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Best Online Associate in Hospitality Management Degrees

Apr 15, 2021

What is an Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree?

Hospitality is an industry of professionals working skilled service jobs. These workers can deal with food and beverage, hotels, or even experiences such as theme parks. As such, an online associate degree in hospitality management gives students the opportunity to learn leadership and coordination abilities to help them succeed.

Students interested in this field are likely to find that it offers flexibility and a degree of professional freedom. This is because service careers are often needed in most parts of the world. Therefore, students may find that skills gained from an online hospitality management associate degree enable them to access opportunities such as hospitality jobs abroad.

An associate degree may be more accessible than a bachelor's degree because the program is shorter in length and thus likely costs less money and commitment. Additionally, the online component can be attractive to students who are interested in learning about hospitality in a flexible, non-traditional classroom.

Who Should Pursue an Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree?

There are several factors that might make a student well-suited to an online hospitality management associate degree. For one thing, students may want to consider their financial resources. Associate degrees are frequently less expensive than their bachelor counterparts as it's a shorter program. Additionally, attending an online course can eliminate the need for transportation costs.

However, an online course might also be a challenge for students without reliable computer equipment. A consistent internet connection is also a consideration. This can be especially important if the program includes any live-streamed classes.

Associate degrees may be a smart choice for those who would like to enter the hospitality industry as quickly as possible. An associate degree demonstrates a certain level of skill beyond a high school education or G.E.D. equivalent. In addition, many four-year schools allow the transfer of credits from an associate degree. This makes an associate degree a wise choice for those who are considering earning a bachelor's degree in the future.

Application, Admissions, and Enrollment for Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree Programs

Each program will likely have its own specific requirements for applications, admissions, and enrollment. Students are thus encouraged to seek out this info from the school they are interested in. However, there are a few factors that tend to be similar from program to program.

Nearly all associate programs will require applicants to hold a valid high school diploma or the G.E.D. equivalent. Other possible required materials may include high school transcripts, personal statements, or resumes. Some schools may also charge a fee to apply. Application deadlines typically occur twice a year, in accordance with the semester system.

Many schools have curriculum requirements. These may include general education courses or classes directly related to hospitality management. However, students may also get the opportunity to choose electives depending on the program. For example, they may be able to choose classes that focus on a certain element of the service industry. This can be a valuable opportunity to tailor their education towards their professional interests.

Finally, technical requirements are essential to meet if students want to manage a consistent education experience. Many schools will lay these out before the application phase to ensure students will be prepared. Those interested in online programs should probably make sure that they have a reliable computer and internet connection. Additionally, schools may charge a fee for online classes in order to maintain their on-site technology, helping them facilitate the process.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of an Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree Program?

There are some factors that students may want to consider when choosing to pursue an online hospitality management associate degree program. Not every student will view these in the same way. Therefore, students might want to consider their abilities and professional goals before deciding on a program.

One important element is the isolated nature of the education. This can be both a positive and a negative. For instance, students may enjoy the flexibility and privacy of an online course. This might also set them up to succeed in hospitality work from home jobs. However, many hospitality management jobs require face-to-face interaction with both colleagues and customers. As such, students may not feel that they are prepared for social jobs by online courses.

Another thing students may want to consider is the physical element of many service jobs. For example, a restaurant manager may need to stand for long periods of time and assist in moving or cleaning from time to time. As such, while an online course may be an accessible option for many, it may not reflect the actual job market of physical requirements.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree?

An online hospitality management associate degree usually requires the completion of around 60 credits. If undertaken full-time, this can usually be fulfilled within 2 years of study. Of these 60 credits, 30 of them tend to be general education. These are courses meant to create well-rounded students. Therefore, they are usually outside the realm of hospitality courses and may include things such as foreign languages or history classes. Around 20 credits are dedicated to hospitality management, with the remaining 10 reserved for elective options.

How Much Does an Online Associate Degree in Hospitality Management Cost?

