Online Hospitality Management Undergraduate Degree Program Options

Dec 04, 2019

Get info about online programs in hospitality management. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

An online hospitality management associate's or bachelor's degree program allows students to take many courses on their own schedules. In addition to coursework and participation, most online programs require students to seek an internship or employment with a hospitality venue, such as a hotel or restaurant. These must be approved by faculty in charge of the distance-learning program, but can take place close to the student's home.

At the associate's degree level, hospitality management courses may be part of a business management program. Students will learn basic business skills that can be applied in any industry and may be able to choose some courses specifically related to the hospitality field. Students may be able to specialize at the bachelor's degree level, choosing programs such as food service management, event planning or hotel management.

Associate's Degree in Hospitality Management

Although there are only a few associate's degree programs available for this field online, hospitality management training may be offered through programs geared toward business management. Related programs include those for travel and tourism, food service management and event planning. When choosing an online associate's degree program that will prepare them for a career in hospitality management, individuals should seek programs that teach basic office skills, business leadership, financial planning and customer service. Most programs expect applicants to have a high school diploma or its equivalent; previous experience in a food service or hospitality industry may also be looked upon favorably by admissions boards.

Program Information and Requirements

Much like their campus-based counterparts, distance-learning associate's degree programs for hospitality management can typically be completed in two years. However, because the online delivery format allows for some scheduling flexibility, students may be able to complete their credits in a shorter or longer amount of time. Some schools require a practical component to be completed at an approved site local to the student. Working in a restaurant or hotel provides online enrollees with the real-world experience necessary to succeed on the job.

Internet-based associate's degree programs in the field of hospitality are traditionally hosted by schools that also offer such programs at their physical campus; therefore, the same professors handle all students, and the curricula are nearly or exactly the same. Those enrolled in online programs can access lectures and materials through a portal such as Blackboard, which can also be used to submit tests and assignments. Students are expected to have a home or office computer as well as reliable access to the Web.

List of Common Hospitality Management Courses

In addition to general education units, associate's degree programs in hospitality management comprise core classes about business administration, budget control, food services, customer satisfaction and the role of hospitality in the global market. Some schools allow for credits to be earned based on relevant experience in hospitality industries; candidacy may be determined by proficiency exam scores.

Business Management

Those who wish to excel in the business of hospitality must first master basic concepts in math, accounting, team leadership and human resources. Introductory business courses introduce these premises, which hospitality students will build upon as they complete an undergraduate degree program.

Hospitality Marketing

Students learn how to market hotels, lodges and other hospitality establishments based on targeted audience, location and classification. This class discusses marketing hospitality venues to individuals, families or businesses based on such emphases as event hosting, recreation or travel convenience.

Customer Service in Hospitality

Oral and written communication is emphasized in this course, which also covers aspects of conflict resolution. Aspiring hospitality managers learn to build and maintain customer relationships.

Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management

At the bachelor's degree level, students may prefer to specialize their hospitality management education in order to be best prepared for a specific career goal, such as bakery owner or hotelier. Online programs may allow concentrations in such areas as food services or tourism. Some schools also offer an online minor in hospitality management for those who are majoring in complementary fields such as business, culinary arts or organizational development.

Program Information and Requirements

Because online hospitality management undergraduate degree programs are offered asynchronously, there is no fixed pace or due date for most assignments. However, some exams or assignments may have final deadlines.

To enroll in distance-learning classes, students must have continued access to a computer with high-speed Internet. Because this degree covers sub-disciplines such as business, computers and technology, they should have current standard operating software such as Windows and Microsoft Office Suite.

List of Common Hospitality Management Courses

Coursework includes general education classes, electives and major requirements. Classes are commonly divided between lower- and upper-division options, with some course sequence flexibility within these two tiers.

Understanding the Hospitality Industry

At the beginning of a bachelor's degree program for hospitality management, students learn the various divisions and job roles that fall within this field. They explore past, present and future trends within the hospitality industry on both a domestic and worldwide scale.

Hospitality Management Roles

This course examines the hierarchy of workers within common hospitality trades such as the food service and lodging industries. Learning business structures helps those who wish to eventually hold supervisory positions navigate their way to the top and oversee those who are appointed to work beneath them.

Accounting for Hospitality

Students learn how to manage finances for successful event, tourism and hospitality endeavors. This includes aspects of budgeting, banking, billing, negotiating, tax accounting and fiscal responsibility. Applications range from small transactions, such as one-time direct dealings with guests and customers, to the money management demands of hospitality business ownership.

Technology in Hospitality

In the hospitality industry, it is necessary to be able to understand and operate basic computer systems for booking, reservations and website management. This course may also broach such topics as e-commerce, data analytics and virtual check-in.

Career Information for Graduates

Those who possess an associate's degree in hospitality management are qualified for entry-level roles, such as desk clerk, personal assistant, server or guest relations staff. With experience, these individuals can achieve advanced positions with greater responsibility and higher salaries. To get a head-start in the field, they may wish to enroll in a bachelor's degree program.

Those with a bachelor's degree are qualified to pursue numerous leadership jobs in the realm of hospitality. These may include supervisory or management positions within hotels and lodges, tourism bureaus, travel agencies, restaurants, convention centers, event planning agencies, sports management firms or amusement parks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management is typically promoted from within, and these opportunities are more widely available to those with 4-year undergraduate degrees than those with less formal education. Although salary information varies dramatically according to exact career role, all leisure and hospitality employees were reported to earn an average hourly wage of $16.69 in October 2019 (

Continuing Education Information

Those with a hospitality management undergraduate degree may wish to pursue a master's degree in the field. Because this field is so broad, there is no single governing organization for professionals; however, those with experience in the field are likely to find associations and affiliations related to their specific career, such as parks and recreation officiating, restaurant management, event planning or hotel management.

Students interested in an online hospitality management undergraduate degree program are typically offered these programs in a hybrid format that combines online coursework with internships or employment in the field. Courses that are studied in these programs include hospitality management roles, accounting for hospitality and technology in hospitality.

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