Distance Learning Degree Programs in Hospitality Management

Research online hospitality management courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

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Essential Information

Distance learning hospitality management programs can lead to entry-level employment or career advancement in the hotel, restaurant or tourism industries, depending on the degree level. These programs are offered at the certificate, associate's, bachelor's, and master's level. Some undergraduate programs require prior completion of some college coursework for admission, while graduate programs require prior completion of a bachelor's program.

These programs are offered fully online and in a hybrid format. In hybrid programs, students may have to complete in-person requirements such as lab work, internships or practica. Graduates are qualified to plan and execute the operations of inns, eateries and institutional food service departments.

Program Information and Requirements

Admission requirements vary based on the program level. Associate's degrees, often found at community colleges, may not require more than placement test scores and a high school diploma to enter the program. Four-year institutions could require students to have previously earned a minimum number of undergraduate credits. Prospective graduate students must have a bachelor's degree and may be required to submit resumes documenting their relevant work experience in the field.

Most online degree-granting institutions offer the same course curricula as on-campus programs, so distance learners will receive the same degree as if they'd earned their degrees on campus. Although students could complete all of their coursework online, some programs require on-site internships or other supervised experiences in an approved real-world setting. Distance learning programs use virtual classrooms containing lectures, assignments, tests and discussion forums to deliver course content.

Certificate in Hospitality Management

Online certificate programs in hospitality management provide students with the basic marketing, accounting, administrative and food service skills necessary to obtain a managerial position in the hospitality industry. While exact course requirements vary from one institution to the next, most distance learning certificate programs require completion of 21-25 credit hours and could be completed in around a year of full-time study.

Course Topics

Among the many topics covered in interactive online classes are:

  • Food handling sanitation
  • Hotel and restaurant facilities management
  • Tourism marketing
  • Institutional food purchasing.

Associate of Science in Hospitality Management

Taking around two years to complete, hospitality management online associate's degree programs consist of approximately 65 credit hours and prepare students for supervisory employment in the hospitality industry. These degrees can be earned via distance learning; however, some program curricula require students to complete an internship or practicum at a hotel or restaurant in their area. Many Associate of Science (AS) degree programs in hospitality management require an online internship course, which helps students analyze their work experiences.

Course Topics

This type of degree program commonly combines applied education with numerous theoretical courses, including the following:

  • Hospitality operations management
  • Institutional cost control
  • Foundations of nutrition
  • Facilities maintenance

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Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management

The distance learning Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management is intended for students or professionals interested in executive positions at hotel or tourism-related establishments. Most degree programs require completion of about 120 credits, which includes core general education courses, industry-specific studies and online analysis of mandatory field experience. Bachelor's programs usually take about four years to complete, but students who have transferable credits - perhaps as part of a previously earned associate's degree - could finish in less time.

Course Topics

Relevant coursework for the hospitality management major generally includes topics like hospitality law, food and beverage preparation, personnel supervision, lodging management and hotel franchising. Many programs mandate students to choose an area of concentration, such as:

  • Casinos and gaming halls
  • Spas and resorts
  • Conventions and special events
  • Food and beverages

Mandatory lab work and internships are the only elements of these degree programs that cannot be completed online. Students may fulfill these requirements at local colleges or hospitality institutions, and distance learning programs will most likely count them towards graduation with prior approval.

Master of Science in Hospitality Management

Graduate degree programs in this field are geared toward current hospitality professionals who are interested in ascending to the industry's most senior positions. Online courses provide students with all operations management skills necessary to serve as owners or CEOs of hotels, resorts, restaurants or inns. Students also learn how to conduct academic research, allowing them to become hospitality management professors after earning their degrees.

Course Topics

Curriculum structure varies from one degree program to the next. Some distance learning institutions require students to select an area of focus, such as tourism or gaming, while others offer a research track or professional studies track. Topics covered in courses typically include the following:

  • Hospitality research methods
  • Advanced lodging management and leadership
  • Professional customer service
  • Hospitality information systems
  • Tourism marketing

Students in these master's program commonly have to take a capstone course as a culminating experience, which may involve completing a comprehensive research project.

Students wanting to learn more about hospitality management have several online training options to consider, including certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, or master's degrees. Students can complete coursework fully online, with the possibility of an internship or practicum.

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