Hospitality management is a flexible degree that can be leveraged into a wide variety of career opportunities. Graduates may opt to go into the hotel business as a hotel manager or director of housekeeping, into the restaurant industry as a restaurant or catering manager, into the tourism business as a travel agent or tour operator, or into event planning as a conference organizer or bridal consultant. Many of these careers offer median salaries in the range of $40,000 to $55,000. Students who enter into one of the online hospitality management degree programs on the ranked list below will find themselves studying business management, finance, and marketing concepts in a tightly focused learning environment with hospitality-specific cases and applications. Keep reading to learn more about accreditation and related degree options.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Hospitality Management Degrees
The following 17 schools offer the best online bachelor's in hospitality management degrees, based on their low tuition rates and high mid-career salary potentials. Graduates of the #1 school, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, report earning a median salary of $78,600. At #6, Missouri State University has the least expensive tuition on the list, charging only $8,850 per year for its Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Leadership.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
The University of Massachusett Amherst's Isenberg School of Management offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students in this degree completion program learn how to manage food and beverage services, lodging, events, revenue, and human resources. A total of 120 credits are needed to complete the degree, and at least 45 credits must be earned at UMass. Classes may include Human Resource Management, Service Experience Management, Lodging Operations Management, and Hospitality and Tourism Law.
Through the Blackboard and Moodle learning management systems, students access lesson materials and participate in classroom activities. Resources for distance learners include academic advising services, online tutoring, and accessibility accommodations.
Applicants must have a minimum of 27 transferable credits for admission, with approximately a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Prospective students must submit an application, a personal statement, a professional resume, and all academic transcripts.
#2 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Annual Tuition: $9,637
Median Salary: $74,600
Locations: Carbondale (IL)
The Southern Illinois University (SIU) is comprised of ten schools and colleges and offers more than 200 different degree programs. SIU Carbondale's College of Agricultural Sciences offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management as an degree completion program for those who have already earned an associate degree. The curriculum is the same as the on-campus program. The degree can be finished in four semesters (two years), with a total of 57 credits required for completion. Students take classes in hotel administration, food service sanitation, the dimensions of tourism, front office management, and event entertainment and production.
Desire2Learn is the learning management system that students use throughout their online learning. Class materials, discussion forums, quizzes, and grades are available on this virtual platform. An online writing lab, library, and career assistance are a few of the many resources available to distance learners.
To apply to this program, students can fill out an online application and submit their high school transcripts. ACT or SAT scores are not required.
#3 Washington State University
Annual Tuition: $11,550
Median Salary: $73,700
Locations: Pullman (WA)
Washington State University (WSU) encompasses ten different colleges and offers over 240 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the fully online Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Business Management program, students gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the industry, including lodging, attractions, transportation, and food and beverage. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, and credits can be transferred from prior college-level coursework. Students in this program work independently and must complete an international experience, which can be satisfied by studying abroad, completing an international internship, or additional coursework.
All classes are seven weeks long and are hosted on the Blackboard learning management system. Blackboard tutorials are available to help students get accustomed to using the system to engage with course materials, discussion forums, interactive assignments, and quizzes. WSU Global Campus students have access to online resources such as eTutoring, 24/7 tech support, library services, academic advisors, and virtual mentors.
Those interested in applying must meet the admissions requirements for the Carson College of Business, have a minimum of 27 college credits, and complete prerequisite business courses with at least a C grade. Eligible students can apply to the program by submitting an online application and their academic transcripts.
#4 University of Missouri
Annual Tuition: $11,622
Median Salary: $72,700
Locations: Columbia (MO)
The University of Missouri offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with four different specializations: Conference & Events Planning Management, Food & Beverage Management, Lodging Management, and Sports Venue Management. In addition to specialization coursework, students take general education courses, 15 credits of business core courses, and 22 core hospitality management courses. A total of 120 credits are needed to graduate, and the degree can be completed in four years.
Coursework is available entirely online through the Canvas learning management system; no campus visits are required. Students participate in their classes through chat discussions, recorded lectures, and group projects. Available student services include NetTutor, the writing center, mental health counseling, accessibility resources, and virtual career development tools.
Students can start the program in the fall, spring, or summer terms. To apply, students must fill out an online application and submit their academic transcripts from all prior institutions. Those with 24 or more credits of previous college-level coursework may apply as transfer students.
#5 Johnson & Wales University-Online
Annual Tuition: $15,180
Median Salary: $74,000
Locations: Providence (RI)
Johnson & Wales University offers ten online Bachelor of Science degrees in the hospitality industry. The programs cover food and beverage, event management, food industry compliance, hotels and lodging, restaurant management, sport management, entertainment, and tourism. Each of the programs features 11-week courses and can be completed in four years. The number of credits required to complete the programs varies by degree and range between 120 to 182.25 credits. Some programs also require an internship. There is an option for students to earn a minor in Human Resource Management.
Classes are delivered using uLearn, an extension of Blackboard, and are primarily asynchronous. For students needing technical support, there is a University IT Help Desk. Distance learners also have access to virtual tutoring, dedicated academic advisors, and disability accommodations.
There are three start dates for the program in the academic year. Students are eligible if they have earned some college credit or have at least two years of professional experience post-high school. The application can be completed online, and students must also submit their academic transcripts and resume.
#6 Missouri State University
Annual Tuition: $8,850
Median Salary: $67,945
Locations: Springfield (MO)
Missouri State University (MSU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Leadership with six specializations: General Operations, Lodging, Food and Beverage, Tourism, Club Management, and Senior Living Management. The degree can be completed in four years. A total of 54 credits are needed for the major. The university also offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Leadership designed for students who already have an Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management or Culinary Arts. A total of 45-46 hours are required to complete the major, which includes an internship.
Online coursework at MSU is delivered via the Blackboard learning management system, where students can submit assignments, email, chat, and participate in discussion boards. Distance learners at MSU have access to career counseling and technical support.
Those applying as first-year students must have completed the required high school core curriculum, which includes classes in English, math, social studies, science, and fine arts. Overall GPA and SAT/ACT scores are also taken into consideration.
#7 Texas Tech University
Annual Tuition: $9,540
Median Salary: $66,600
Locations: Lubbock (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Texas Tech University (TTU) offers an online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management. Students receive a broad education in the lodging, food, beverage, and hospitality business. They also gain hands-on experience in labs that focus on hotel operations, food production, and computers. The program also provides instruction regarding the business aspect of hospitality management, including accounting, communication, management, law, and marketing. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, and students who have already earned an associate degree can earn this bachelor’s degree two years. The program includes up to 33 credits in culinary or hospitality courses from a community college and 40 credits at TTU.
Online courses follow the same schedule as on-campus classes. Some classes may be available in five-week terms; however, students should contact the university for details. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management services. Distance learners at Texas Tech have access to library services and technical support. Graduates of the program can pursue careers as executive chefs, food and beverage directors, hotel managers, event planners, catering directors, and personnel managers.
Applicants should submit an online applications, official high school transcripts or equivalent, and SAT/ACT scores.
#8 Oregon State University
Annual Tuition: $14,850
Median Salary: $68,545
Locations: Corvallis (OR)
Oregon State University (OSU) offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialty in Hospitality Management. The program can be completed entirely online. The 24-credit concentration includes six courses, covering service automation, service management, revenue management, online marketing, vacation property management, and restaurant management. A total of 180 quarter credits are required to complete the degree, and there are four start dates per year. Credits may be transferred from prior college coursework, but at least 45 of the last 75 credits of the degree must be earned at OSU. Students have the option of adding a minor to the program.
Online classes at OSU may contain both synchronous and asynchronous elements. Asynchronous components will be delivered on Canvas while synchronous session will be held on Zoon. Online students at OSU have access to tutoring, writing and math assistance, technical support, and library services.
Students applying as first-year students are assessed the quality and level of high school coursework. It is preferred that they have an overall minimum GPA of 3.0. OSU is a test-optional institution, so students are not obligated to submit standardized test scores.
#9 Florida International University
Annual Tuition: $10,376
Median Salary: $66,700
Locations: Miami (FL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at Florida International University is available with seven different concentrations: Beverage Management, Hotel/Lodging Management, Restaurant/Culinary Management, Spirits Management, Event Management, Travel and Tourism Management, and Entertainment Management. Students in the 120-credit online program fulfill an internship of either 300 or 500 hours, where they gain experience in all major areas of the hospitality industry. Additionally, a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s of Science in Hospitality Management is available as an online program. Students in the BS in Hospitality program that have completed 75-90 credits with a minimum 3.2 GPA can gain admittance to the dual-degree program.
Coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. With this tool, students can log in to their classroom, access assignments and audio and video material, interact with instructors and fellow students, reply to message boards, and more. Online student have access to a success coach and technical assistance.
Start dates are available in the fall, spring, and summer. Admission requirements for first-year students include SAT/ACT scores and high school transcripts. Transfer students should submit transcripts from previous college coursework. An overall minimum 2.5 GPA is preferred.
#10 Arizona State University
Annual Tuition: $15,900
Median Salary: $65,600
Locations: Tempe (AZ)(and 4 others)
The online Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Food Industry Management prepares graduates for management positions in the food industry. The curriculum includes subjects such as finance, marketing, human resources, and supply chain management, as well as food markets, retailing, and food product innovation. Each course covers both theory and industry practice. The 120-credit program is comprised of 41 classes in a 7.5-week format.
Student services for distance learners at ASU include academic support and advising, career development, wellness support, financial advising, and more.
Prospective students with fewer than 12 college credits are considered first-year students. Applicants must have graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class, have a minimum 3.0 GPA in competency classes, and a ACT score of 22 (24 for nonresidents), or an SAT score of 1120 (1180 for nonresidents). ACT/SAT scores are required for both scholarship consideration and course placement. Those with a lower GPA can be admitted if they complete online classes at ASU and earn a GPA of 2.75 or higher.
#11 University of South Carolina-Columbia
Annual Tuition: $20,856
Median Salary: $64,700
Locations: Columbia (SC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Palmetto College at the University of South Carolina - Columbia offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management degree completion program. Students may select a concentration in Hotels, Food Service, and Tourism. Coursework covers management, government regulations relating to hotels and restaurants, nutrition, catering management, club management, and marketing. Students must complete a practicum during the course of study. Full-time students can complete the degree in two years.
The major is 57 credits, and a total of 120 credits are needed to complete the degree. Students must receive a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the program to receive a diploma. The career center at USC provides career counseling, resume and interview assistance, and job search help. Online students also have access to academic advising and technical support.
Prospective students must have 45–60 credits from previous college coursework. Applicants must submit an online application and transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities to apply.
#12 University of Central Florida
Annual Tuition: $11,515
Median Salary: $57,200
Locations: Orlando (FL)(and 7 others)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The University of Central Florida (UCF) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. The curriculum covers operations, customer service, finance, marketing, communication, and human resources. Students also learn about niche areas such as golf club management, park/attraction management, and lodging management. The 120-credit program is available to students with at least two years of relevant work experience. The coursework is designed to help professionals further their careers into administrative and executive positions in the hospitality field.
Distance learners at UCF have access to academic coaching, writing assistance, library services, the university bookstore, and technical support. The university has a mobile app that lets students connect to online classes, check email, and access other services.
Those applying as first-year students (less than 12 transferrable college credits) must submit official high school or home school transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and transcripts for any college credits previously earned. Transfer students must provide transcripts from all post-secondary school education as well as SAT/ACT scores. High school transcripts may also be required to verify that foreign language requirements have been met.
#13 East Carolina University
Annual Tuition: $21,009
Median Salary: $60,836
Locations: Greenville (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at East Carolina University (ECU) allows students to tailor the degree to their particular interest of interest with three different concentrations. In the Convention and Special Events Management concentration, students work on various projects and complete a required internship. The Food and Beverage Management track allows students to receive hands-on experience in a culinary lab and complete a required internship. Students have the opportunity to learn directly from professions in the Lodging Management concentration. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, and students must have a minimum grade of C- in each course.
Online students at ECU have access to career services, library services, academic support, writing assistance, tutoring, and technical support.
First-year students must have completed specific high school courses, earning a certain number of credits in English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language. Official high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores should be submitted with the application. Transfer students with at least 24 transferrable credits are not required to submit standardized test scores but must submit transcripts/GPA information.
#14 Northeastern State University
Annual Tuition: $14,790
Median Salary: $55,700
Locations: Tahlequah (OK)
At Northeastern State University (NSU), the Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality and Tourism Management is available as both an online and on-campus degree. The program focuses on three major aspects of the industry: meeting and convention management, gaming operations and procedures, and tourist destination development. Coursework covers microeconomics, communications, marketing, finance, legal matters, tourism, meeting management, and tourism marketing. The 124-credit program can be completed in four years. Students must complete at least 30 credits at NSU.
Online classrooms are asynchronous and students can access course materials and participate in the course 24/7. Students can communicate with instructors through email, instant messenger, and discussion forums. Online learners have access to career assistance, workshops, seminars, and other services.
First-year applicants must submit official high school transcripts, GPA, class rank, and ACT scores. NSU generally requires an overall minimum GPA of 2.7 or an ACT score of 20. Transfer students with 29 credits or fewer must have a minimum GPA of 1.7 and completed first-year student requirements. Students with more than 30 college credits need a GPA of at least 2.0.
#15 University of Utah
Annual Tuition: $31,736
Median Salary: $62,464
Locations: Salt Lake City (UT)
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism - Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Utah delve into a study of tourism policies, biodiversity, visitor management, destination marketing, event management, customer service, and the cultural and ethical aspects and implications of tourism. Students can choose to focus on hospitality management, sustainable tourism management, or tourism enterprise and marketing management. The program can be completed in five semesters or four semesters and requires a summer internship. The degree requires a total of 133 credits, with 42 credits in the major.
Coursework is entirely online, but students can choose to take some classes on campus. There are start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students who complete the program may earn the Hospitality Operations Certificate from the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Online learning is asynchronous and includes group assignments, class discussions, assignments, and peer reviews. Distance learner services include academic support, technical support, tutoring, library services, and counseling.
Applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended educational institutions, including high school. First-year students must also submit ACT/SAT scores. Transfer students with an associate degree must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.35.
#16 University of Alabama
Annual Tuition: $11,250
Median Salary: $46,200
Locations: Tuscaloosa (AL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at the University of Alabama (UA) allows students to focus on one of three areas: Convention Sales and Services, Food Service Management and Catering, or Hotel/Resort Industries. Coursework covers areas such as management of food and beverage, employee supervision and management, basic accounting, hospitality marketing and law, hotel sales and events, and personal financial planning. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, including 49 credits in hospitality management. Students must complete an internship or practicum in an approved organization.
Courses are taught by the same faculty that teach on campus. Students do not have to follow the on-campus schedule; they may continue to take classes until all the program requirements are met. Distance learners at UA have access to support services such as tutoring, writing assistance, career help, online library resources, and technical support.
Those applying to the program as first-year students should submit high school transcripts, high school class schedules, and ACT/SAT scores. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Transfer students must submit transcripts from previous college coursework and have a minimum GPA of 2.0.
#17 Norfolk State University
Annual Tuition: $16,920
Median Salary: $43,600
Locations: Norfolk (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Norfolk State University can be completed either on-campus or online in a cohort format. The curriculum covers areas accounting, sanitation principles, nutrition, principles of marketing, computers in hospitality, dining room and beverage management, purchasing, and front office management. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree. Students must complete all freshman and sophomore courses before enrolling in junior- and senior-year courses.
Online learning is generally asynchronous, and students have 24/7 access to coursework. The Blackboard online learning management system is used to deliver coursework, which includes webinars, lectures, discussions, group projects, virtual study rooms, class activities, tests and quizzes, live streaming, online media, and more. Students have access to Blackboard tutorials, online textbooks, and technical assistance.
Those applying as first-year students should have completed prerequisite high school classes in English, math, science, social studies, and arts. Students under 21 must submit SAT/ACT scores, recommendation letters, and evidence of leadership skills. Transfer students must submit transcripts for all previously completed college coursework and should have an overall GPA of at least 2.0.
Online Hospitality Management Degree Overview & Career Information
Online associate degrees in hospitality management are typically offered as an Associate of Science (AS) degree. These programs are often designed to train graduates specifically for the workforce, but some are designed to segue into a bachelor's degree in hospitality. Common courses include food science, commercial food preparation, organization and management, tourism planning, and restaurant management. Most programs also require a small grouping of general education classes in topics like personal finance, college writing, and literature.
The online bachelor’s degree in hospitality management is the degree most likely to lead to supervisory roles such as grounds supervisor, convention services manager, event manager, and guest service representative. The bachelor’s degree program is often a business administration degree with a specialization in hospitality management. Core classes include subjects such as accounting in the hospitality industry, operations, food production management, and leadership in the hospitality setting. Many programs require a certain number of years of professional experience in hospitality or a certain number of documented hours of work experience. Many online programs in this field require an internship.
Online master’s degree programs and graduate certificates in hospitality management address advanced business skills for the hospitality industry. Students study strategic management, information technology, organizational behavior, and law as they apply to the hospitality industry. Electives can be used to tailor the program to the particular hospitality area students plan to work in, such as casino or restaurant management. Most graduate programs require an internship in a management or administrative setting.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Hospitality Management
There are relatively few bachelor's degree programs in the United States that are dedicated to hospitality management; more popularly, students enroll in a Bachelor of Business Administration program that offers specializations in hospitality management. As business schools struggle to attract business students, they often implement more and more specialization programs to suit the specific needs of career-minded college students, and hospitality management is one such specialization. A bachelor's degree program usually requires a four year, full-time commitment from students. Once students graduate with a degree in hospitality management, they will be able to market themselves at hotels and similar environments around the world.
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 literature, writing, history, science, arts, and mathematics. The rest of the program will involve courses specific to hospitality management. Some of the classes that students might encounter include 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 a foundation for the rest of the program.
Fundamentals of Accounting: A basic accounting course is generally required for any graduate in hospitality management. Students will 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. Students will 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.
Strategic Marketing: Another important skill for any manager is how to market a business to bring in the most money. This class covers 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.
The Importance of Accreditation
If you decide to invest your time and money in higher education, it's wise to make sure that the program you select is of the very highest quality. The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) is an accrediting body that can help you choose a worthy associate or bachelor's degree program. While specific programmatic accreditation is not required for hospitality management positions, it can be useful for identifying programs that cover particular student outcomes and for narrowing down the field of prospective degree programs you’re considering.
Programmatic accreditation is a process by which a particular degree program or type of school is evaluated by a third-party organization. Unlike institutional accreditation, programmatic accreditation cannot be used for federal financial aid funding, but it does indicate that a program meets high standards, and it may help you earn professional certifications or credentials later in your career.
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. ACPHA ensures that a program's curriculum covers subjects such as hospitality marketing, operations, accounting, financial management, legal issues, ethical considerations, organization theory, and administrative processes. ACPHA also makes sure that students have access to sufficient hands-on experience so that they leave their degree program with the appropriate skills.
Along with the course curriculum, ACPHA also evaluates the qualifications of a school’s instructional staff and their effectiveness as teachers. ACPHA also investigates the student services available, such as counseling, industry exposure, and clear program standards. Each school’s financial status is also assessed to make sure the program is solvent and able to meet its financial demands. The school’s library collection, learning facilities, and audio-visual equipment are also taken into account.
A hospitality management degree is closely related to many other degrees in the field of hotel and food services and hospitality management. The most closely related programs are hotel management and food and beverage management. These degrees cover many of the same topics as hospitality management, but they are more focused in their approach. Hotel management is specific to the management of hotels, large casinos, or resorts, while food and beverage management is often sought after by those interested in creating restaurant chains or upscale food or beverage establishments.
Tourism and travel is also closely related to the field of hospitality. A tourism and travel degree focuses on ways to increase tourism, provide tourism-related services to consumers, and capitalize on both business and leisure travel. Many who graduate with this degree work for hotels, cruise lines, local tourism offices, or travel agencies. Many students who pursue a degree in hospitality management might also be attracted to a degree in business or marketing. The important skills of running or establishing a business, working effectively with clients and customers, and successfully marketing a product or idea are relevant and can be easily transferred to careers within the hospitality industry.
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