Hotel and restaurant management is a great career choice if you have a passion for serving others and want to give guests an enjoyable and satisfying lodging or dining experience. It’s also attractive if you want to experience other cultures since it’s a field found in a wide range of settings practically anywhere in the world. One of the best ways to launch your career in the hotel and restaurant industry is by earning a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management through a convenient and affordable online degree program.
This guide introduces you to the best online hotel and restaurant management degree programs available today. Begin your program search with the three programs spotlighted to get an idea of what to expect in terms of quality curriculum, affordability, study convenience, access to important student support services, and more. These spotlights also provide a preview of a full program ranking that will be available later this year. If you’ve been thinking about a career in the hospitality field, read on to learn how to get started with a great online hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s degree program.
University of Wisconsin, Stout
With a graduate placement rate of nearly 100%, the Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Online program at the University of Wisconsin – Stout is a great choice if you want to successfully launch your hospitality management career straight out of college. The 120-credit program can be completed with four years of full-time study or longer with part-time enrollment. Coursework is 100% online and mostly asynchronous. The program also involves internships and paid cooperative education experiences with any of the program’s 100-plus national and international hospitality business partners.
Another important feature of this program is that all full-time, incoming first-year students, including those transferring in with a previously earned associate degree, with a 2.5 or higher cumulative high school GPA are eligible for in-house scholarships to help cover tuition costs.
- BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $322.10 per credit in-state | $389.90 per credit Minnesota reciprocity students | $433.44 per credit Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) students | $597.65 per credit non-resident
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (Institutional); Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) (Programmatic)
The Bachelor of Business Administration in Hotel and Restaurant Management through the State University of New York at Delhi is an affordable bachelor’s degree program available 100% online. The program requires 121 credits. This degree completion program requires an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management or at least 60 college credits in pathway courses like financial accounting, introduction to hospitality management, hospitality marketing, and either front office management or lodging accommodations management. The program is entirely online and asynchronous.
A key feature of this program is eligibility for the Disney College Program. This internship program gives you credit toward your degree you work for six months at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
- BBA in Hotel and Restaurant Management
- Credits: 121
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $295 per credit in-state | $353 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) (Institutional)
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University in Waco allows students with an associate of applied science in culinary or hospitality management degrees to outpace their competition in the job market by earning an Online BAAS in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management. The program emphasizes the business leadership aspect of the hospitality field. Subjects include customer relations, lodging operations management, personnel supervision, sales and marketing, and more. Didactic coursework is entirely online with courses delivered in a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous formats. Students are also required to complete 1,200 hours of hospitality work experience which includes a 400-hour hospitality industry internship. The degree requires 120 credit hours, which include the credits obtained in the associated degree program. TTU also offers a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management option that can be taken online or on-campus.
- BAAS in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management
- Credits: 120
- Length: 4 years
- Cost: $395 per credit in-state and bordering New Mexico and Oklahoma counties | $424 per credit non-bordering New Mexico and Oklahoma counties | $804 per credit out-of-state
- Mode: Fully online
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) (Institutional); ACPHA (Programmatic)
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree
The overall focus of a hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s degree is to prepare you to step into a management position almost anywhere in the hospitality industry. That involves didactic coursework in a variety of business and leadership subjects as they relate to hotel and restaurant management. The list below includes some of the main topics you’ll address in your hotel and restaurant management degree curriculum. You’ll also gain valuable hands-on knowledge and skills by completing work experiences in an internship or paid positions with actual hotel and restaurant businesses. Your studies also include substantial general education requirements common to most other bachelor’s degree programs.
Main Topics You’ll Cover
- Facilities operations and management
- Financial management
- Hospitality law
- Human resource management
- Sales and marketing
Lower Division Curriculum (Years 1 and 2)
If you’re starting as an incoming freshman with little or no previous coursework in the hotel and restaurant management field, the first two years of your studies will consist mainly of major-related lower-division courses like the ones described below along with general education requirements. If you’re in a degree completion program – one that requires entering the program with an associate degree – you’ll likely already have completed the bulk of these lower-division courses.
- Food and Service Fundamentals: This is an introduction to the basics of food service systems, fabrication, and production. Topics include food services terminology, the basics of food cookery and culinary nutrition, food service equipment, quality standards, menu preparation, and proper table and beverage service.
- Foodservice Safety and Sanitation: This course surveys the basic principles employed in the management of food safety and sanitation in the hospitality industry. Topics include sanitation principles and their practical applications as they relate to food handling and storage procedures, cleaning scheduling, equipment sanitation and maintenance, and pest control.
