The responsibilities of food and hospitality management give many professionals great satisfaction in their profession. Since we all depend on these services when vacationing, traveling for work, or simply enjoying a night out, hospitality professionals enjoy favorable prospects in the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), meeting, convention, and event planners can expect an employment growth of 12% from 2016-2026, which is well above the national average of 7%.

So what kind of specialized education might you need in this industry? Obtaining a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management can help you on your way toward a food and hospitality management position. This piece gives you an overview of bachelor's degree options in hotel and restaurant management, including how to pick the right program for you.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management?

The ideal format for your bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management depends on your needs as a student. Working professionals looking to switch careers usually prefer online programs for their flexibility. Many online programs come in an asynchronous format that works well with a professional's busy schedule. A recent high school graduate with the intention of transitioning directly into the workforce; however, may prefer an on-campus program. On-campus programs generally offer more course options and greater ease of networking with faculty and peers.

A bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management invokes knowledge in self-reliance, effective communication, and business literacy. Your communication skills allow you to effectively network with faculty and peers. Additionally, your self-reliance skills will impress your superiors in internships and jobs, which can lead to strong references for the future.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management?

Your degree in hotel and restaurant management does not restrict you to the food and hospitality industry. A bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management can also bring opportunity in jobs associated with corporate settings. Business and marketing knowledge can prepare you for marketing or sales management in a corporate environment. Additionally, this major often appeals to those interested in event planning jobs in hospitality and food services, corporate, and nonprofit settings.

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner

These experts arrange and coordinate all important details of different events and professional meetings. On a typical day, a meeting, convention, and event planner might communicate with catering and transportation services for events or travel to possible event locations.

Median Annual Salary: $48,290 *

Lodging Manager

Lodging managers oversee the operations of hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments, ensuring guests enjoy their stay. Often, these managers work long hours and overtime, staying on call for much of the day to deal with different managerial issues.

Median Annual Salary: $51,800 *

Food Services Manager

Food services managers run restaurants or other establishments. This fast-paced position involves ensuring customer satisfaction, directing employees, and completing tasks such as ordering inventory. This job does not usually require a bachelor's degree; however, the bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management business courses can help.

Median Annual Salary: $51,800 *

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Choose a Bachelor's Program in Hotel and Restaurant Management

Before choosing a hotel and restaurant management program, you should research each school's program, keeping several important factors in mind. Consider whether or not the program allows students to take classes both part time and full time, as a working professional's busy schedule may only allow them to take classes part time. How many years and credits does the program require? Remember that taking classes part-time extends program length, possibly costing you more overall. Only consider programs you can reasonably afford. Find out whether the program comes in both online and on-campus formats. Online programs can offer greater scheduling flexibility and lower tuition. Additionally, look into course offerings that interest you most.

Investigate whether programs include direct experience. The program may even culminate in a final project, which varies by school. Carefully consider the location of each school for on-campus programs or in case the program involves in-person elements. A lower cost of living for the area can seem beneficial initially but could entail lower standards of living. Investigate whether you could likely get a job in the area upon graduation, based on the economic climate. A tourist-oriented or major metropolitan area could offer many job opportunities for a professional with a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management. Strongly consider programs that offer specializations in potential areas of interest. Remember that not all programs offer specializations.

Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's Programs in Hotel and Restaurant Management

Programmatic accrediting bodies maintain educational standards for specialized areas of education and training, such as law and medicine. Agencies like the American Bar Association ensure that all college programs in a specific field adhere to the same standards.

The Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) handles programmatic accreditation for bachelor's programs in hotel and restaurant management. Attending a program with ACPHA accreditation guarantees a quality education. If you do not attend an accredited program and choose to transfer, your prospective school may not recognize some of your credits, requiring you to repeat coursework. Additionally, some employers may not consider your bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management valid if it lacks ACPHA accreditation.

Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program Admissions

Only apply to programs that best suit your needs, and note that applying to an on-campus program may entail an in-person interview. However, admissions for online programs can be more complicated, as some online programs require admission to both the online and on-campus school. Nevertheless, the admission processes for both online and on-campus programs hold the same basic requirements.

Apply to between five and eight schools. If you apply to too many, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed. Alternately, applying to too few could create problems if you do not get into your top choices. Only apply to ACPHA-accredited programs that offer coursework and concentrations of interest to you. A strong interest in each potential school prevents future problems if you do not gain admission to your top choice.


  • Minimum GPA: Most undergraduate programs require a minimum GPA of 2.0. Some schools may choose to waive this requirement if you show high SAT or ACT test scores.

Admission Materials

  • Application: Your application asks for basic information about you and your academic plans. Completing applications typically takes about an hour each, though The Common Application allows you to apply to multiple institutions with one standardized admissions application.
  • Transcripts: You need to include your high school transcript and transcripts from any previous colleges or universities attended. To obtain a transcript, fill out a request form and include fees.
  • Letters of Recommendation: You may also need to include letters of recommendation with your application, preferably from previous instructors. Give your references at least two weeks notice prior to asking for a letter.
  • Test Scores: Most college admissions require either SAT or ACT test scores. Score standards vary by school, but most look for those in the top 25th percentile.
  • Application Fee: Application fees cost around $45 on average. Some schools offer waivers in the case of financial hardship.

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's Program in Hotel and Restaurant Management?

Bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management coursework varies by school, not all offering the same electives or concentrations. Choose your program carefully if you think you may want to pursue a specific specialization after graduation.

Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Concentration Description Careers
Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management In this concentration, coursework focuses strongly on the food industry, unique considerations for managing workflow, and human resources issues in this field. Programs may culminate in an internship specifically within the food industry. Food services manager
Meetings and Event Management A meetings and events management concentration tailors to those looking to work as event, convention, and professional meeting planners after graduation. Coursework may include topics like event resources management, festivals, and meeting planning. Program may culminate in an internship specifically relating to meeting and event management. Meeting and event planner
Sales and Marketing Management This concentration equips students to work in sales and marketing management positions. Curriculum emphasis fluency in marketing concepts and skills in salesmanship and sales management. Additionally, the concentration may feature more math-related coursework, such as statistics and algebra. Program may culminate in a generalized hospitality internship. Sales manager, marketing manager
Beverage Management A beverage management concentration prepares students to work in bars in managerial positions. Coursework can include merchandising strategies for coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. Programs may require students to travel to wineries, craft breweries, and distilleries for in-person study elements. Food services manager
Hotel and Lodging Management This concentration is tailored to those interested in lodging and hotel management positions. Holders get a comprehensive overview of managing hospitality operations, both practical and business settings. Coursework may include hospitality accounting, loss prevention/risk management, and hotel sales. The program may culminate in an internship for a hospitality position. Lodging manager

Courses in a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program

The classes listed below represent standard coursework for most accredited programs in hotel and restaurant management. Generally, programs feature coursework geared toward business, marketing, and sales. Most also feature an internship or strongly encourage one prior to graduation.

Food and Beverage Management

A food and beverage management course teaches learners how to successfully run a food and beverage establishment to build profits, manage workflow, and tackle unique problems in this competitive and fast-paced field. Learners build business skills through topics that include supply chain management, building customer loyalty, and analyzing operational data.

Human Resources Management in Hospitality

Learners examine the unique human resources concerns in the hospitality industry, including effective goal-setting, planning, and workplace communication. Topics may include workplace violence, performance management, and effective discipline. Learners leave the course equipped to work in human resource management positions in hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality environments.

Hospitality Marketing

A hospitality marketing course equips learners to successfully identify market trends and use this in analyzing operational data. Learners examine the discipline of services marketing and leave the course equipped to successfully market within the hospitality industry. Topics may include digital marketing, customer behavioral data, and services marketing communications.

Advanced Hospitality Management

An advanced hospitality management course builds skills in managing hospitality finances, effective communication, and leadership. Learners leave the course equipped to develop a successful business model for a hospitality establishment and manage practical operational issues. Topics may include loss prevention/risk management, scheduling, and turnover issues.


Many hotel and restaurant management programs culminate in an internship. Select an internship relevant to your career goals, such as sales, event planning, and hospitality management. The internship typically takes between six and eight weeks to complete.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management?

A bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management takes around four years to complete. On-campus programs often require more time to complete coursework than online programs. Some online programs may come in an accelerated format, which allows students to complete their studies in as little as two years. Degree completion programs require less time than regular programs.

Supervised internships and other direct-experience requirements can lengthen the time spent on a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management. Finally, the bachelor's degree length varies depending on the number of credits you transfer.

How Much Is a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management?

Annual tuition at a four-year college or university can vary widely, running between $5,000 and $50,000. Public schools generally cost far less than private schools, with public schools offering in-state tuition. Additionally, you should also consider the costs beyond tuition: housing, transit, textbook, and technology costs. Many schools also offer a lower tuition rate for online students. The self-paced nature of online courses reduces time spent on the degree, and consequently reduces the cost. Learners on a budget should strongly consider pursuing an online bachelor's degree.

Annual tuition for a bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management degree varies depending on the school, though you can easily find many in an affordable price range.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Prepares For

Certified Hotel Administrator

A bachelor's in hotel and restaurant management prepares you to take the test for CHA certification, which is available through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute for a $100 fee. You must receive a grade of 70% to pass the CHA exam, which you may retake twice.

Food Handler Certification

Jobs in food and beverage services require employees to take the food handler certification test administered by ServSafe. You need to wait 30 days to retake the certification exam if you do not initially pass. On your third attempt, you must wait 60 days for a retake.

Food Protection Management Certification

Some jobs in food and beverage services require managers to take the food protection management certification test administered by ServSafe. The same retake stipulations stand for the food protection management certification as the food handler certification.

Resources for Hotel and Restaurant Management Students

International Franchise Association

The IFA offers many resources to students in management and marketing, including scholarships like the Doc Cohen Franchising Scholarship that allows for a stipend to attend the IFA national convention.

National Future Farmers of America Organization

The FFA offers many scholarships and grants tailored to students with FFA membership in hospitality fields. Sponsors include Hormel Foods and Johnson & Wales University, with awards up to $30,000.

Hispanic College Fund:

The Hispanic College Fund offers scholarships to Hispanic high school, undergraduate, and graduate students for all majors. High school students need a minimum GPA of 3.0, while undergraduates and graduates need a minimum GPA of 2.5.

United Negro College Fund

The UNCF offers scholarships to African-American students of many majors, such as the UNCF/Carnival Corporation scholarship for African-American hospitality majors, which awarded $5,000 to two students in 2018.

Timothy SY Lam Foundation

Founded in 2012, the Timothy SY Lam Foundation offers educational scholarships of up to $2,000 each year to postsecondary students in hospitality majors. Additionally, the organization offers students grants for travel and research.

Professional Organizations in Hotel and Restaurant Management

Professional organizations offer both seasoned professionals and recent graduates opportunities for networking, continuing education, and job placement services. At events like the American Hotel and Lodging Association's ForWard convention, you can attend lectures and workshops in addition to making valuable professional connections. You can also access many of the resources these organizations offer online, such as webinars for continuing education credit.