Best Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs of 2021

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by Sharon Wilfong
Published on December 10, 2021
Edited by Darlene Earnest

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An online associate in hotel and restaurant management program can help prepare students for the hospitality and service industry. Hotel and restaurant management programs and hospitality management programs typically cover the same topics. Degree-seekers can learn to lead a team, solve problems, and create a positive experience for customers.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2018-2019, the average cost of undergraduate tuition and fees at a two-year institution was around $3,560. An associate degree in hospitality management typically requires 60 credits and takes two years to complete. However, online learners may graduate faster if they're in an accelerated program.

Costs vary for a hospitality management degree, depending on the program and whether it's online or on campus. Additionally, some learners may pursue an online business degree to further their education.

Overall, the career outlook for graduates in this field appears promising. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% job growth rate for food service managers from 2020-2030. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $56,590, as of May 2020.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Learners may be able to thrive in an associate in hotel and restaurant management program if they have commitment, enthusiasm, and leadership ability. These roles require exceptional motivation, people skills, and superior attention to detail.

Most associate programs include general education requirements, such as English composition and psychology. There are also management and marketing courses as well as major-specific hospitality courses.

Studies in hotel and restaurant management usually cover customer service, supervision, software applications for business, and human resources.

Major-specific courses depend on a student's program or concentration. The format an institution uses for online classes can include live video discussions or modules with pre-recorded lectures. There are often additional requirements such as labs, practicums, or internships, depending on the program.

Students may choose a concentration such as:

Additionally, each online associate in hotel and restaurant management program has a specific set of requirements. For example, some require in-state residency, while others waive extra fees for out-of-state students. And, while an associate degree typically takes around 60 credits, some programs offer accelerated options.

Ultimately, the best associate in hotel and restaurant management programs provide academic instruction and practical experience.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

Popular Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Principles of Hospitality Management

Students explore management theory and the field of hospitality, origin of hospitality, its development, current scope, and future trends. The course emphasizes organizing, planning, and leadership skills.

Software Applications for Business

This course prepares students with basic skills in creating and editing word-processing and spreadsheet documents. They can learn applications for formatting business information, creating business reports, and solving business problems.

Hospitality Cost Control

Students learn how to efficiently operate a hospitality facility through product handling, inventory, and labor control. Learners gain skills in analyzing operating costs regarding different types of services.

Human Resource Management

Students study the supervisor's role in human resource management. This course typically covers topics such as recruiting, conducting job interviews, planning orientation, and developing policies and procedures.

Hospitality Event Management

The hospitality event management course helps students learn to plan events and address safety and security concerns. Students explore meeting and event processes such as pre-planning, resources, audience needs, event location, and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Students need a high school or GED diploma to pursue an online associate in hotel and restaurant management. There is also usually an application fee. College entrance exams — such as ACCUPLACER, ACT, or SAT scores — are often required to measure math, verbal, analytical, and writing skills.

Based on placement scores, students may need to take general studies courses as well as those specific to their program. However, there are associate programs that offer college credit for life and work experience. For example, military training could provide transferable skills that match with college curricula.

Additionally, a college application essay can allow a student to describe their goals and expectations and demonstrate their writing ability. Students also may need letters of recommendation to explain why they're a good fit for the program.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree?

Hospitality careers such as food service managers are in demand. Additionally, earning an online associate in hotel and restaurant management can help graduates pursue various jobs in motel, hotel, resort, nightclub, or bar management. There are also opportunities in travel and tourism with airlines, cruise lines, and travel agencies.

An associate in hotel and restaurant management may be a good choice for people who already have some experience in the hospitality industry. For example, according to the BLS, most food service managers start as cooks, servers, or hosts and spend years learning the necessary skills to become managers.

As of November 2021, the average base pay range for hospitality managers is between $35,000-$76,000 per year, according to Payscale. Salaries typically include a base, plus bonus, and other employee benefits. Education in the business of hospitality may help put professionals at the top of the candidate pool.

Career Paths

Restaurant General Manager

A restaurant general manager oversees all aspects of the restaurant's dining room, kitchen, and exterior grounds. They schedule staff and take care of budgeting, accounting, payroll, and other finances. Additionally, a general manager is often responsible for promotions and advertising, booking entertainment, or scheduling events.

Average Annual Salary (as of December 2021): $50,560

Lodging Manager

Lodging managers usually have previous hotel customer service experience in addition to an associate, bachelor's degree, or certificate. Like other hospitality managers, their goal is to keep the business running efficiently and maintain profitably. They help hire, train, and manage staff and also maintain standards and procedures.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $56,670

Event Manager

Event managers work with clients to create and schedule events, conferences, and parties. They often help pick a venue and usually work with third-party vendors, including caterers and DJs. Event managers must also keep within their clients' budgets.

Average Annual Salary (as of November 2021): $54,620

Food and Beverage Director

This upper management job usually requires a college degree and extensive prior experience in the field. Food and beverage directors oversee a company's entire food and beverage service. They make human resource and purchasing decisions. Additionally, they decide which products to carry and implement staff training.

Average Annual Salary (as of November 2021): $71,000

Director of Housekeeping

Housekeeping directors work in hotels, apartment buildings, or nursing facilities. They oversee a staff of housekeepers, ensuring excellent performance and professionalism. A director of housekeeping needs great communication skills and computer proficiency as they may also have payroll and accounting duties.

Average Annual Salary (as of November 2021): $58,190

Hotel and Restaurant Management Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Students with an associate in hotel and restaurant management may go on to pursue advanced degrees. For example, sales managers, which can include some professionals in the hospitality field, earned amedian annual salary of $132,290 as of May 2020, according to the BLS. These roles typically require a bachelor's degree and experience in the industry.

Additionally, certification can help advance your career in hotel and restaurant management. Hospitality professionals can expand their digital skills with the Cvent Supplier Network certification. Managers can learn how to improve a venue's online presence, create proposals, and increase the requests for proposal conversion rates.

A hospitality department trainer certification can help professionals illustrate their industry expertise and ability to train others. There are also certifications through Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, including hospitality revenue management, certified hospitality digital marketer, and revenue management analyst.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Cost

Costs can vary. In-state students typically pay lower tuition rates than out-of-state learners. However, some programs allow all students to pay in-state tuition rates, no matter where they live. You will also need to look at the cost of online vs. on-campus programs. Some online programs may charge access fees to distance learners.

Other factors also determine the true costs of an online associate degree, such as books, supplies, and software expenses.

Program Format

Online courses are generally synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous programs have a schedule similar to on-campus classes, with live video lectures and discussions, while asynchronous options provide more flexibility. Programs may also be a hybrid combination, part-time, full-time, or accelerated for quicker graduation.

Location

For distance learners, location is important because some online programs may have on-campus requirements, internships or other location-specific workshops. Additionally, some learners may do best in a hybrid program that requires some time on campus.

Accreditation

College and program accreditation is perhaps the most critical factor in considering a school and associate program. Accreditation is an evaluative process that ensures a school or program meets specific quality educational standards. A school without accreditation can't guarantee it adequately prepares students. Also, earned credits from these schools may not transfer to accredited institutions.

Student Support

Another essential aspect of a good program is the student support services available. Student services cover everything from support for technology for online classes to writing assistance and academic advising and mentorships. Student support can also assist with internship opportunities and job preparation, such as writing a resume.

2021 Best Accredited Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

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Albany Technical College true View School Profile Albany, GA

Albany Tech offers an adaptable associate in hotel and restaurant management for entry-to-mid-career professionals. The curriculum builds on a liberal arts core with occupational-related coursework in subjects like event planning and hospitality law. The program also features a mandatory internship.

Applicants must be at least 16 years old and hold a high school diploma or GED for admission. Additionally, they must submit ACT or SAT scores or meet minimum placement test scores in writing, reading, pre-algebra, and algebra skills.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $100
  • Program Length: Varies
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
  • Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Casper College true View School Profile Casper, WY

Casper's online hospitality and tourism management degree suits professionals aspiring to own their own hotel or restaurant. The curriculum emphasizes industry networking and experiential learning through local hospitality businesses. Coursework explores topics like sales and customer relationships, food and beverage management, and accounting.

Students may apply to begin classes in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Applicants must provide a high school diploma or GED certificate and SAT or ACT scores. Students must complete an online orientation module before starting coursework online.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $145 (in state); $355 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 semesters
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 63-66
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Genesee Community College true View School Profile Batavia, NY

GCC's online associate in hotel and restaurant management prepares students to further their education at a four-year college within the State University of New York system. Enrollees can gain field experience through GCC's unique Walt Disney World College Program and AAA Apollo Training.

Students can pursue concurrent microcredentials in professional sales, event planning, and HR management. Admission into the AAS in tourism, hospitality, and event management requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and SAT or ACT scores or placement testing demonstrating proficiency in math, reading, and English.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $195 (in state); $220 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 semesters
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 64
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Western Technical College true View School Profile La Crosse, WI

Western's associate in hospitality management program emphasizes broad leadership skills for recreation, travel and lodging, tourism, and food and beverage service industries. The curriculum explores topics including customer service, business software applications, and event management.

Students must complete an internship to satisfy program requirements. Most students begin the online associate in hospitality management in the fall semester. Admission requires students to submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate and ACCUPLACER scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost: $9,700 (for entire program)
  • Program Length: 5 terms
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Chemeketa Community College true View School Profile Salem, OR

Chemeketa offers an online associate in tourism management alongside a variety of certificates including food and beverage, lodging, and event planning concentrations. The curriculum combines general education and hospitality and tourism core requirements. Topics include workplace psychology, business law, and customer service management.

The associate degree culminates in a hospitality and tourism management strategic management capstone. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate and complete the placement assessment form. Students can apply to start in the fall, winter, or spring term.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $130
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 92 quarter credits
  • Instruction Style: Synchronous
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Peninsula College View School Profile Port Angeles, WA

PC's online associate in hospitality and ecotourism incorporates broad general education and specialized industry-specific coursework into its curriculum. The program emphasizes general business skills including applied math, professional technology, and English composition. Major skills include sustainable tourism, social media marketing, and event planning.

Students must complete a hospitality internship during the sixth and final quarter-semester. PC prefers students begin in the fall, however, they may choose a winter or spring start date. Graduates are uniquely qualified to manage culturally and environmentally responsible tourism programs and hospitality services.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $148 (in state); $163 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 91-95 quarter credits
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
NHTI-Concord's Community College View School Profile Concord, NH

NHTI's online associate in hospitality and tourism offers specializations in hotel administration, wedding planning management, event/conference management, digital communications, or travel and tourism. Students may complete day or evening courses online. The program requires completion of an internship and senior travel seminar.

Applicants must demonstrate appropriate speaking, writing, and computer keyboarding skills. Additionally, applicants must have completed a college-prep course in English or communications and at least one semester of college-level math, preferably Algebra I.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $215 (in state); $490 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 62-63
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
Atlantic Cape Community College View School Profile Mays Landing, NJ

Atlantic Cape offers an associate in hospitality management through a choice of on-campus or online courses. The program provides a well-rounded education in business administration and management and includes a 135-hour internship at a restaurant, hotel, casino, or other tourism or hospitality business.

Students must demonstrate technological competency and take a precalculus or calculus I course if they plan to transfer to a four-year university. Atlantic Cape maintains an open-enrollment admissions policy for any applicants age 18 or older with a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $146-$196 (in state); $246 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 semesters
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College View School Profile Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati State's associate in hospitality management offers an online track in operations. The curriculum includes core coursework in subjects like management, communication, accounting, and marketing. Courses in the operations track cover rooms division and food and beverage division management.

The associate in hotel and restaurant management at Cincinnati State includes a professional practice component. Applicants should arrange for their official transcripts to be sent to Cincinnati State.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $169 (in state); $337 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 6 semesters
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Delgado Community College View School Profile New Orleans, LA

Delgado offers its online associate in hospitality management through the business and technology division. Students can choose from six concentrations in beverage management, catering management, hotel and lodging management, meeting and event management, restaurant management, and tourism management.

The online AAS requires a hospitality practicum, ideal for aspiring entry-to-mid-level hospitality and tourism professionals. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent and may submit ACT or SAT scores for placement assessment.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $134
  • Program Length: Varies
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60-63
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

Is an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management worth it? true

Yes, it's worth it to get an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management. The credential can help professionals take the next step in their careers. While hospitality professionals can work their way into many of these roles, an associate degree may give candidates an edge.

Many community colleges and universities offer online versions of on-campus courses and programs. An online program is worth it for students who need the flexibility to work while they attend classes. What's more, trends in employer partnerships and anticipated growth in the demand for online programs create more acceptance of an online education.

How fast can I get an associate in hotel and restaurant management degree online? true

It takes approximately two years to earn an associate degree in a traditional college setting. However, students could complete an accelerated online associate in hotel and restaurant management in 12-18 months. Additionally, learners can sometimes reduce the time it takes by getting credit for life and work experience.

It's also possible to test out of some classes. Students also may have credits they can transfer to the new program. Maintaining the maximum workload instead of opting for part-time courses can also help students graduate faster. In the end, the quickest way to get an associate degree online is to earn as many credits as possible in the least amount of time.

Is an online associate degree in hotel and restaurant management program credible? true

The best way to determine if a program is credible is to check the institution's accreditation. Online institutions and their programs receive accreditation from the same agencies as their on-campus counterparts.

Institutional and programmatic are the two types of accreditation. There are also two types of institutional accreditation, regional and national. Institutional accreditation evaluates a college's academics, administration, and available resources.

National accreditation mainly covers technical and vocational colleges, while regional accreditation typically assesses two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Programmatic accreditation focuses on individual programs and academic disciplines, such as business or nursing. Proper accreditation is vital for online programs to ensure credibility.

How much money can I make with an associate in hotel and restaurant management?

Salaries vary depending on the job and may include a base, bonus, and additional employee benefits. For example, according to Payscale, entry-level restaurant managers with less than a year of experience typically earn an average annual total compensation of just over $41,200. By comparison, an early career hotel general manager with 1-4 years of experience averages around $49,060, as of November 2021.

Regardless of the path, professionals with education and experience tend to land positions with higher pay. According to Payscale, those with a bachelor's of science in hotel and restaurant management earn an average annual salary of $62,000, as of November 2021.

Is an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management in demand?

Some hospitality careers, such as restaurant managers, are in high demand. And the BLS projects the job growth for lodging managers to increase 9% from 2020-2030. That's around the average for all occupations.

Additionally, graduates with an online associate in hotel and restaurant management can work in tourism with airlines, cruise lines, and resorts. Years of work experience can lead to many of these entry-level management positions. However, an associate in hotel and restaurant management can open the door to opportunities for higher wages.

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