Hospitality managers create memorable experiences at hotels, restaurants, and other establishments that host guests. They work in a variety of settings, including ski lodges, beach-side hotels, exclusive country clubs, and upscale restaurants.
As tourism expands in the U.S. and more people visit restaurants, jobs in hospitality will continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4% increase in positions for lodging managers and an 11% increase in jobs for meeting, convention, and event planners between 2016 and 2026. By pursuing a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management, you can cultivate the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience for a career in the food and tourism industry.
Choosing a Program
Students in a hotel management bachelor's program build interpersonal communication skills and business knowledge that allow them to serve the needs of customers and clients. Common course topics include financial accounting, strategic management, human resources, marketing principles, and hospitality services operations. After completing coursework in fundamental theories and best practices, students can take advanced classes, usually in an area of concentration. Online bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management programs often offer subfields in marketing, office management, and special event planning.
Hospitality businesses become successful by making individual people happy. Since these customer service skills are vital, practical work experience stands as a crucial part of the best online bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management programs. You should expect a capstone requirement, usually in the form of an internship. Depending on the program, you may be able to complete an internship where you live or at your current place of employment. Some schools offer summer placement options with their business partners.
What Are The Best Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs?
Florida International University
Based in Miami and enrolling 56,000 students, Florida International University offers several online degrees, including a fully online bachelor of science in hospitality management. Emphasizing business management, operations, finance, and logistics, this online hotel management degree prepares graduates for careers in the international hotel, food service, and tourism industries.
FIU's 120-credit hotel management degree online features 60 credits of general education courses and 60 within the hospitality management program. To specialize the degree, majors take 27 credits of hospitality core classes, 21 credits within their concentration, and 12 credits of electives. Students in this BS program may concentrate their degree in beverage management, culinary management, hotel and lodging management, or event management.
FIU also offers a combined bachelor's and master's program in hospitality management, which lets students earn a master's degree in an accelerated time frame. Applicants for this track must be current undergraduate hospitality majors with at least 75 credits and a minimum 3.2 GPA.
Prospective students to FIU submit an online application and official transcripts. Applicants with fewer than 60 transfer credits must also provide official SAT or ACT scores and official high school transcripts. Transfer students should have a minimum 2.25 GPA, though students who do not meet the minimum may receive provisional admission. FIU enrolls new students for fall, spring, and summer terms.
The University of Alabama
A public research institution established in 1820, the University of Alabama confers degrees from its Tuscaloosa campus and online through Bama By Distance. The flagship institution offers an online bachelor of science in hospitality management that blends online coursework and practical experience to provide students with career-ready skills. UA reports that graduates typically move into managerial or supervisory positions after graduation.
UA's 120-credit online hotel management degree includes 50 credits of general education requirements, 21 of electives, and 49 within the hospitality management program. The curriculum includes coursework in hospitality employee supervision, restaurant management, managerial accounting, and management of food and beverage operations, which combines classroom knowledge about the hospitality industry with operational experience.
In this program, students complete an internship or practicum, working with hotel properties, food services organizations, catering businesses, or convention bureaus to build managerial strengths while earning a degree. Majors also complete a senior capstone course and a 500-hour internship to provide professional experience. The program accepts new applicants on a rolling admission basis.
Prospective students submit an online application and transcripts from all colleges they have previously attended (applicants with fewer than 24 college credits also submit a high school transcript). UA requires a minimum 2.0 GPA for admission, and applicants with fewer than 24 credits must also provide ACT or SAT scores if they graduated within the past four years. Admitted students pay a flat tuition rate regardless of Alabama state residency status.
Johnson & Wales University - Online
A private institution founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University blends liberal arts with industry-focused education. JWU operates campuses in Providence, Rhode Island; Miami, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. The institution also offers online degrees, including an online bachelor of science in restaurant, food, and beverage management that prepares graduates for careers in the restaurant industry through a curriculum that combines hospitality management and food service.
JWU's online restaurant management degree appeals to prospective students looking for a focus on food and beverage management. For example, the program offers business foundational classes and food service management classes, including spirits and mixology management, beverage appreciation, food and beverage logistics, and front-of-the-house operations management. It also features training in financial analysis, industry technology, customer awareness, and social media.
