Overview of Hospitality Management Online Degrees
The best online hospitality management programs prepare students to market themselves at hotels and similar environments around the world.
An online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management is likely to lead to supervisory roles, such as grounds supervisor, convention services manager, event manager, and guest service representative.
Core classes cover subjects such as accounting, operations, food production management, and leadership in the hospitality industry. The best online schools for hospitality management provide students with the tools and resources they need to succeed, including in-person experiences in the forms of internships and hands-on learning projects.
In order to apply, students may need to take entrance exams, like the SAT or ACT. Many programs also require a certain number of years of professional experience in hospitality or a certain number of documented work experience.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Hospitality Management Degree?
A bachelor's degree program usually requires a four year, full-time commitment from students.
While a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management typically takes four years to complete, or about 120 credits, students interested in graduating college early may be able to apply credit from AP classes, college courses taken at another school, and summer school courses. Some internships may also count for college credit.
Which Degree Is Best for Hospitality Management?
There are relatively few online degree programs in the United States that are dedicated to hospitality management; more popularly, students enroll in a Bachelor of Business Administration that offers a concentration in hospitality management.
When comparing degree programs at different colleges and universities, it’s also a good idea to ensure that all degree programs are accredited. Accreditation is useful for hospitality management schools in particular because the accreditation process takes into account the specific skills and techniques students will need to be successful hospitality managers.
Core Courses for Online Hospitality Degree Programs
As with any general bachelor's degree program, a program in hospitality management requires students to take general education classes alongside program-specific requirements. These general education requirements typically take two years and include liberal arts subjects, such as English literature, writing, history, arts, and mathematics. The rest of the curriculum involves core courses specific to hospitality management, such as the following:
Food and Beverage Operations Management
This is a core requirement of most programs and is often taken in the first semester of study. The class provides students with an overview of food and beverage management and provides a foundation for the rest of the program.
Fundamentals of Accounting
A basic accounting course is generally required for any graduate in hospitality management. In general, students learn bookkeeping skills, from logging incoming and outgoing finances to income tax reporting.
Leadership and Organization
Hospitality management is, at its core, a degree in management and leadership. In this class, students learn how to apply leadership principles to a real work setting.
Planning and Cost Control
Often the difference between a successful business venture and a failure can be traced back to a reduction of extra costs through careful planning. This course examines some basic strategies for how to plan ahead and reduce costs for your business.
Another important skill for any manager is how to market a business to bring in the most money. This class covers the basic principles of how to bring in business through current marketing techniques.
Students will likely have access to many of the same organizations, competitions, and societies that business students do. They may participate in marketing challenges or honors society marketing events. Hospitality management is also an excellent field for internships; students can work in hotels, bed and breakfasts, or resorts to gain practical experience and establish contacts for future career endeavors.
Careers With an Online Degree in Hospitality Management
Students with a degree in hospitality management can pursue a wide variety of careers in the hospitality industry, including lodging managers, food service managers, and more. While participating in online hospitality degree programs, students strive to develop the skills they need to succeed in fields like tourism and event planning.
Annual Median Salary: $59,430
Job Growth Rate: 18%
Lodging managers are responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly at hotels, inns, and similar establishments. Some of their duties include making sure lodgings are clean and aesthetically appealing, hiring and managing other staff members, and overseeing budgeting and marketing.
Annual Median Salary: $59,440
Job Growth Rate: 10%
Food service managers oversee restaurants, bars, and other places where food and drinks are served. They’re responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the venue, including ordering supplies, hiring and supervising employees, addressing customer complaints, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
Annual Median Salary: $50,160
Job Growth Rate: 15%
Chefs and head cooks are responsible for preparing food at restaurants, bars, and other dining establishments, from roadside diners to five star restaurants and everything in between. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, chefs may learn skills by taking culinary classes or enrolling in an apprenticeship program.
Annual Median Salary: $49,470
Job Growth Rate: 18%
As the name suggests, event planners help to plan events! This can include meetings, conventions, conferences, weddings, and more. Event planners help to ensure that the event goes smoothly, and they are responsible for managing vendors, inspecting venues, and coordinating services.
Annual Median Salary: $43,810
Job Growth Rate: 20%
Travel agents help customers plan and coordinate travel. This can include arranging for travel, planning trips and packages, making reservations for rental cars, hotel rooms, and flights, and advising clients about must-see sights and attractions. As online resources have made planning travel easier for individuals, demand for travel agents is slower than average, growing at a rate of 5% over the next decade.
Is a Degree in Hospitality Management Worth It?
If you’re thinking about pursuing a degree in this field, you may be wondering what the pros and cons of a job in hospitality management are. Some of the benefits of this field include flexible employment opportunities and room to grow, while some of the cons include high levels of responsibility.
Hospitality management majors can pursue careers in hospitality all over the world. Whether you’ve always dreamed of working in another country or you prefer to settle down in your home state, there are plenty of hospitality-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, and other organizations in almost every country.
Most jobs in this field are in high demand. For example, the demand for event planners is expected to grow 18% over the next decade, and demand for chefs is expected to grow 15%. These rates are significantly higher than the average job growth rate in the U.S., which is climbing at a steady 5% pace through 2031.
A degree in this field may not be necessary for all hospitality jobs. While a hospitality management degree can help students to learn relevant skills, it may not be required for many positions in this field. In many cases, on-the-job learning and previous work experience can be just as valuable.
Hospitality management jobs may require a lot of responsibility. For some career paths — like lodging managers and food service managers — workers may have a high level of responsibility. These employees may need to work long hours, weekends, and evenings in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
While pursuing higher education can be worth it for many students, you should still weigh the financial risks and benefits for your situation. Learn about student loans and see if you can apply for any relevant scholarships to reduce costs.
Is Hospitality a Hard Major?
Hospitality may not be as demanding as some other fields that require advanced technical knowledge, like physics or engineering, but it can be an interesting, rewarding course of study for students looking to pursue leadership roles in this industry.
Like many areas of study, hospitality requires students to learn about a wide range of areas, from best business and accounting practices to the fields of tourism, food and beverage, and more. The curriculum in hospitality online degrees also prompt students to develop their soft skills, like customer service, strategic management, and communication.