According to SelectUSA, one out of every 18 Americans is employed in an industry related to travel or tourism.
The food and beverage industry is another huge component of the economy. The National Restaurant Association explains that the restaurant workforce accounts for 10 percent of the overall American workforce.
These two industries – along with casinos, sports venues, and conference centers – are all part of the thriving, multifaceted field of hospitality management.
What kind of degree in hospitality management should you get?
If you want to get the classic college experience, an on-campus program is the way to go. If, however, you have professional or family obligations, or if you don’t want to relocate or commute to attend traditional classes, an online degree is likely a better choice.
You may be certain that you want to enroll in an online program, but haven’t yet committed to Hospitality Management as your major. Visit our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for more outstanding options in high-impact, low-cost distance education.
How much money do people make with a degree in hospitality management?
Hospitality management is a diverse field. Your expected salary will hinge on a number of factors, including the industry where you work and your number of years of experience.
One thing is for sure, though: Earning a bachelor’s degree will significantly increase your earning potential.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers is $20,410 per year. But a bachelor’s degree can open up opportunities with much higher paychecks. A Food Service Manager, for example, has a median pay of $52,030 per year. Lodging Managers have a yearly median pay of $51,800.
What can you do with a degree in hospitality management?
You’ll be able to use your degree in many possible sectors.
You may choose to specialize within a particular niche of the lodging industry, such as housekeeping coordination or front office management. You might set your sights on working with luxury hotel brands or international cruise lines.
If you’re more interested in the food and beverage industry, you’ll have other specialization options. Consider focusing on quantity food production, beverage management, or overall culinary management. If you plan to start your own restaurant, look for an undergraduate program with an entrepreneurial emphasis.
What are the requirements for a degree in hospitality management?
Each degree program is unique, so you’ll need to meet different expectations and requirements depending on the school you choose.
Many Hospitality Management programs require students to complete an internship or practicum as their capstone experience. This type of internship may range from 300 to 500 clock-hours.
If you’re already working full- or part-time in a hospitality industry, you may be able to use your current workplace to fulfill the internship requirement. Typically, you’ll do this by applying the theories and practices learned in your coursework in a real-world setting.
What are the most affordable online degrees in hospitality management?
To create this ranking, we’ve examined a wide range of online degree programs that offer top-tier academic quality as well as exceptional value for your tuition dollar. We’ve taken into account both published tuition rates and the net average cost of attendance, including financial aid packages.
The degree programs on our list may lead to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Business Administration, but they all have one thing in common: They represent the Most Affordable Online Hospitality Management programs available today.
See our rankings methodology page.
Florida International University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $12,966
Serving nearly 54,000 students, Florida International University is Miami’s largest institution of higher learning. FIU offers over 40 fully online degree programs, including an outstanding undergraduate program in Hospitality Management. This flexible program offers six concentrations: Beverage Management, Culinary Management, Hotel/Lodging Management, Restaurant/Food Service Management, Event Management, and Travel and Tourism Management.
The online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management is presented by the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. This degree emphasizes finance, logistics, accounting, and other critical skill areas for aspiring leaders in the hospitality industry. Students in the program will have the opportunity to participate in the prestigious South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Core coursework includes:
- Financial Analysis in the Hospitality Industry
- Hospitality Facilities Environmental Systems
- Hospitality Analytics and Revenue Management
- Management Accounting for the Hospitality Industry
All students in this program will work a minimum of 1,000 hours in a relevant industry. A 300-hour advanced internship is also required. Online students at FIU will receive real-time feedback from professors, guidance from a dedicated success coach, and round-the-clock access to interactive learning technology. The current in-state tuition rate for this program is $212.71 per credit-hour. For out-of-state students, the rate is $329.77.
Fort Hays State University
College Choice Score: 93.98
Average Net Price: $11,993
Fort Hays State University is located in Hays, KS, about halfway between Kansas City and Denver. Fort Hays enrolls approximately 4,600 students in on-campus programs, and another 6,800 through its Virtual College. The hospitality program at FHSU prepares students for careers as cruise directors, casino managers, restaurant owners, and more.
Through the Fort Hays Virtual College, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management. Candidates for this degree may choose to specialize in one of three areas: Hospitality Operations, Events Management, or Health and Wellness Tourism Operations. Each of these specialization tracks requires four courses within the concentration. Coursework required for all degree candidates includes:
- Principles and Practices in Tourism and Hospitality Management
- International Hospitality: Problems and Planning
- Tourism and Hospitality Marketing
- Introduction to Leadership Concepts
The degree requires a total of 120 credit-hours. This will include 55 credit-hours in general education courses, 24 credit-hours in the College of Business core, 21 credit-hours in the Tourism and Hospitality core, 12 credit-hours in a concentration, and 8 credit-hours in electives. FHSU also offers fully online programs leading to degrees in Marketing, Management (with a concentration in Human Resource Management or Operations Management), and Organizational Leadership.