Prospective students should note that the program does require culinary courses that must be completed at one of JWU's campuses in Rhode Island, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, or through another institution. Also notable, within this program, students can earn certifications like national sanitation and responsible alcohol service.
Prospective students should hold either two years of full-time work experience or an associate degree prior to admission. JWU also accepts transfer credits equivalent to an associate degree. Applicants submit transcripts and a resume to demonstrate prior experience. The program enrolls students at four start dates throughout the year and offers an optional internship to build professional experience.
Northern Arizona University
Established in Flagstaff in 1899 and enrolling over 31,000 students, Northern Arizona University offers both on-campus and online degrees, including a fully online bachelor of science in hotel and restaurant management. Students earning this online hotel restaurant management degree customize their own concentration from 35 elective courses. For further specialization, NAU also offers the option to choose one of seven hospitality certificates, including event planning management and hospitality accounting.
Within the 120-credit degree, students complete 45 credits of hospitality administration courses, including kitchen operations, hospitality managerial accounting, and hospitality marketing. Majors build business experience through 12 credits of core classes in accounting, economics, and management. Finally, students choose 15 credits of hospitality administration electives to create their own concentration.
NAU emphasizes professional experience through its required internship, where students complete at least 1,200 hours of hospitality-related employment. The supervised internship helps students strengthen their resume and apply the skills gained in the program. What's more, this program is nationally recognized by the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education.
Prospective students submit an online application. NAU offers multiple start dates throughout the year, and admitted students complete coursework both synchronously and asynchronously through Blackboard. Most NAU online courses offer asynchronous instruction, allowing students to complete coursework requirements without set meeting times. Transfer students can apply up to 75 credits earned at an Arizona community college toward their degree. NAU offers a flat tuition rate to in-state and out-of-state students.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program?
Each online bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management varies slightly based on specific coursework and the school's teaching philosophy. For example, you might find more electives in a program grounded in the liberal arts, or an intensive capstone requirement at a career-oriented school. Even in a two-year program, students can customize their education through electives and concentration options.
Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in restaurant management usually take the same foundational business courses regardless of the school they attend. However, programs vary based on departmental focus and faculty expertise. Do your research carefully. Don't be shy when talking to the admission counselors at your prospective colleges or universities to ensure that the program you enroll in fits all of your academic and professional needs. Below are some common courses available in most bachelor's degrees in hotel and restaurant management.
- Food and Beverage Operations: This class provides an overview of how to run food and beverage venues, including bars, restaurants, hotels, and catering services. Topics include sanitation, purchasing, menu creation, staff training, and liability concerns. Coursework often involves case studies and group work in the form of a project or presentation.
- Strategic Management: Another course which emphasizes collaborative learning, this class teaches students how to design, actualize, and analyze business initiatives. Students learn how to create strategies that promote efficiency and growth within an organization. The class usually culminates in original research or a project. Students also examine real-world scenarios using such tools as SWOT analysis.
- Conference, Meeting, and Event Planning: This course prepares students for careers as event planners, conference coordinators, and office managers. Topics include destination selection, venue management, travel arrangements, lodging, safety, and food service preparation. Depending on the nature of the program, the course may also cover seminar design and activities planning.
- Management Accounting Principles: Many of a hospitality manager's duties involve careful fiscal planning. This class teaches students to manage money in a way that promotes growth while minimizing costs.
- Organizational Behavior for Hotels and Restaurants: Human resources is a fundamental part of earning a restaurant and hotel management bachelor's degree online. This class trains students in the methodologies and techniques of team recruiting, training, organization, and reward. Workplace diversity is another common topic in the course and helps students cultivate a collaborative, innovative, and safe environment.
How Long Does it Take to get an Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management?
Similar to other baccalaureate programs, bachelor's degrees in hotel and restaurant management usually require students to complete 120 credits over the course of four years. More comprehensive programs, such as dual degree pathways, may take five or six years. Students who want to graduate quickly should examine schools that offer accelerated courses and summer sessions, which provide scheduling flexibility and enable you to take more courses each year. Additionally, an internship or practicum requirement may affect the length of a program, particularly if you need to travel to a specific location to complete it.
