Hotel and restaurant management programs are available online at multiple levels - ranging from undergraduate certificates to graduate degrees. These programs can be found in fully online formats and in blended online/on-campus formats. Some programs, especially bachelor's or master's degree programs, may require students to complete some on-campus classes and an internship at an approved hospitality establishment. Majors include hotel and restaurant management, hospitality management and hospitality administration.
Before selecting a program, students may want to consider their career goals, as the different program levels prepare students for different careers. For instance, a certificate or associate's degree may qualify graduates for supervisor or assistant manager positions in smaller establishments; however, a bachelor's degree or higher may be needed for management positions at a full-service hotel or restaurant chain.
Hospitality Management Certificate
Online hotel and restaurant management training is more commonly found within hospitality management or hospitality administration programs at the certificate level. This broad area of study prepares students for entry-level management positions or to advance their current career in the hospitality industry. This program can also act as a stepping stone to higher-level degrees in specialized areas in the hotel and restaurant industry.
Program Information and Requirements
It usually takes two semesters to complete an online hospitality management certificate program. Depending on the specific school, the number of semester hours can range anywhere from 12-24. Many schools offer an online orientation non-credit class; some schools even require it to be taken. Some programs also require a short internship that must be done in-person. Certain schools allow a student's current hospitality-related job to count as internship credit. Coursework for a hospitality management certificate program can be completed entirely online by using the school's online system, such as Blackboard, and students communicate with their professor and classmates via e-mail, online chat rooms or a class website.
Students enrolled in this online certificate program take courses to develop skills in sales and marketing, customer service and leadership. Certain schools may require some English classes as a prerequisite to necessary hospitality courses.
Intro to Hospitality
This distance learning class serves to present and acclimate students to the basics of the hospitality industry. Areas studied include advancement, regulation and administration of the hotel and restaurant industries. Some skills in customer service, leadership and communications are also introduced.
Students learn about the fundamental laws involving taxes, public liability, selling of alcohol and other hospitality-related legal issues. Also covered are the laws involving the safety, security and right to privacy of the guests of a hospitality establishment.
This online course emphasizes the importance of customers to the selling cycle. Students learn methods for obtaining customers and cultivating a client base, as well as ways of calculating and determining customer contentment and satisfaction.
Associate of Applied Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management
An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hotel and Restaurant Management program provides students with a hospitality management education that focuses on hotels and restaurants specifically. The AAS program is more extensive than the hospitality management certificate program and can lead to supervisory or mid-management level employment opportunities. Students that choose to pursue the associate's degree learn specialized skills involving business, accounting, food preparation and front office operations.
Program Information and Requirements
The Associate of Applied Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management distance learning program can usually be completed in four or five semesters. The number of semester hours needed for completion can range anywhere from 60-75, depending on the school. As with the certificate program, some schools require an online orientation.
All courses can be done online in their entirety, with the option to take on-campus classes if the student chooses to. Many schools offer completely asynchronous courses, which means that the student can work on course materials and homework at any time as long as certain deadlines are met. Some schools, however, might require some lectures, group work or tests to be done at an exact time. In-person internships are required and are usually more thorough and last longer than the certificate program.
The associate's degree program has general education requirements, such as foreign language and math, which help students comprehend the more advanced business and accounting classes provided by the AAS program. Program specific courses cover accounting, marketing and management for restaurants and hotels.
Hospitality accounting classes serve to familiarize students with accounting techniques necessary for working in the hospitality industry. Online students learn about the accounting cycle and to prepare balance sheets and financial statements. Students also start to comprehend how to balance financial and moral aspects in the decision-making process.
Food and Beverage
An online food and beverage course covers the purchasing, handling, preparing and serving of food and drinks. Students also learn the basics of restaurant management, as well as skills involving sales and merchandising, taking and holding of reservations, dealing with customer complaints and achieving customer satisfaction.
This class teaches students how to thrive in the mid-management level of the hospitality industry. They learn to translate orders from higher authorities to the employees at a lower level. Students also learn effective methods of hiring and coaching new employees and various leadership skills.
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Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Hotel and Restaurant Management program provides students with extensive instruction in the field of hospitality management, especially in foodservice and lodging establishments. Graduates of the B.S. program possess enough knowledge to become certified by organizations such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). The B.S. program teaches students a wide-reaching set of skills involving decision making, problem solving and human relations.
Program Information and Requirements
Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management distance learning programs often require 120-180 semester hours for graduation which can usually be completed in eight semesters. Many schools require about 30 hours to be upper-division classes.
All classes in this bachelor's degree program may be completed online; however, a B.S. program in hotel and restaurant management often requires hands-on experience. Some schools require as many as 1,000 hours of employment at an establishment related to the hospitality industry.
The bachelor's degree program also requires general education and elective courses. Some hospitality courses act as prerequisites for other hospitality courses which require that they be taken in a certain order.
Students learn the skills necessary for marketing within the hospitality industry as it relates supply and demand, selling strategies and advertising. Emphasis is placed on establishing marketing goals and planning to achieve them.
Advanced Restaurant Management
This online course covers the finer points of managing a restaurant. Topics studied include comparing and contrasting the different types of restaurant ownership (including franchising), formulating a restaurant concept and developing a formal restaurant business plan. Students also learn to plan a menu and the steps needed to get that menu to the guest's table.
Oenology and Viticulture
Students in this online course study the science of making wine. The farming process related to the growing of grapevines and the collection of the grapes themselves is examined. Students also learn about the different types of wine and how the production of each type affects the surrounding areas.
A certificate program in hospitality management can help the recipient become a lodging or food service manager. A larger full-service hotel or restaurant may require a more extensive program such as a bachelor's degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated a 8% and 5% employment growth in the fields of lodging and food service management respectively between the years 2014 and 2024, which is as fast as average when compared to other fields of employment (www.bls.gov).
Receiving an Associate of Applied Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management degree, as opposed to a certificate, can result in a greater chance of being hired by a hotel or restaurant for a mid-management position such as a supervisor or assistant manager, according to the BLS. A bachelor's degree is still preferred by many larger full-service chains, but smaller establishments find the associate's degree to be sufficient. The BLS also reported in 2015 that there were 35,480 and 201,370 jobs in the fields of lodging management and food service management, respectively. Almost half of these workers were self-employed as owners of their own establishments. The AAS program provides ample experience for one to open their own hotel or restaurant.
The online bachelor's degree program in hotel and restaurant management gives the recipient a greater chance of being hired by an upscale full-service hotel or restaurant chain (BLS). It may also provide more opportunities for immediate hiring, or at least a quicker ascent, into upper-management level careers such as general manager of a hotel or restaurant. The BLS reported a broad yearly median income of $49,720 for lodging managers and a median salary of $48,690 for food service managers in 2015. Earning the B.S. is the first step towards the upper reaches of this income range.
Continuing Education Information
Higher-level degrees such as a master's degree or a doctorate in hotel and restaurant management are also available and are even offered online by certain schools. Students have the option to further their education for the reasons of a more specialized area of expertise, increase employment and promotion options or the possibility of teaching at the university level.
Depending on the level of desired employment and the size of the business, students interested in hotel and restaurant management have online degree options that range from certificates to master's degrees. Some of the programs require in-person internships and classes, and coursework ranges from customer service to hospitality and accounting.