American Public University
College Choice Score: 92.39
Average Net Price: $11,470
The 125 undergraduate degree and certificate programs at American Public University are designed for maximum flexibility without sacrificing academic rigor. All of these programs share a common goal: preparing students for service and leadership in a global society. Like all APU degrees, the Hospitality Management program features a strong emphasis on accessible, affordable, and student-focused education.
Undergraduates at APU can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management. Created in collaboration with industry leaders, this program incorporates classes in marketing, law, revenue management, and strategic planning. Students in this program may choose to specialize in areas such as food service, lodging, meeting and event planning, and tourism. All students with a major in Hospitality Management will complete the following courses:
- Human Resource Fundamentals
- Managerial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry
- Leadership and Management in Hospitality
- Quality Service Management
The Hospitality Management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. This degree path is designed with nontraditional students in mind. In fact, 87 percent of students enrolled in an APU program are working adults. As of 2018, the tuition rate for this online program is $270 per credit-hour. For students receiving a military grant, the cost will be $250 per credit-hour.
Indiana Wesleyan University
College Choice Score: 87.88
Average Net Price: $19,519
Founded in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University remains committed to its original mission of providing comprehensive liberal arts and professional education rooted in a biblical worldview. The university, located in Marion, IN, is home to roughly 2,700 undergraduates and 80 undergraduate degree programs in six colleges. Indiana Wesleyan’s highly renowned DeVoe School of Business offers an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management.
The curriculum for the Hospitality Management degree integrates a biblical framework for business and leadership practices. Students pursuing this degree will develop communication strategies, business technology skills, marketing expertise, and other critical strengths for professional success. Core coursework includes the following:
- An Introduction to Quantitative Tools for Decision-Making in Hospitality Management
- Ethical and Legal Business Concepts
- Current Trends and Issues in Hospitality Management
- Hotels, Restaurants, Tourism, and Travel in the Hospitality Industry
This degree track offers start dates in August, January, and June. The current cost for the online program is $432 per credit-hour. IWU students may be eligible for financial aid in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, veteran benefits, and employer reimbursement. Indiana Wesleyan also offers online programs leading to a BS in Business Administration, in Business Information Systems, and in Management.
University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 87.48
Average Net Price: $19,913
Both the Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance rank the University of South Carolina as one of the best value schools among all public colleges nationwide. The 8-campus system of South Carolina includes a flagship campus in Columbia. The Beaufort campus, in collaboration with Palmetto College, offers an online program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management.
Students in the Hospitality Management program can choose to specialize in hotels, food service, or tourism. Graduates of this program will be prepared to take on leadership positions in hotels, restaurants, timeshare operations, golf courses, convention centers, private clubs, retirement facilities, and other settings. Required coursework will include the following:
- Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Law
- Restaurant Food Production Management
- Hospitality Marketing Sales
- Professional Development in Hospitality Management
The curriculum for the degree features a required internship, worth three credit-hours. This internship will include a minimum of 400 clock-hours working in a supervisory role. For in-state residents attending full-time, the cost for this online program is $5,082 per semester as of the 2018 academic year. For non-resident students, the cost is $10,182 per semester. Ninety-one percent of all University of South Carolina students receive some form of financial assistance.
Eastern New Mexico University
College Choice Score: 86.12
Average Net Price: $10,481
With over 6,000 students, Eastern New Mexico University is New Mexico’s largest regional comprehensive institution. The university operates a 4-year campus in Portales, 2-year campuses in Roswell and Ruidoso, and an extensive array of distance learning programs. ENMU offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Business Administration is one of the most popular majors for undergraduates.
One of the many innovative online programs at ENMU culminates in a Bachelor of Business Administration. The Business Administration degree is available in a number of emphasis areas, including Applied Economics and Finance, Information Systems, Hospitality Management, and numerous related fields. The Hospitality Management emphasis features 19 credit-hours of concentration-specific coursework. These core courses include:
- Convention and Event Management
- Hotel and Club Management
- Food Operations Management
- Services Marketing
Potential applicants to this program are encouraged to take as many business courses in high school as possible. Once accepted, students of the Hospitality Management program are eligible for the 29 scholarships offered by ENMU’s College of Business. The Counseling and Career Services office provides free job placement assistance to all ENMU students. Eastern New Mexico ranks in the top 10 percent for lowest tuition rates among 81 public colleges in the Southwest.
The University of Alabama
College Choice Score: 84.34
Average Net Price: $20,133
The University of Alabama has been featured as one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 60 public universities nationwide for more than a decade. At UA, award-winning faculty members work closely with the university’s 38,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The undergraduate program in Hospitality Management was named to eighteenth place in CEOWORLD’s 2017 ranking of the top 50 Hospitality and Hotel Management schools.
The Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at UA was launched in 1985. For over 30 years, the program has graduated highly qualified professionals who go on to serve in leadership and management roles throughout the hospitality industry. This degree is available fully online through the Bama By Distance division. All Hospitality Management majors will complete the following courses:
- Management of Food and Beverage Operations
- Hospitality Employee Supervision and Management
- Managing Quality in the Hospitality Industry
- Managerial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry
Students pursuing this degree will be required to complete a 500-hour internship. This practicum experience will take place in one of numerous university-approved hospitality organizations around the world. The 2018 tuition rate for this program is $364 per credit-hour. Distance learners will be eligible for a variety of scholarships, which can significantly reduce the cost of attendance.
University of Missouri
College Choice Score: 83.22
Average Net Price: $16,317
The community of the University of Missouri includes 30,000 students, 2,100 faculty and instructors, and 317,000 alumni. Through Mizzou Online, students all over the country have access to more than 100 acclaimed degree and certificate options. At the undergraduate level, Mizzou Online degree programs include Public Health, Business Administration, and Hospitality Management.
Mizzou’s Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management is presented by the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources. The curriculum requires 15 credit-hours in core business principles, 22 credit-hours in core hospitality management, and 30 credit-hours within a specialization. Students may choose to specialize in conference and events management, food and beverage management, sport venue management, or another hospitality industry. Required coursework for all students in this program includes:
- Hospitality Law
- Hospitality Human Resources Management
- Hospitality Sales and Marketing
- Strategic Management in the Hospitality Industry
No campus visits are required for this fully online program. The typical cost for the degree (depending on transfer hours, state residency status, and course choices) is $24,113.50. Community college graduates, veterans, military service members, and military dependents may be eligible for a 10 percent reduction in tuition costs. More than 75 percent of Mizzou undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.
College Choice Score: 81.44
Average Net Price: $12,032
Founded in 1933, Monroe College now serves 8,000 students through campuses in the Bronx, Queens, New Rochelle, and St. Lucia, as well as through distance learning programs. Monroe Online has garnered recognition for its interactive degree programs, which incorporate audio, video, journals, blogs, and wikis. The Hospitality Management online program emphasizes practical skills such as staffing, front office computer systems, and cost management strategies.
Monroe’s program culminates in a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management. Graduates of this program will be prepared to serve as a director of housekeeping facilities, destination and travel resort manager, office manager, and in many related roles. Coursework for this major will include:
- Customer Service for Hospitality and Culinary Managers
- Sales and Marketing for Hotels and Restaurants
- Principles of Management
- Employee and Labor Relations
Students pursuing this degree may choose to add a concentration in either Tourism and Destination Management or Culinary Management. Monroe also offers a fully online program leading to a BS in Human Services. Other programs lead to a BBA in Business Management and in Accounting. Monroe has numerous scholarships available to reduce the cost of attendance. For example, the Online Scholarship is awarded to incoming online transfer students with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Granite State College
College Choice Score: 80.13
Average Net Price: $13,922
The degree programs at Granite State College are designed specifically for adult learners. Emphasizing flexibility for a diverse, nontraditional student population, Granite State offers career-focused degrees in healthcare, teacher education, and business. Undergraduate students in the hospitality program will build on their existing expertise and learn to integrate management theories in a real-world setting.
Granite State offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Service and Hospitality Management. Because this is a degree completion program, students must already hold an associate degree in hospitality services, tourism, or a related field. Prospective students with professional licensure or certification may also qualify for the program. The curriculum for this degree features the following coursework:
- Hotel and Restaurant Management
- Food Service Systems and Control
- Event, Meeting, and Conference Management
- Quality Management
This degree is available fully online, while select courses may also be offered on campus. Students who have not yet earned any college credit can pursue an online associate degree program before transferring into this degree completion program. By doing so, students can earn their full bachelor’s degree online. As of summer 2018, the tuition rate for New Hampshire residents is $314 per undergraduate credit-hour. For students outside of New Hampshire, the rate is $355.