The structure of your online restaurant and hotel management bachelor's degree also influences your graduation date. Most remote courses are taught asynchronously. However, a school may require you to take classes in a cohort, where you and a small group of peers progress through the program together, usually by taking one class at a time. While this is advantageous in some circumstances, it doesn't allow for the same level of flexibility as individually paced learning.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Degrees
For colleges and universities to confer degrees recognized by employers, the government, and professional organizations, they must be accredited at the national or regional level. National accreditation means that schools have received recognition from an accrediting agency under the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). National accreditation ensures that schools meet certain academic and professional standards.
Regional accreditation is considered more prestigious and difficult to obtain than national accreditation. Schools receive regional accreditation from one of six organizations, depending on where they're located. You should also consider program-specific forms of accreditation granted by organizations such as the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration or the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business.
As a government organization, the ED takes charge of a school's federal funding, including many loans and awards like the Pell Grant. The ED also ensures that the college or university follows national education mandates. Established in 1996, CHEA is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the academic integrity of the more than 3,000 colleges and universities under its umbrella. CHEA also provides funding for research and advocates for the rights of its members. For more information on nationally accredited schools, go to the ED and CHEA websites.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Salary
The table below aggregates salary information for careers in hotel and restaurant management. In all positions, salaries grow over time as employees gain more experience. Hospitality managers cultivate expertise primarily by working with their teams and interacting with customers, so it's not surprising that more seasoned professionals enjoy a bigger paycheck. As with other industries, place of employment affects pay. A general manager of a hotel chain can earn more than one who manages a small bed-and-breakfast. Your level of education will also affect your salary.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Director of Events||$64,741||$49,188||$64,575||$78,556|
|Director of Sales||$87,372||$56,269||$79,060||$110,892|
Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Careers
Hospitality managers personify business, leadership, and customer service expertise. They are people pleasers who understand the inner workings of financial planning, social media, and other marketing strategies. Hospitality managers also know how to motivate and coordinate their employees. These core qualities and skills enable marketing professionals to work in a variety organizations, including hotels, restaurants, and businesses such as resorts and cruise companies. Below are five of the most popular careers in the field along with their duties and requirements.
- Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner
These professionals organize special events, including weddings, school reunions, industry conventions, and academic conferences. They inspect locations, plan for lodging, organize staff, design food and beverage menus, and perform other duties that ensure guests have a safe and enjoyable experience. Most hold at least a bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $47,350
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- Lodging Manager
Working for hotels, resorts, and similar companies, lodging managers make sure customer experience meets organizational standards. They oversee diverse tasks such as room inspection, guest services coordination, and financial and strategic planning. As with most other managerial positions, these professionals usually hold a bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $51,840
Projected Growth Rate: 4%
- Food Service Manager
These managers lead the daily operations of restaurants and other businesses that serve food and beverages. They train and organize staff, order supplies, ensure the business meets sanitation and customer service standards, and handle guest needs directly. While experience stands as a key component for career advancement, food service managers must hold professional credentials, including industry certification. Many also hold an academic degree at the associate or bachelor's level.
Median Annual Salary: $50,820
Projected Growth Rate: 9%
- Marketing Manager
These skilled professionals design, implement, and direct advertising campaigns and other promotional initiatives. Their job is to generate interest in a business or organization, thereby driving growth. Marketing managers hold at least a bachelor's degree, but most pursue a graduate degree to gain additional business and leadership skills.
Median Annual Salary: $127,560
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Sales Manager
As a main driving force behind business operations, sales managers organize teams, analyze and project statistics, and implement campaigns and strategies. Their job is to boost profitability and expand the client base. These highly skilled professionals possess at least a bachelor's degree. However, a master's degree is common for this career because it provides the advanced business and financial skills necessary for success at higher levels.
Median Annual Salary: $117,960
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Hotel and restaurant managers, especially those early in their careers, can benefit from membership in professional organizations. Many of these organizations provide additional training and certification programs that can give you an edge during job applications. Professional organizations also support their members through conferencing and networking events, as well as funding opportunities such as academic scholarships. Hospitality management organizations often administer job boards, digital libraries, webinars, and discussion forums.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Hotel and Restaurant Management Program
Like any program, a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management often requires significant financial investment. You should prioritize minimizing overall costs, ideally to the point of zero student loan debt. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) enables you to sign up for multiple scholarships and grants simultaneously. You should also perform extensive searches for funding opportunities offered by national organizations such as Tourism Cares or the James Beard Foundation, as well as regional bodies like the Colorado Restaurant Association.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.