Tuition for this program will vary between schools. However, students can reasonably expect to pay a total of $17,100 to $31,000 for a full associate program. Some programs offer students the option to pay by individual credit, which may be a wiser financial choice for students attending part-time. Additionally, there are often administrative fees even for the online course, which may include a technology fee or a fee for any transferred credits. Students may also want to consider the associated costs of online education, such as increased internet usage, extended need for electricity, or the purchasing of a computer in order to take the course.

Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree Coursework

Coursework is likely to vary between schools and concentrations. However, students might expect to encounter some of the following course during their degree:

  • Food management, where students can learn how to efficiently oversee the distribution of consumables in a sanitary manner.
  • Hospitality ethics, where students have the opportunity to learn moral principles in the application of service from hotels to casino jobs.
  • Accounting, a course that can equip students with a general understanding of financial principles core to the service industry.

Students may also need to fulfill general education requirements or internships to graduate.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate Degree in Hospitality Management?

Hospitality is a wide and diverse field. As such, students may find that there are a number of unique hospitality jobs for them to choose from. An associate degree can help open the door to these employment opportunities because it demonstrates a certain ability for relevant management skills, such as leadership and critical decision making.

Students may also choose to continue their education. This can either be done immediately after obtaining an online associate degree in hospitality management or later on. One benefit of obtaining a four-year degree later into a career is that students may have a better idea of what their industry expects of them. They can then choose programs that will best serve their future professional needs. Whether students are looking to expand their education or begin a career, they might want to consider an online associate degree as their starting point.

Begin a Career as a Gaming Service Manager

A gaming service manager is a professional who serves customers visiting gambling establishments. They oversee others in their establishment, such as poker dealers or waiters on the casino floor. They typically must have a thorough understanding of the games they oversee, as well as organizational skills and the ability to handle any disputes that arise. This job often takes place in a casino but may take place anywhere that gambling occurs, such as a horse racetrack. Additionally, these jobs usually take place outside of traditional office hours and often require work on nights, weekends, or holidays. Students can usually obtain work with a high school diploma but some employers may favor an associate or bachelor's degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a gaming service professional is around $27,050 or $13.01 per hour. The BLS also predicts a very fast 10 percent growth rate for the 2019-2029 period. This is because many states are expected to expand their commercial gaming sites as tax revenues favor their establishment. The highest paying states for gambling managers are Colorado, New Jersey, and Nevada, in that order.

Begin a Career as a Food Service Manager

A food service manager is a professional who oversees the daily operation of restaurants. They may also be needed in scenarios that serve food as a secondary purpose, such as sports stadiums or bars. Food service managers thus may work in a wide variety of environments. Additionally, they usually must work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Food service managers are typically required to have pristine customer service skills. This can be necessary to boost sales or handle complaints. They also must be able to work in a hectic and fast-paced environment on a daily basis. Management skills such as organizing shift schedules or coordinating seating charts may also be useful. A high school diploma may qualify students for this position; however, they may find that an associate degree or experience in the industry helps their employment chances.

The BLS estimates that the median annual wage for food service managers is $56,590, or $27.21 per hour. The BLS projects a relatively slow growth rate of 1 percent for the 2019-2029 period. The organization suggests that applicants with degrees may have a better chance of employment. The highest paying states for a food service manager are New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, in that order.

What Is the Difference Between a Hotel Manager and a Regional Hotel Manager?

A hotel manager is typically responsible for a single hotel location. They may be required to complete such activities as keeping track of financials, overseeing other hotel employees, or meeting the needs of high-level clients. This work may also be spread over several managers. This can allow them to specialize, such as one professional working on the front-office issues and another overseeing any conventions that occur at the location. Hotel managers can usually obtain employment with a high school diploma, though work experience may be helpful as well.

By contrast, a regional hotel manager typically has more responsibilities. They may be in charge of the local managers, reviewing their performance and providing feedback as necessary. Regional hotel managers might also be expected to take on more business tasks, such as marketing depending on the hotel chain. Finally, regional hotel managers typically must meet different qualifications. Therefore, more experience or a degree may be helpful in gaining employment.

Accreditation for Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree Programs

Accreditation is the process by which a private regional organization recognizes the academic offerings of an institution. These organizations are in turn approved by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the governmental Department of Education, or both. As an accredited school suggests a certain level of academic excellence, it may be helpful in obtaining future employment. Additionally, only students attending accredited programs are eligible for federal financial aid.

