An online associate degree in hospitality management can jumpstart your career. The degree often leads to work as a restaurant or hotel manager, an event planner, and more. You'll learn the leadership and analytical skills needed to succeed.
As of 2015, hospitality management jobs earned an average starting salary of $37,000 per year, according to the NACE. The BLS confirms that salary will increase with experience, as the median annual salary in 2015 was $49,720. The BLS projects a growth rate of 8% over the next ten years. One of the best ways to take advantage of this trend is to earn an online hospitality management degree.
What are the best hospitality management programs? Here are our top 10:
|1||Casper College||Casper, WY|
|2||Albany Technical College||Albany, GA|
|3||NHTI - Concord's Community College||Concord, NH|
|4||Peninsula College||Port Angeles, WA|
|5||Craven Community College||New Bern, NC|
|6||Genesee Community College||Batavia, NY|
|7||Chemeketa Community College||Salem, OR|
|8||Middlesex Community College||Bedford, MA|
|9||Western Technical College||La Crosse, WI|
|10||Atlantic Cape Community College||Mays Landing, NJ|
Best Accredited Online Associate in Hospitality Management Programs
|Casper, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Located in central Wyoming, Casper College enrolls nearly 3,000 students. About 87% of Casper's faculty hold a master's degree or doctorate in their field.
The online associate degree in hospitality and tourism management includes core courses in marketing of hospitality services, leadership and management in the hospitality industry, human resource hospitality management, and outdoor recreation and tourism. Casper delivers online coursework through Moodle.
Students must complete a cooperative work experience. Graduates of the program can pursue careers at convention centers, sports facilities, theme parks, and chambers of commerce.
Applicants must submit standardized test scores. Wyoming residents receive a discounted tuition rate. Casper is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its hospitality and tourism management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Albany Technical College
|Albany, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Located in Georgia, Albany Technical College enrolls over 5,000 students across its online and on-campus programs. The school's online associate in hospitality, restaurant, and tourism management includes 69 credits. Students take courses like travel industry and travel geography, hotel operations management, hospitality marketing, and hospitality law. Participants also complete a hospitality management internship.
Albany Tech uses Blackboard as its online learning platform. Distance courses are delivered asynchronously, but they are not self-paced.
Applicants must submit standardized test scores, and transfer students must complete at least 25% of their coursework at Albany Tech. Only courses earned with a minimum "C" grade from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution can be transferred. Albany Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
NHTI - Concord's Community College
|Concord, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 23%||
Based in New Hampshire, NHTI - Concord's Community College enrolls around 4,700 students across 90 different degree programs. The school offers an online associate degree in hospitality and tourism management. Students complete 62 credits of classes, including quality service management, event meeting and conference planning, human resource management, and business law.
Students also work with a faculty member to complete an internship placement; previous learners have worked at sites like Walt Disney World, the Lakes Region Association, New Hampshire's department of tourism, and the American Automobile Association.
The community college recommends — but does not require — standardized test scores for admission. NHTI accepts transfer credit from courses completed with a minimum "C" grade, military experience and training, and IB and AP exams. NHTI is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
|Port Angeles, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Founded in 1961, Peninsula College enrolls around 3,800 students. Located in Port Angeles, Washington, PC's main campus resides on 75 acres near the Olympic Mountains.
The online associate degree in hospitality and ecotourism at PC includes classes in leadership and management for hospitality, sustainable tourism policy and planning, adventure travel leadership and guiding, and technology in the hospitality industry. Students must also complete a hospitality and ecotourism internship.
PC delivers online coursework through Canvas. The college provides online tutoring services for all distance students.
Applicants must submit standardized test scores.. Washington residents and military non-residents receive discounted tuition rates. PC is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Craven Community College
|New Bern, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Based in New Bern, North Carolina, Craven Community College enrolls over 3,000 degree-seeking students annually. The school's online associate in hospitality management program features 67 credits and includes classes like management problems in hospitality, meetings and event planning, and front office procedures. Students must complete a work-based learning experience.
Craven participates in a cooperative agreement with Carteret Community College; students can take 25 credits at Craven and complete their degree at Carteret. Graduates can find jobs in rehabilitation facilities, tourist sites, restaurants, and hotels.
Applicants without standardized test scores may sit for placement exams. North Carolina residents receive a discounted tuition rate. Craven is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Genesee Community College
|Batavia, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
Located in Batavia, New York, Genesee Community College boasts a 92% employment or continuing education rate among its recent graduates.
GCC's 64-credit associate degree in tourism and hospitality management allows students to complete at least 75% of their degree online. Some core courses include food and beverage management, principles of event management, destination and resort marketing, and meeting and convention planning. The program does not require an internship.
Students can transfer their associate degree into one of the SUNY system's many four-year institutions. Graduates of this program can also pursue careers as customer service representatives, gaming supervisors, and travel agents.
Applicants must submit ACT or placement exam scores. GCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Chemeketa Community College
|Salem, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
The majority of students at Chemeketa Community College — located in Salem, Oregon — enroll on a part-time basis. Additionally, almost half of Chemeketa's students intend to transfer to a four-year institution.
Chemeketa's 92-quarter-credit associate in hospitality and tourism management can be completed online, and it takes about two years to graduate. Some core classes include selling in hospitality and tourism management, food and beverages: gastronomy, hospitality and tourism management, and tourism and the travel industry.
The program offers ample professional development opportunities for future tourism industry workers. Graduates can find careers as meeting and convention managers and hotel managers.
Applicants must complete a placement exam. The college accepts transfer credit from regionally accredited postsecondary institutions. Chemeketa is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Middlesex Community College
|Bedford, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Middlesex Community College enrolls around 12,000 students. Located in Bedford, Massachusetts, almost half of MCC's students identify as first-generation college students.
