEW survey, the following table compares unemployment rates for hospitality management majors against students who earn undergraduate degrees in other business-related disciplines.

Undergraduate Degree Field Unemployment Rate for Bachelor’s Degree-Holders with No Work Experience Unemployment Rate for Bachelor’s Degree-Holders with Some Work Experience
Hospitality Management 5.2% 4.5%
General Business 7.7% 4.2%
Accounting 8.6% 4.6%
Business Management and Administration 7.1% 4.8%
Marketing and Marketing Research 5.6% 4.3%
Finance 6.9% 4.4%

Source: From Hard Times to Better Times’ by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW)

As the table demonstrates, the unemployment rate for experienced graduates with a bachelor’s in hospitality management is comparable to the unemployment rate for other experienced business majors. However, inexperienced hospitality management degree-holders may have a tougher time finding work than graduates from other fields.

Earning a Living

The earning potential for hospitality management degree-holders is increasing as well. According to the CEW survey, hospitality management majors with work experience earned a median annual salary of $59,000 in 2012, while inexperienced college graduates in the field earned $34,000. Four years later, the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report notes that each demographic saw modest salary increases. PayScale also reports that graduates with a bachelor’s in hospitality management outearned their associate-holding counterparts by a considerable margin. The table below compares the salaries for hospitality management graduates with bachelor’s and associate degrees at two key career benchmarks.

Degree Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Associate Degree in Hospitality Management $32,200 $47,400
Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management $40,500 $60,200

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table indicates, entry-level professionals with a bachelor’s in hospitality management outearned associate-holders by a little more than 25% at both entry-level and mid-career stages. It’s important to note, however, that salaries in hospitality vary significantly depending on your experience, location, job title, and a number of other factors. The following table uses PayScale data to explore what professionals in the field earn throughout their career in a variety of positions.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Marketing Manager $52,282 $64,098 $73,157 $76,225
Hotel General Manager $41,613 $50,039 $59,694 $74,761
Logistics Coordinator $39,758 $45,019 $47,327 $48,632
Event Planner $39,743 $49,172 $54,290 $55,915

Source: PayScale

Of the five careers listed on the table, hotel general managers see the highest career salary growth ― nearly 80% between the entry-level and late-career stages. Marketing managers placed second with 45.8% growth after 20 years in the workforce.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management will qualify for dozens of entry and mid-level jobs, as well as managerial positions typically reserved for candidates who have a college education. Below, we’ve covered four of the most common career pathways for professionals with a hospitality management degree.

Destination Marketing Managers: Like marketing managers in other industries, these professionals strive to generate a positive image for their organization ― in this case, usually tourist destinations and accommodations. They launch promotional campaigns online and through social media, and write press releases about notable upcoming events.

Lodging Managers: These managers oversee the day-to-day operations at hotels, resorts, spas, and other tourist retreats. Managing these establishments requires extensive knowledge of finance, logistics, supply chain and human resources, and customer service.

Food Service Managers: Food service managers oversee operations at restaurants, bars, and other establishments that serve food and drinks. Some may work in food delivery or catering, as well. This job requires a vast knowledge of food safety and preparation techniques, along with a background in logistics, communication, and human resources.

Meeting, Convention and Event Planners: These professionals are responsible for coordinating conferences, business retreats, corporate gatherings, wedding receptions, and other private parties. These planners oversee every logistical detail, from food and drink service to decorations and music, and they may also manage accommodations for overnight events.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Destination Marketing Managers $110,030 Data not available
Lodging Managers $49,720 8% (3,700 jobs)
Food Service Managers $48,690 5% (15,700 jobs)
Meeting, Convention and Event Planners $46,840 10% (9,900 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Many bachelor’s-holders choose to continue their education in an MBA program. For more information on this option, take a look at our Online MBA Guide.

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to hospitality management is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for hospitality professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • American Hotel and Lodging Association: The AHLA is the largest professional organization for professionals in the U.S. lodging industry. Currently, the association represents 1.9 million employees and 53,000 properties worth $176 billion in annual sales.
  • National Restaurant Association: Accounting for more than 500,000 businesses, the National Restaurant Association is the world’s largest food service professional organization. Member benefits include discounts on business solutions, management software platforms, menu consultation, and other valuable tools and services.
  • World Travel & Tourism Council: The WTTC was founded in 1991, and currently represents more than a quarter-million hospitality industry jobs. The council’s website features an extensive collection of economic and policy-related resources, along with a multimedia center and a blog.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Hospitality Management Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
2 Florida International University Miami, FL
3 Washington State University Pullman, WA
4 University of Massachusetts - Amherst Amherst, MA
5 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
6 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
7 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
8 California State University - East Bay Hayward, CA
9 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC
10 University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM