Best Online Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs of 2021

portrait of James Mielke
by James Mielke
Published on December 7, 2021
Edited by Darlene Earnest

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought staggering losses to the hospitality industry. Hotels and restaurants are working to recover. The industry is facing staffing shortages, so hospitality professionals may find themselves in demand.

Students working toward business degrees like a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management can help revitalize the hospitality industry. Graduates can enter a growing field with expansive career options.

Often a flexible and affordable undergraduate option, an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management program can help students hone essential business skills. They also can learn the ins and outs of the industry.

Additionally, some of these programs at top online schools require work experience in hospitality settings. So working students may be particularly suited for this degree.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Like most undergraduate degrees, the majority of online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management programs require students to complete 120 credits of coursework before graduation. Full-time students often satisfy this requirement in about four years.

For transfer students, this timeline can be significantly shorter if the individual transfers a substantial number of credits.

While major requirements vary among schools, students can expect to dedicate significant time toward hospitality-centered classes.

For example, the University of Alabama's online bachelor of science in hospitality management requires learners to complete 49 credits of major courses and 21 major-focused elective credits. In addition to standard coursework, typical academic concentrations include food and beverage management, hotel and lodging, and meetings and events.

Many programs also require degree-seekers to complete a semester-long internship before graduation.

Often acting as a degree-culminating experience, an internship can be a valuable learning opportunity. It allows students to apply knowledge in a real-world environment. Internships take place at approved locations such as hotels, restaurants, and resorts.

Continue reading to learn about standard hotel and restaurant management classes and what to expect on a college application. See the career opportunities for hospitality graduates.

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

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Managing the Hotel Guest Experience

This course introduces learners to foundational management skills and theories that can affect the guest experience. Topics include selling rooms and services, understanding revenue management, and managing client expectations.

Human Resources in Service Organizations

Effective human resources play a significant role in any organization. Degree-seekers cover critical human resource and employment law issues while tackling best practices in recruiting, training, and doing performance evaluations.

Hospitality Operations Analysis

Building upon core operational topics like labor cost management, performance analysis, and inventory control, students apply essential skills to real-world business issues. This online class also covers topics such as forecasting, capital expenditures, and marketing.

Food Service in Hospitality and Tourism

For many hotels, food and beverage services act as an essential revenue stream. And they come with their own set of laws, regulations, and issues. In this course, students explore various management concepts. These include operations and financial controls, food safety, and customer-focused menu planning.

Hospitality Law

This online hospitality law course introduces various regulatory and legal issues in the hospitality industry. In addition to standard legal subjects like torts and contracts, degree-seekers focus on the practical influence of the law on business decisions.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Admission requirements vary among hotel and restaurant management programs. However, online and on-campus requirements typically look pretty similar. Applicants must review admission requirements closely and provide the required application information. Admission officials are available to answer any questions.

Application

Submitting a thoughtful and complete college application is vital. Familiarize yourself with application checklists, and recognize that school admission requirements vary. Along with a completed application, other requirements may include standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and an admission essay.

Test Scores

In the past, standardized test scores often weighed heavily in admission decisions. Some schools have recently moved away from using the SAT or ACT as a predictor of academic success. As requirements vary, check with schools to confirm if test scores are mandatory.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendations often play a significant role in determining whether a student gains admission. As opposed to the cold metrics of GPAs and test scores, recommendation letters can highlight the personal qualities that allow an applicant to stand out. Prospective students commonly ask teachers, counselors, and work supervisors to write these letters.

Essays

Admission essays provide another opportunity for applicants to set themselves apart from the competition. The personal stories and attributes that make a prospective student unique are the same qualities that may make them a good fit at a college or university. Applicants should submit a clear and concise essay and avoid errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts often play a significant role in admission decisions — whether transferring from another college or applying as a high school senior. If you are transferring to a program from another college, check to be sure you can transfer credits you've earned to your new school.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree?

Career Outlook

Students graduating with an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management can expect to enter a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for meeting, convention, and event planners are projected to grow by 18% from 2020-2030. This is much faster than the average projected growth for all occupations.

Additionally, food service manager jobs have similar growth projections over that same period of time.

As the hospitality industry works to rebound from the dramatic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, its need for talented workers will continue to grow. While median salaries for professionals in the industry may be lower than other fields, top-earning hospitality workers can earn around $100,000 per year.

Earning an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management may seem like a niche academic option. However, it can cover and incorporate widely applicable business, communication, and critical-thinking skills.

Continue reading to learn about common careers for hospitality graduates. See where a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management can take you.

Career Paths

Food Services Manager

These professionals oversee the daily operations at restaurants and other related businesses. Food services managers direct staff to ensure customer satisfaction while also handling business concerns. Common responsibilities include hiring and training staff, managing payroll, and maintaining standards of customer service.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $56,590


Lodging Manager

Often working at hotels, motels, and resorts, lodging managers oversee staff while ensuring customer satisfaction. These professionals often coordinate the work between departments like housekeeping, marketing, and facilities management. Additionally, lodging managers enforce company standards, review budgets, and train staff.

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


Chef and Head Cooks

Depending on the type of business, a chef can play a significant role in the day-to-day management of a business. In addition to ensuring that a kitchen runs effectively, these professionals may manage food costs, design menus, set prices, and train staff. High-performing chefs utilize strong communication, leadership, and business skills while keeping up with trends in the industry. Training in a culinary arts program may also be necessary.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $53,380


Human Resources Specialist

Human resources specialists play a critical role. These professionals ensure that human resources meet local, state, and federal requirements. They regularly oversee health insurance, employee relations, and compensation. Additionally, these workers onboard new employees and conduct orientations.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $63,490


Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner

These planners organize and oversee various details regarding conferences and conventions at hotels. Working closely with clients, they coordinate details, including food, transportation, and lodging. Additionally, convention planners manage budgets and handle logistics, including guest registration, entertainment, and audiovisual equipment.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $51,560


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

Continuing Education

For graduates with a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management, earning an advanced degree may help enhance career options and increase earning potential. A hospitality-focused bachelor's often introduces core business principles while focusing on topics unique to the industry. An online master's can help expand on that knowledge.

Like any industry, hotels and restaurants rely on trained professionals to tackle accounting, management, and various business specialties. As a result, master's degrees in relevant areas exist as popular academic choices. Additionally, earning an MBA could lead to leadership roles in the hospitality industry.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?

Cost

Tuition rates between online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management programs can vary significantly. Public schools typically cost less than private institutions, and in-state tuition is often less than out-of-state rates. However, some schools allow all distance learners to pay in-state tuition rates no matter where they live. Additionally, online learners often save on travel, housing, and on-campus fees.

Program Format

Choosing the program format that best fits your needs may play a significant role in choosing a program. Students juggling school, work, and family obligations, for example, may choose an asynchronous program. This allows them to complete coursework at their own pace.

Online students with a flexible schedule may consider an accelerated track. This allows them to complete degree requirements in less time.

Location

For many online learners, the location of a program may not be considered important. However, when conducting your school search, ask if there are any on-campus requirements. That may help you decide if you need a program that is close to where you live.

Since most online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management programs require a hands-on learning experience, prospective students should ask about internship guidelines. You will want to know if you can complete this requirement near where you live.

Accreditation

When choosing an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management program, the best options come from regionally accredited institutions. Regionally accredited schools go through a rigorous process. This helps ensure that students receive the academic, administrative, and financial support needed for success.

Additionally, earning credits from regionally accredited schools can make any future transfer a much easier process.

Student Support

While standout academic programs may catch your eye, student support services should also be part of the conversation. Student services — like career counseling, internships, and alumni connections — can help you while in school and when you prepare to begin your career.

The best schools offer significant online student services that can help learners make the best of their college experience.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

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Florida International University true View School Profile Miami, FL

Florida International University enrolls nearly 54,000 students across numerous areas of study, including the school's top-ranked online bachelor's in hospitality management. Offered both fully online and on campus, this program enrolls 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students and includes both BS and combined BS/MS program options.

Degree concentrations include beverage management, hotel management, restaurant management, and travel and tourism management. Transfer students with fewer than 60 credits must have a 2.25 minimum GPA. Admitted first-year students have an average SAT score of 1195, ACT score of 26, and a 4.0 GPA.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $206 (in state), $618 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years (BS), 5 years (BS/MS)
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Florida Atlantic University true View School Profile Boca Raton, FL

Florida Atlantic University enrolls more than 25,000 students across numerous areas of study, including the school's top-ranked online bachelor's in hospitality and tourism management program. Students may pursue BBA and BS degree options, choosing between in-person and online programs of study.

Optional program certificates include meetings and events management, club management, and hospitality management. Admission requirements include 60 credit hours, a minimum 2.5 GPA in pre-business foundation courses, and competition of foreign language admission requirements.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $263 (in state), $781 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120 credits
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
East Carolina University true View School Profile Greenville, NC

East Carolina University's School of Hospitality Leadership is one of the largest of its kind and currently enrolls approximately 400 students. The program offers both online and in-person options for students to earn their bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management, and also features study abroad programs in Ireland and Switzerland.

Degree-seekers can select from concentrations in convention and special events management, food and beverage management, or lodging management. Admission requirements include SAT or ACT scores, with average scores sitting at 1105 and 22, respectively.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $185 (in state), $864 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Hybrid
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
University of Wisconsin-Stout true View School Profile Menomonie, WI

The University of Wisconsin Stout provides an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management that is one the oldest degrees of its kind, having been established in 1968. Classes can be taken fully online, and students can choose from fall, spring, or summer start dates.

Aside from generalist studies, degree-seekers can also pursue a concentration in operations. Core course topics include hospitality employee relations, hospitality management strategies, lodging systems, and principles of food service operations.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $361
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120-121
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Missouri State University true View School Profile Springfield, MO

Missouri State University's department of hospitality leadership offers an online bachelor's of applied science in hotel and restaurant management for students who already hold an associate degree.

Some of the classes on offer include managing hospitality finances, principles of food preparation, and hospitality law. Instructors have experience in the hospitality industry.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $257 (in state); $550 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years (BS), 2 years (BAS)
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Hybrid
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
North Carolina Central University View School Profile Durham, NC

North Carolina Central University offers an online bachelor's hospitality and tourism administration housed within the university's college of business. The program lists academic excellence, community service, and industry work experience within its core mission.

In addition to 128 hours of coursework, students must complete 1,000 hours of work experience through internships in the hospitality industry. The minimum GPA required for admittance is 2.5. The program does not currently list ACT or SAT scores as part of its admission requirements.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $184 (in state), $584 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 128
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • Program Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
SUNY College of Technology at Delhi View School Profile Delhi, NY

SUNY Delhi's online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management program was one of the first of its kind in the U.S. Students who enroll in this program complete key courses in hospitality financial management, purchasing, human resource management, and hospitality law.

The school also offers an associate degree program focused on technical skills development. Admission requirements for transfer students include a minimum 2.0 GPA and an associate degree from an accredited institution. ACT and SAT scores are optional for first-year applicants.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $295 (in state), $452 (out of state)
  • Program Length: 2-4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 121
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Madonna University View School Profile Livonia, MI

Madonna University provides an online bachelor's in hospitality and tourism management that focuses on industry areas such as hotel and lodging operations, restaurant management, dormitories and assisted living facilities, conventions and conferences, and chambers of commerce and convention bureaus.

Required coursework includes hospitality architecture and interior design, marketing hospitality services, and retail management. To receive admission consideration, applicants must have a minimum of 2.8 GPA and provide official transcripts from schools previously attended.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $475
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 120
  • Degree Completion Program: No
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • Program Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Lakeland University View School Profile Plymouth, WI

Lakeland University offers an online bachelor's in hospitality management program that features evening classes. The institution promotes experiential learning and online students may earn credits for real work projects outside of the classroom.

Students may choose an optional program emphasis, including digital marketing, human resource management, or sustainability. Lakeland accepts students with a minimum GPA 2.0. Applicants who have been out of high school for less than three years must submit ACT scores.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $541
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 121-122
  • Degree Completion Program: No
  • Format: Online
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Everglades University View School Profile Boca Raton, FL

Everglades University operates as a small private institution of roughly 1,500 learners, with its online division housing the largest student population. The school provides an online bachelor's in hospitality management program that learners can complete fully online in 41 months.

Topics covered in this program include facilities planning and management, effective customer service, convention and exhibition management, and the business and technology of sustainability. Students complete the program by participating in a capstone course.

Program Snapshot

  • Program URL: Visit Program
  • Cost per Credit: $755
  • Program Length: 41 months
  • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 123
  • Degree Completion Program: Yes
  • Format: Hybrid
  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

Is a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management worth it?

For those interested in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry, earning an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management is a practical choice. In addition to gaining essential business knowledge, students also explore industry-specific content. Whether on campus or online, degree-seekers can gain the skills they need to pursue a wide variety of careers. Students tackle courses such as hospitality law, hospitality marketing, and lodging operations and management. Additionally, most programs require students to gain hands-on experience through a department-approved internship.

What can I do with a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management?

Graduates with a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management can pursue various careers within the hospitality industry. These include hotel marketing and sales, hotel food management, and country club management. Graduates may also find jobs at resorts, casinos, and convention centers. And while coursework may focus primarily on the hospitality industry, broadly applicable business skills accompany this degree. Business classes may include topics like accounting in hospitality, financial management, and spreadsheet design for business solutions.

Are hotel and restaurant management majors in demand?

Following the 2020 decline of public-facing hospitality jobs, the industry has started to rebound significantly. The BLS' projections anticipate growth in hotel and restaurant management roles. The hospitality field also continues to face industrywide staffing shortages. So this can put hotel and restaurant management graduates in a position to pursue significant roles within the field. The BLS projects meeting, convention, and event planning jobs to grow by as much as 18% between 2020 and 2030. Similarly, lodging and food service manager roles are projected to grow in the coming years.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management?

Future salaries for hotel and restaurant management graduates can vary significantly. Factors like the particular job, the company, and professional experience can all dictate how much someone earns. That said, the median annual salary for hotel and restaurant managers sits just above $50,000. That said, some of these positions often do not require a bachelor's degree. So graduates from an online bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management program can potentially offset a lack of professional experience with the training that comes with earning a college degree.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management?

Like other industries, management roles within the hospitality field tend to pay the most. And even though the median annual salary for many hospitality jobs sits far below six figures, top earners within the field can earn an annual salary exceeding $100,000. For hotel/lodging managers, the top 10% of workers earn more than $108,000 per year, as of May 2020. Similarly, the top 10% of food service managers earn more than $94,000. In addition to professional experience, earning an advanced degree in business or hospitality can expand both skills and earning potential.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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