- Front Office Management: An examination of the fundamentals of front office hotel operations and management, both behind the scenes and at the front desk, this course explores all major aspects of day-to-day operations. Those include guest services, reservations, reception, computer skills, business soft skills, public communications and relations, problem resolution, and more.
- Hospitality Marketing: This course provides you with the foundational knowledge and skills in the marketing and promotion of hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in the services sector industry. It includes discussions on marketing strategies, advertising, public relations, promotional events, pricing structures, and more.
- Introduction to Hospitality Management: This overview of the specialized field of hospitality management introduces students to the basic operations, business challenges, and emerging trends in all areas of the hospitality industry (e.g., lodging, restaurants and food service, tourism, casinos, events and conventions, resorts, etc.).
Upper Division Curriculum (Years 3 and 4)
As you might expect, it is in your third and fourth years of study that you get to the heart of what makes possessing a hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s degree so valuable. The first two years of your program focused on the development of technical knowledge and skills in the hospitality field. The focus for years three and four turns to the specifics of management and fiscal responsibilities of operating a hospitality business. Below are examples of five upper-division courses similar to those you’ll tackle in the third and fourth years of your hotel and restaurant management program.
- Hospitality Financial Management: This course reviews the principles, systems, and techniques employed in hospitality business financing and cost control. Topics include financial analysis of hospitality enterprises, capital investment decision-making, the time value of money, capital budgeting, risk-return, and financial analysis computer applications.
- Hospitality Law: This course studies the laws, regulations, and liability issues applicable to hotels, restaurants, and associated hospitality businesses. It includes discussions of property rights (including those related to guest property), licensing, the hotel-guest and restaurant-patron relationship, privacy rights, employment law, and issues related to the sale of alcoholic beverages.
- Managerial Accounting: A survey of the concepts and applications related to the specialized practice of hospitality accounting, this course teaches you to read and understand balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and interim and annual reports. Additional topics include hotel revenue and expenses and property, inventory, and equipment accounting.
- Human Resources Management: Reviewing the many issues and challenges involved in effective labor management, this course covers recruitment and selection of new staff, training, compensation and benefits, performance evaluation and discipline, conflict resolution, employment law, and union relations.
- Meeting, Convention, and Conference Management: This course teaches you about the planning, organization, staffing, and successful execution of corporate, association, and special group events. Specific subjects include the role of the event planner, site selection, event design, negotiations, marketing, registration, and on-site logistics.
Admissions: Getting into a Top Online Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree Program
Admissions requirements for online hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s programs vary from program to program, so it is critical to understand the specific requirements for any individual program before enrolling. However, you’ll find that most programs have requirements like the following:
- High School Diploma or Associate Degree: The single biggest difference in admissions requirements for online bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management programs has to do with whether a program is a four-year program or a degree completion program. Four-year programs are designed for applicants with little or no prior college experience. They require a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, for admission. Degree completion programs require applicants to either possess an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management (or a closely related major) or have completed the approximately 60 college credits of general education and lower division hotel and restaurant management coursework that typically make up the first two years of a four-year program.
- Minimum GPA: Most online hotel and restaurant degree programs require a minimum grade point average on high school coursework for four-year programs or previously completed college coursework for degree completion programs.
- SAT/ACT Scores: Four-year programs may or may not require SAT or ACT scores meeting stated minimums. SAT/ACT scores are not a requirement of degree completion programs.
- Hotel/Restaurant Work Experience: Degree completion programs typically want you to have a minimum number of years of experience working in the hospitality industry.
- Additional Application Requirements: Other possible application requirements include a current resume, letters of recommendation, and personal statement or statement of purpose.
Paying for Your Online Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree: Costs and Financial Aid
Attending college is an expensive proposition no matter what school you go to, what you major in, or whether you study on-campus or online. That’s why planning for how you’ll pay for college is as important as deciding what you’ll study. To give you a better grasp on what you can expect to pay for your degree, the current tuition rates for five online hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s programs are listed below. Except where noted, rates are for tuition only and do not include additional school and program fees, books, supplies, etc.
Factors impacting program costs include whether the program is from a public or private college (private schools tend to charge higher tuition rates) and, in the case of some public schools, whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state resident (out-of-state residents are sometimes charged a higher tuition rate).