Individual programs may also be accredited. For online hospitality courses, the body that evaluates quality is the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). This organization specializes in gauging the offerings of service courses. Program accreditation may help to ensure that classes within the niche of hospitality are thorough.

Transfer Options After Completing an Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree

A benefit of earning an online hospitality management associate degree is that it can provide credits to later be transferred into a four-year program. Pursuing a higher degree may lead to more plentiful or higher-paying employment opportunities. As such, students may want to assess how easy it will be to transfer their credits.

Requirements will likely vary between different institutions. However, associate programs often specify how many of their credits will be transferable. These often include general education requirements, as these are less likely to be vastly different between schools. Additionally, students might find that pursuing a four-year degree at the same institution where they obtained their associate degree increases the number of transferable credits.

A common option for bachelor's degrees to pursue after completing an online hospitality management associate degree is also hospitality management, which builds on previous knowledge and provides a deeper understanding of topics already covered. Nevertheless, students may also choose to branch out a bit from the service industry, majoring in such fields as marketing or business.

What Are Other Hospitality Management Degree Options?

There are a variety of other degree options available to students interested in hospitality. An associate degree is not necessarily required to pursue the following programs. However, students may find that an associate degree prepares them to enter further classes with an initial understanding of the field. Additionally, bachelor's degrees often allow students with associate degrees to transfer credits. This may save students time and money or allow them to split their education up in a way that makes sense to them. Higher degree levels may qualify students for desirable positions, such as hospitality jobs that require travel.

Online Bachelor's Programs in Hospitality Management

An online bachelor's degree in hospitality management is typically more in-depth than its associate counterpart. This is partly because the programs often include around 120 credits, which typically can be completed in four part-time years. This extended program schedule usually allows for more topics to be covered. Additionally, those topics already covered by an associate degree may have enough time to be covered more thoroughly. Students considering an associate degree may also want to consider their ability to transfer any completed credits to a bachelor's degree.

Online Master's Programs in Hospitality Management

An online master's in hospitality management is a more rigorous undertaking than either an associate or bachelor's degree in the same field. The credit hours vary between programs but typically fall around 30. As such, they can usually be completed in around a year if done full-time. These degrees almost always require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree, because master's degrees often build upon the knowledge gained in lower degrees. Students who are particularly interested in career advancement in the hospitality field may want to consider pursuing a master's.

Online Doctoral Programs in Hospitality Management

Students who are interested in pursuing a high degree of education in the field of hospitality management might want to consider a doctoral degree. These programs of study are typically long commitments and can potentially last up to 7 years. There is a heavy focus on independent research. As such, students interested in this degree option may want to consider if they'd like to investigate patterns in the field of hospitality. Students might thus want to investigate this path if they're interested in the larger themes of the hospitality industry.

Online Certificate Programs in Hospitality Management

A certificate program usually offers a more specialized view of a field. Typically, this is also more narrow. The length varies between subjects but usually falls around 30 credits for hospitality. Many students opt for certificates as they offer a relatively quick way to gain knowledge about a certain part of the industry. For example, students might choose to obtain a hotel administration certificate if they wish to change career paths from something such as restaurant management.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Hospitality Management Online Associate Degrees

Higher education often comes with a related cost. As such, students may want to investigate their options for funding an online associate degree in hospitality management. One area to do so is the Free Application Student for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Through this process, students with an American citizenship can apply at no cost to discover what types of federal aid they qualify for. This may include work-study programs, scholarships, or loan options. However, it should be noted that FAFSA is only available to students who are applying to accredited institutions. Therefore, students may want to consider this when deciding on a program.

Alternatively, students may want to pursue scholarships unique to the hospitality industry. One such scholarship is the California Hotel and Lodging Association's Hospitality Foundation Scholarships. This scholarship is available to any legal residents of California who are at least 12 credits into an accredited two or four-year degree. There is also a minimum GPA requirement of 2.75, as well as the stipulation that applicants must have worked in the service industry previously in a non-internship capacity. The award amount is variable and will be paid directly to the student's institution.

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