Current and prospective hotel and restaurant managers seeking an undergraduate degree have online choices in both associate's and bachelor's degree programs in hotel and restaurant management. Most of these programs offer all classes through distance education, allowing students to log on and view archived lectures at their convenience, within certain time limits. They can communicate with instructors and classmates through e-mail, chat rooms and message boards. Students almost always are required to complete internships in a hotel or restaurant.
Students take courses in basic business principles, including human resources management, accounting and organizational development. They learn the fundamentals of hospitality management through courses in legal issues, hotel operations management, housekeeping management and sanitation. Students may choose electives that will help them meet their career goals, such as resort management and e-commerce.
Associate's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Associate's degree programs in hotel and restaurant management introduce students to sales, housekeeping, sanitation, purchasing, front-office management, food preparation, menu writing, trouble-shooting and quality management in lodging and hospitality. Previous college-level coursework may apply to general education credit requirements for an associate's degree. Most of these program credits are transferrable into a bachelor's degree program, and some schools have partnerships with other universities to ensure a smooth transition.
Program Information and Requirements
Online hotel and restaurant management associate's degree programs take about two years to complete the required 60-62 credit hours of coursework leading to an Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.). All classes are available online; however, students must also complete a specific number of hours working at an approved practice site. Some programs also offer on-campus courses.
Classes are accessed via the Internet, sometimes using a specific educational delivery system. Textbooks, software and class materials are also ordered online, and some schools coordinate delivery through specific vendors.
Associate's Level Courses
Associate's-level coursework in hotel and restaurant management includes business, accounting and managerial classes. General education classes in English, math and science are also common requirements.
Introduction to Hospitality Management
Students explore the current status and future trends in development and growth of the hospitality industry. Career opportunities and segments of hospitality are covered including resorts, casinos, restaurants, travel and tourism.
Food Service, Sanitation and Safety
This class focuses on the principles and procedures used to prevent food-borne illness during food preparation and service. Curriculum includes special projects in menu planning, food preparation, food service, purchasing and hygiene.
Hotel and Restaurant Marketing
Strategic promotion and publicity, research and analysis, strategic planning, e-commerce, market segmentation, advertising, image development and merchandising are some marketing skills covered. Hospitality marketing career opportunities are also a portion of the studies.
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Bachelor's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Bachelor's-level online programs in hotel and restaurant management expand on hospitality, technical and business skills needed in the industry with advanced classes in management, economics, laws and ethics. Prerequisites include a high-school diploma or its equivalent with a minimum grade point average, or an associate's degree. Graduates are typically awarded a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). Some of the programs offer a curriculum transferrable into a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
Program Information and Requirements
Online hotel and restaurant management bachelor's degree programs require approximately 120 credit hours of coursework, and take about four years to complete. Participants must also complete 700-800 hours of supervised internship or on-campus work in a hospitality setting, and some programs also require foreign language fluency or community service hours. All non-practicum courses, assignments and other communication are completed via educational delivery systems, the Internet or e-mail.
Bachelor's Level Courses
Hotel and restaurant management bachelor's programs typically require general education classes in natural and social sciences, humanities, English and math. Other common classes focus on industry-specific skills in business, law and management.
Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
This class studies theories, characteristics, processes, procedures and roles in hotel and restaurant management. Managing performance, motivation, group dynamics, organizational culture and communication processes are areas of concentration.
Finance and Accounting
This course focuses on financial management in hotels and restaurants and how to apply fundamental concepts, like financial statements, and techniques like quantitative and structural analysis. Topics also include capital budgeting, short and long-term financing, managing funds, maximizing value, planning and decision-making.
Hotel and Restaurant Management Laws and Ethics
Administrative, government and common laws related to the hotel and restaurant industries are explored. Students learn ethical and legal issues in hotel and restaurant management, such as serving alcoholic beverages, and applicable legal and ethical codes.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected moderate employment growth in both lodging and food services management, between 2014 and 2024, arising mainly from the need to replace managers who leave the workforce or industry. Lodging managers were expected to see an 8% rise in employment, while food services managers could experience a 5% increase. Most new jobs in food service are expected to be in full or limited-service eating establishments, and a college degree was expected to provide better opportunities in luxury hotels.
As of May of 2015, lodging managers earned an average annual salary of $57,810 and food service managers earned $53,640, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Food service managers with at least an associate's degree and two years of management experience can sit for the exam to become a certified Foodservice Management Professional (FMP), a voluntary professional designation from the National Restaurant Association.
Undergraduate degrees in hotel and restaurant management are available fully online at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. These programs include coursework in food service and safety, marketing and leadership development. Most programs require an internship as well.