Total program costs for online hotel and management bachelor’s degree programs range from around $40,000 for in-state residents to just under $100,000 for out-of-state residents with most falling between $45,000 and $60,000. Estimates are for four-year programs, and students entering a degree completion program with an associate degree will pay thousands of dollars less.
|School Name||School Type||Total Credits||In-State||Out-of-State|
|Granite State College||Public||120||$314/credit||$370/credit|
|Johnson & Wales University||Private not-for-profit||120||$495/credit||$495/credit|
|New Mexico State University||Public||120-121||$395.40/credit||$395.40/credit|
|Northern Arizona University||Public||120||$465/credit||$465/credit|
All the major forms of college financial aid are available to students in accredited online hotel and restaurant degree programs like the ones in this guide. These resources include scholarships, grants, work-study, VA benefits, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and the ever-popular student loan (most often obtained through the Federal Student Aid program). Some colleges and universities, like the University of Wisconsin – Stout and SUNY Delhi, sponsor in-house scholarships exclusively for their hotel and restaurant management students.
To learn more about funding help for your online hotel and restaurant management program, check out this Financial Aid Guide to Paying for College.
FAQs About Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management Online
Are online hotel and restaurant management degree programs offered 100% online?
Online hotel and restaurant management programs often bill themselves as “100% online.” That billing is true so far as didactic coursework is concerned, but these programs also require some work experience in the hospitality business to earn the degree. This consists of anything from a short-term paying job or non-salaried internship to employment hours of up to 1,200 or more for some programs.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management?
One of the biggest benefits of earning your bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management is that it literally opens a world of career opportunities within the hugely expansive hospitality industry. Graduates work as hotel and restaurant managers and travel, casino management, event planning, the culinary arts, marketing and promotions, and many other related areas. Below are five of the most popular occupations for hotel and management degree graduates. They, along with the careers listed in the employment outlook section, offer a very small sampling of the variety of career paths you can take as a hotel and restaurant management graduate.
- Convention/Event Planner
- Hotel Sales and Marketing Manager
- Human Resources Administrator
- Resort Manager
- Restaurant Manager
Is earning a hotel and restaurant management degree worth it?
When it comes to what employers in the hotel and restaurant industry are looking for when hiring, nothing beats work experience. If you’re looking to make a career in the industry, though, getting a formal education can be quite valuable in setting you apart from your competition. To help decide what degree level to earn, consider these recent average base salary figures from Payscale:
- Associate in Applied Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management: $51,000
- Certificate in Hotel & Restaurant Management: $55,000
- Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management: $65,000
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Hotel & Restaurant Management: $70,000
Whether earning a hotel and restaurant management degree is worth it or not really depends on the individual and how far they wish to advance in their career. If a career in the hospitality industry is what excites you, a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management is likely to be worth the time and effort.
What accreditation should I look for in a hotel and restaurant management degree program?
There are two primary types of accreditations to look for in your online hotel and restaurant management degree search. The first is institutional accreditation, which concerns the college or university overall. Institutional accreditation of U.S. colleges and universities is handled by a number of independent regional and national accrediting bodies by the U.S. Department of Education. The second type of accreditation is programmatic or specialized accreditation, which concerns the accreditation of individual degree programs.
The primary accreditor of hotel and restaurant management degree programs in the U.S. is the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), though some degree programs may be programmatically accredited by a business degree accrediting body such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Not all hotel and restaurant management degree programs are programmatically accredited, however, so the program you choose must be offered by a school with proper institutional accreditation.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management?
All online hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s degrees require completion of around 120 credits. However, many of these programs are degree completion programs that require applicants to possess an associate degree in hospitality management (or a closely related major) or have completed a minimum number of transferable credits that include several hospitality management-related courses.
Add to that the ability for students, in many cases, to complete their coursework at their own chosen pace (full-time or part-time). All of this points to program lengths that vary from two years to four years or more. Generally speaking, though, if you include the time spent completing an associate degree or prerequisite coursework, expect to devote four years of full-time study to earning your hotel and restaurant management bachelor’s degree.
Employment Outlook with a Hotel and Restaurant Management Degree
The employment outlook for professionals in the hotel and restaurant management industry is strong, with salaries and job growth potential in line with or better than for workers in all occupations combined. Consider the chart below of current earnings and job growth data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for a more detailed idea of the employment outlook for hotel and restaurant management degree holders. Remember that these are nationwide median figures. Actual earnings depend on factors like the specific job title and responsibilities, employer, geographic location, and the number of years of work experience in the hospitality field.
|Career||Median Annual Earnings (2021)||Job Growth (2020-2030)|
|Administrative Services and Facilities Managers||$99,290||7%|
|Business Operations Specialist||$76,040||8%|
|Food Services Manager||$59,440||10%|
|General and Operations Managers||$97,970||7%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics