Hospitality management is a field that literally opens doors. World travel, luxury accommodations, and the best of food and wine are all legitimate perks of the job. An online associate degree in hospitality management is a foot in the door in this diverse area. You can maintain a general focus and work in areas like travel arrangement or even human resources for a hospitality-centered company, with a strong general business background in your schooling. You can also specialize in event planning or casino management, to name just a couple of options.
The field is a potentially lucrative one as well. PayScale reports the average salary for hospitality managers to be nearly $50,000 a year. Top earners in hospitality management make closer to $75,000 annually.
Interested in pursuing an accelerated online associate degree? Check out our ranking of the Fastest Online Associate Degree Programs!
In creating this list of the top online associate in hospitality management degree programs, we used several factors. For example, all of these schools advertise degrees that are 100% available online, and all of them have tuition under $17,000 a year. We used the faculty to student ratio as an estimate of the personalized attention you can expect in your schooling. The relevancy of the curriculum to the current demands of the field is also a factor. Bonus points were given out for awards recognizing excellence in online education, the option of college credit for life experience and professional experience of faculty members.
All tuition, enrollment, and student-to-faculty ratio numbers come from the National Center for Education Statistics, an information clearinghouse of the US government.
#11 – Chemeketa Community College
Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management Online
Chemeketa Community College is one of the leading providers of online education at the community college level in Oregon. Their associate of applied science in the fast-growing field of hospitality and tourism management can be achieved online in concert with four one year related certificate programs. Available certificates are in the areas of event management, food and beverage management, lodging management and travel and tourism management. Their student-to-faculty ratio is close to the national standard at 22:1.
#10 – Monroe College
Online Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality Management
Students in the BBA in hospitality management online degree program at Monroe College take courses like “Beverage Management”, “Employee & Labor Relations” and “Dining Room Management”. The Bronx’s Monroe College offers an online associate degree in hospitality management that takes advantage of the Flexible Adult Student Track (FAST) program, which offers a limited number of courses at the accelerated rate of two courses every 7.5 weeks, instead of the usual four courses over 15 weeks. In addition to this program, the school provides a personal admissions counselor to help you get started and a personal student services counselor to keep you on the most efficient track. They have an acceptable student to faculty ratio of 16:1.
#9 – Tompkins Cortland Community College
Online Associate of Applied Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Tompkins Cortland Community College offers a 62 credit hour associate in hotel and restaurant management program that can be completed online. TCCC participates in the State University of New York’s Degree Works program that facilitates standardizing credits for ease of transferring among schools in their system. Courses included in this degree are safe alcohol handling and hospitality law. Their student to faculty ratio is 15:1.
#8 – NHTI – Concord’s Community College
Associate of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management Online
NHTI, Concord’s Community College has been serving the capital city region of New Hampshire since 1965. Their online associate degree in hospitality and tourism management is a 61-62 credit hour program. The hospitality and tourism management program has articulation (transfer) agreements with the coordinating programs at New England College and Plymouth State University. Coursework for this degree includes marketing and quality service management. Their student faculty ratio is great at 11:1.
#7 – Bryant & Stratton College
Online Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality Management
Bryant and Stratton’s online associate in applied science in hospitality management degree requires 39 hours of coursework in the major covering topics like research and writing for the workplace and technology in the hospitality management industry. Their student to faculty ratio is one of the best on this list at 11:1, but that one on one attention comes with increased tuition costs. This program is not available to residents of Arkansas or New York.
#6 – Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Online Associate of Applied Business in Hospitality Management
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College distinguishes itself from the pack offering online education with one of the largest cooperative education networks in the country. Their online associate degree in hospitality management requires 40 hours in the field. The 62 credit hour program includes studies in business law and financial accounting. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has transfer agreements in place with more than 20 four-year institutions. Their student-to-faculty ratio is a laudable 13:1.
#5 – Finger Lakes Community College
Associate in Applied Science in Tourism Management Online
Finger Lakes Community College has been serving the educational needs of their region for more than 50 years. Their online associate in tourism management degree is a 64 credit hour program that includes coursework in economics and sustainable tourism planning. FLCC participates with the State University of New York system’s general education requirements to make transfer among the schools in its system more efficient. Their student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1. Finger Lakes Community College hosted the first hospitality management degree program in the state of New York.
#4 – Casper College
Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management Online
Casper College in Wyoming is a public, two-year school focused on student success. Their associate of applied science in hospitality management degree offered online is for application in the job market. It is missing some of the general education component that would be helpful in transferring to a four-year school. These courses have been removed to get you out in the real world faster. It is a 60 credit hour program covering topics like information management and commercial law. Their student-to-faculty ratio is an admirable 13:1.
#3 – American Public University
Charles Town, West Virginia
Associate of Arts in Hospitality Management Online
American Public University prizes flexibility. They start new classes monthly, so you don’t have to wait for August or January. They offer 8 and 16 week course schedules. APU’s associate of arts in hospitality management online is a 61 credit hour program that covers the history of the hospitality industry and also management techniques relevant to that field. They are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the curriculum is reviewed by industry professionals for relevancy. APU’s student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1, which is fairly standard.
#2 – Albany Technical College
Online Associate of Applied Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
Albany Technical College’s online associate of applied science degree in hotel, restaurant, and tourism management is a 60 credit hour program including coursework in hospitality law and food and beverage management. ATC hits the great value sweet spot of low tuition and a very reasonable student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. They also offer two possible embedded certificates, one for hotel management specialist and one in event planning.
#1 – Central Texas College
Online Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality Administration/Management with a Specialization in Hotel Management
Online Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality Administration/Management with a Specialization in Food and Beverage Management
Central Texas College has articulation agreements in place to smooth transition between associate and bachelor’s programs with 42 schools nationwide, many top providers of online education among them. They offer an online associate degree in hospitality management with two specializations, food and beverage management and hotel management. Both specializations are 60 credit hour programs. Courses included in this degree are hospitality management and safety and sanitation. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1.
This has been a countdown of the top 11 online associate degrees in hospitality management.
About Hospitality Management
If the idea of helping people travel the world, enjoy great food, and have fun with one another appeals to you, then a career in hospitality management may be in your future. Hospitality management is a broad field with many opportunities in subsectors such as tourism and travel, hotel administration, restaurant management, gaming and casino management, and more.
About Online Associate Degree Programs in Hospitality Management
Though no formal education aside from a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary for most roles within the hospitality management industry, a postsecondary degree such as an online associate in hospitality management can only help your chances for employment and success in this competitive field. Associate degree programs in hospitality management are typically two-year plans of study that prepare graduates for entry-level positions in the field. They usually cover business topics like human resources, sales and marketing, accounting, leadership, public relations, and information systems, for example, but with an emphasis on tourism and hospitality services.
Types of Online Associate of Hospitality Management Programs
The hospitality management associate online programs featured in this ranking are similar in nature, but they’re not identical. Various colleges and universities handle distance learning in different ways. This means that even as curricula from school to school overlap, content delivery methods may differ. In general, there are two types of delivery formats: synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous Online Associate Hospitality Management Offerings
Synchronous online associate in hospitality management programs require a more structured approach, at least in terms of time management. Students enrolled in these programs must make a commitment to be online at specific times of the day and week in order to consume course content and participate in interactive online class discussions and activities. Some students prefer these synchronous programs because they tend to be more interactive than their asynchronous counterparts.
Asynchronous Online Associate Hospitality Management Offerings
Asynchronous online associate in hospitality management offerings tend to be significantly more flexible than synchronous options. Students enrolled in these programs have the freedom to complete their coursework on their own schedules and to some degree, at their own pace. No specific, predetermined log-on times are required like they are in synchronous programs. Instead, students log in at their convenience to view pre-recorded lectures and post to discussion forums.
Associate Degree in Hospitality Management Programs: Admissions
If you have a high school diploma or equivalent, in all likelihood, you can gain admission into an online associate of hospitality management program. Of course, you’ll need to provide evidence of your academic background via an official transcript. You will also need to submit an application to the college or university along with a nominal application fee. Some schools have additional admissions and application requirements, including personal statements and essays, letters of reference, and writing samples, for instance.
Online Associate of Hospitality Management Degrees: Curriculum
The curriculum for an online associate degree in hospitality management generally requires 60 credit hours of study. Courses are typically categorized in three distinct areas: general education courses, major-specific classes, and specialization courses. The latter category represents the specific emphasis area chosen by the student, whether it be lodging management, food and beverage management, tourism and travel, or event planning, for example.
General Education Classes
General education classes are part of any associate degree program, and they cover topics outside of your major area of study such as humanities, behavioral sciences, mathematics, and communications, for instance. Some sample course titles are listed below for reference, but this is not an exhaustive list:
- Principles of Accounting
- Analytical Thinking, Writing, and Research
- Workplace Psychology
- Interpersonal Communication
- Workplace Mathematics
- Principles of Microeconomics
- Introductory Statistics
The bulk of your online associate of hospitality management degree program will be comprised of major-specific courses. These are classes required for your degree, and they cover the topics necessary for you to be successful in the industry. Some examples of the major-specific courses you’re likely to encounter as part of your degree plan are listed below. Keep in mind that although these are course titles from actual online associate of hospitality management programs, they are not necessarily reflective of the exact courses you’ll encounter in your chosen program.
- Introduction to the Hospitality & Tourism Industry
- Customer Relationship Management for the Hospitality & Tourism Industry
- Travel Destination Geography
- Hospitality Marketing
- Restaurant Operations
- Hospitality Law
- Technology in the Hospitality Management Industry
- Rooms Division Management
Because hospitality management is such a broad field of study, many colleges and universities give students the opportunity to specialize in a specific sub-field of the industry. Popular specializations within hospitality management include hotel administration, restaurant management, event planning, and travel/tourism management, for instance. Specializing in one of these sub-fields may give you an advantage over other applicants during the hiring process. If you do choose a specialty, you will be required to take certain courses to fulfill your specialization requirement, though. These courses may include titles similar to those listed below:
- Meetings and Conventions
- Special Event Planning
- Safe Alcohol Handling
- Computer Reservation Systems
- Foods and Beverages: Gastronomy
- Destination Marketing
Frequently-Asked Questions About Hospitality Management Associate Degree Programs
The decision to pursue an associate of hospitality management online is a crucial one. It’s important to consider the many sacrifices you’ll be required to make and then weigh them against the numerous benefits of holding such a credential. To assist you on your journey towards deciding whether an online associate in hospitality management is right for you, we present the following frequently-asked questions regarding the credential. Keep in mind that the answers we provide are general in nature and do not correspond with any specific degree-granting institution or program. For more specific information, we advise you to talk to an admissions counselor or other school official.
Q: How long does it take to earn an associate of hospitality management online?
A: Completion time may vary from school to school and program to program. Though the traditional length of study for an associate credential is approximately two years, it is possible to fulfill your program requirements in less time. Accelerated programs, including those listed in this ranking, enable students to earn their associate credentials in as few as ten months.
Q: Can I complete my associate degree program in hospitality management entirely online?
A: Yes. Most online degrees in hospitality management at the associate level are offered entirely online. This means there is typically no on-campus requirements in the form of classes, workshops, or even orientations. Attendance mandates may vary by school and program, though, so be sure to speak to an admissions counselor before enrolling.
Q: Are hybrid associate in hospitality management programs available?
A: Yes. Though many distance education students prefer the convenience of a 100% online hospitality management associate degree program, others may desire a hybrid offering. These options blend in-person class meetings with online elements. For some students, these hybrid programs represent the best of both worlds in terms of flexibility and engagement.
Q: What type of accreditation should I consider?
A: When evaluating online associate degrees in hospitality management, there are two general types of accreditation you should consider: school accreditation and program accreditation. For the former type, look for accreditation by either a national or regional accrediting body. For the latter, look specifically for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Q: Do online associate in hospitality management programs include internship opportunities?
A: Some of them do, yes. These internships provide not only opportunities to gain real industry experience in the field, but they can also help students form valuable professional associations and can even result in career opportunities upon graduation. If this is something that interests you, be sure to speak to an admissions counselor about available internship opportunities for the school and program you’re considering.
Q: How much does an online associate of hospitality management degree program cost?
A: Tuition may vary significantly depending on the college or university you choose to attend. In this very ranking, the cost of programs ranges from under $5,000 to nearly $20,000 per year. As you’re considering your education expenses, keep in mind that financial aid opportunities may be available to you in the form of grants, scholarships, or loans.
Career Questions for Online Hospitality Management Associate Degree Programs
Q: What can I do with an online associate of hospitality management credential?
A: To say your options are limitless with an associate degree in hospitality management isn’t complete hyperbole. This credential can open numerous doors throughout the industry, including jobs in restaurants, hotels, casinos, resorts, and more. Specific positions include attractions manager, event planners, restaurant managers, and hotel and casino managers, for instance.
Q: What will I make with an online hospitality management associate credential?
A: Because there are so many different entry-level career opportunities and job positions within the hospitality field, pay will vary widely. Other factors may influence your wages as well, including geographical location, employer, and any years of related experience you bring to your role. Even so, PayScale reports that the average salary for those with an associate degree in hospitality management is $55,000 per year.
Q: What professional organizations should I join in hospitality management?
A: Joining a professional organization in hospitality management can afford you many professional development and networking opportunities in the industry. Those interested in taking advantage of these opportunities can consider membership in one or more of the dozens of organizations in existence today. Some of these are listed below for reference:
- American Hotel and Lodging Association
- Corporate Event Marketing Association
- Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International
- International Association of Venue Managers
- National Association for Catering and Events
- The National Restaurant Association
This ranking was updated in June 2020. The 2020 updates may affect the ranking order, but the list has remained in its original order.
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