MCC offers a 62-credit hospitality management AS in business administration. Students can earn this degree online, taking classes like convention and event sales and planning, food/beverage cost and revenue management, principles of macroeconomics, and human resource management. Students also complete a business internship. This program prepares graduates for supervisory positions in a variety of industries.
The college uses an open-enrollment policy and does not require standardized test scores. Residents of Massachusetts and other New England states redeive a discounted tuition rate. MCC is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Western Technical College
|La Crosse, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Western Technical College educates about 4,000 students each year. The school oversees hundreds of associate, diploma, certificate, and apprenticeship programs, including many options that are available online.
Distance learners can earn Western's associate in hospitality management. This 60-credit AAS includes classes like human resources management, quality customer service, and leadership development. Participants prepare to pursue roles like banquet managers, maintenance supervisors, and restaurant general managers. Western also holds articulation agreements with Viterbo University, allowing graduates to easily transfer and earn a four-year degree.
Applicants should submit their high school or GED transcripts, and some students may need to take ACCUPLACER assessment exams. Western is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Atlantic Cape Community College
|Mays Landing, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Atlantic Cape Community College — located in southern New Jersey — hosts dozens of associate and certificate programs. It also offers options for distance learners, including an online associate degree in hospitality management.
Students take 20 general education credits and 40 credits of hospitality management courses. Select classes include hotel operations, hospitality sales and marketing, and catering and events planning. Students also complete a 135-hour internship with a hospitality-related business. Faculty deliver online classes using Blackboard Learn.
The college does not charge an application fee. First-year students must sit for ACCUPLACER placement tests or submit qualifying SAT, ACT, or PARCC test scores. Atlantic Cape is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Associate in Hospitality Management Program?
|Time to Complete||Two years|
|Credit Hours||32-46 credits|
|Program Costs||$3,722 - $11,184 per year|
|Core Courses||Principles of Management, Food and Beverage Management, Intro to Marketing, Public Speaking, Intro to Hotel Management Industry|
|Concentrations||Food and Beverage Management, Event Management, Lodging Management|
|Accreditation||Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business|
What Can I Do With an Associate in Hospitality Management Degree?
If you enjoy working directly with customers while also managing other employees, ensuring that customers of your business are taken care of, and are willing to work flexible hours, then hospitality management jobs will be a good fit. Hospitality management careers range from event planning to managing, or even working as a tour guide.
Lodging Manager: Lodging managers take responsibility for the quality of their guests' vacation experiences at hotels, motels, and other lodging businesses. In addition to attending to guests, lodging managers must also lead employees and ensure the business stays profitable. Lodging managers must be willing to work flexible hours and constantly be on call, as their hotels will likely be open 24 hours.
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners: Meeting, convention, and event planners are responsible for all aspects of events and professional meetings. They must take charge of meeting space, transportation, logistics, locations, and even food. A number of their work hours will take place during the meetings themselves, and the job requires a lot of travel, as planners must scout potential meeting locations beforehand.
Food Service Managers: Food service managers are in charge of all aspects of running a place that serves food. They manage employees to make sure that patrons have a satisfactory dining experience, and they also run the business side of the operation to make sure that their restaurant is profitable. Food service managers must be willing to work flexible hours, including nights, holidays, and weekends.
|Position||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate|
|Meetings, convention, and event planner||$46,840||10%|
|Food service manager||$48,690||5%|
The appeal of pursuing an online associate degree in hospitality management is that there are many jobs available and graduates quickly gain experience. Higher levels of hospitality management are available, and many companies who employ students that have associate degrees in hospitality management will foot the bill for their employee's continuing education.
Cornell University — BS in Hotel Administration: Cornell's School of Hotel Administration was the first of its kind in the country, offering the first-ever undergraduate hospitality management program. The school's on-campus hotel, Statler Hotel, allows students to gain hands-on experience before graduating.
Michigan State University — BA in Hospitality Business: Michigan State University's hospitality management program offers a number of features, including an 80-employer job fair, study abroad opportunities, and hands-on practice at Les Gourmets and Vegas Night. Bachelor's students also gain access to a worldwide network of internships.
University of Nevada at Las Vegas — BA in Hospitality Management: Bachelor's students in hospitality management at UNLV have hands-on access to Las Vegas, a hotel and tourist Mecca that constitutes one of the hospitality hubs in the world. Students in the program must complete 1,000 work hours in the industry to earn their degrees, and UNLV offers realistic work settings (restaurant, kitchen, and gaming “laboratories”) for practice.
Employment Outlook for Associate in Hospitality Management Graduates
ASSOCIATE IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SALARY
Location is important here, as places that see more tourists tend to pay higher salaries to hospitality management majors. The next table shows which states are the highest-paying for hospitality industry workers.
|Top Paying States for Hospitality Management||Average Annual Salary|
Professional organizations can be of great service to new hospitality management graduates. Local organizations, like Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, provide access to networking events and resources that are great for professionals who want to work in that area. Below are a few examples of large, nationwide associations.
American Hotel and Lodging Association: The AHLA provides resources, support, and advocates for hospitality professionals and the hospitality industry.
National Restaurant Association: Focusing specifically on restaurants, this organization partners with over 500,000 restaurant businesses and advocates for their interests ( financial and regulatory).
National Tour Association: The NTA provides member organizations with resources, research, and market data so that they can take advantage of a number of business opportunities.
Financing Your Online Associate in Hospitality Management Program
Students earning an online associate degree in hospitality management should fill out a FAFSA form. There are also a number of industry-specific scholarships available, usually related specifically to tourism, hotels, or food and beverage. All prospective hospitality management students already working in the field should ask their employer to pay for their education, as many organizations need good managers and will chip in for their employee's educations.
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