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Individuals with online associates in hospitality management degrees will find challenging and rewarding careers in the hospitality industry! In the US, the hospitality industry is diverse, dynamic, and ever-expanding despite the challenges brought by 9/11, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US hospitality industry generates nearly $600 billion in direct revenues annually. Indirectly, its revenues are close to $1 trillion! This means numerous job opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industry, with more than 1,139,000 jobs created to date.
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Career opportunities abound with an online associate in hospitality management degree! From lodging supervisors to food and beverage services supervisors, you have plenty of options. Every associate degree in hospitality management program has its unique focus but there’s a generalist approach, too.
Schools That Made the List! Use these Quick Jumps or start scrolling!
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
- Gateway Technical College
- Bryant & Stratton College
- American Public University
- Central Texas College
- Tompkins Cortland Community College
- Chemeketa Community College
- Casper College
- San Ignacio University
- Monroe College
- SUNY Broome Community College
- Madison Area Technical College
- Trident Technical College
The hospitality and tourism industry in the US is a magnet for hospitality management professionals from across the world! But even with the influx of foreigners, the diversity and opportunities present in hospitality management careers are more than enough for American citizens.
Get started in a Hospitality Management career by pursuing the right online associate degree program! Each online program on our list was picked based on these factors:
- Delivered 100% online or in a blended format for academic scheduling convenience,
- Features rigorous online coursework to instill academic expertise in students so they can become competent professionals if they decide to work after graduation or upon pursuing a bachelor’s degree,
- Develops interpersonal skills or soft skills in management, communication, leadership, organization, customer service, and problem-solving so they can become workplace-ready,
- Promotes Transfer Pathway programs to assist students seeking to pursue a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management in partner schools,
- Taught by seasoned professors who excel in the Hospitality Management industry as professionals and academic experts,
- Provides financial assistance opportunities,
- Appropriate accreditation status,
- Affiliated with hospitality industry associations and actively involved in efforts that advance the discipline.
Please read our Methodology for more information on our college and degree program rankings.
13 Best Online Associate in Hospitality Management Degree Programs
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
The Associate of Applied Business (AAB) in Hospitality Management program at Cincinnati State Technical combines didactic instruction, laboratory sessions, and cooperative experiences. Students gain practical skills in the day-to-day operations of various hospitality venues.
The online hospitality management program has two tracks available:
- The Food and Beverage track allows students to earn a culinary certificate. Graduates become eligible for food service operations supervisory jobs.
- The Operations track enables students to learn the fundamentals of restaurant, hotel, and motel operations.
While each track has a specific set of concentration courses, their shared courses include the following:
- Food Service Sanitation (As part of food service management)
- Principles of Management
- Food and Beverage Cost Control
- Event, Meeting, and Convention Management
- Information Systems for Managers
Graduates of the online associate degree in hospitality management program are qualified for bachelor’s degree programs. Cincinnati State Technical has articulation agreements with Franklin University, Miami University, and Wilmington University.
The associate in hospitality management program has several internship sites for students, too. Choices include Cincinnati Country Club, Hyatt Hotels, and Hilton Hotels. Students in the hospitality management associate degree program prepare for supervisory positions.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, a public technical and community college, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Gateway Technical College
With new jobs being added to the hospitality industry in Wisconsin, earning the Associate Degree in Hospitality Management from GTC makes sense! Students are provided with opportunities to specialize in tourism and attractions or hotels and resorts.
The 61-credit curriculum of the online associate in hospitality management associate degree program features courses in:
- Principles of Hospitality
- Introduction to Service in the Hospitality Industry
- Food Operations in Hospitality
- Introduction to Hotel Operations
- Managing Services in the Hospitality Industry
Aspiring hospitality management professionals gain hands-on experience, too. The program includes two internships – front-line and supervisory. The 144-hour internships expose students to the hospitality industry in three counties. Students may also choose internships in national attractions.
Graduates who earn an associate in hospitality management degree also earn certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Admission into the associate degree in hospitality management program must meet multiple admission requirements. These include a technical diploma or a high school diploma or college credits with a minimum GPA.
Gateway Technical College, a public technical college, is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System.
Bryant & Stratton College
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) – Hospitality Management program is offered in Bryant & Stratton College’s online school. Online students receive the same instruction and degree as their on-campus counterparts. Even the credits in the online hospitality management program are the same.
The 39-credit major courses in the online associate in hospitality management associate degree include:
- Introduction to Hospitality Management
- Technology in the Hospitality Management Industry
- Leading Hospitality Services Management
- Convention & Events Management
- Computing Skills
The associate in hospitality management degree program also features an internship/capstone course. Students gain hands-on skills in diverse hospitality industry settings. Graduates with an associate degree in hospitality management possess both hard and soft skills.
Bryant & Stratton College, a private for-profit, has accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
American Public University
The Associate of Arts (AA) in Hospitality program at APU is among the most affordable. There are zero costs for application fees, transfer credit evaluation, and books. Plus, there are no entrance exams.
The online associate degree in hospitality management has a 60-credit curriculum with courses in:
- Introduction to Hospitality Management
- Hotel and Restaurant Purchasing
- Introduction to Hotel and Restaurant Law
- Hospitality Marketing
- Food Service Sanitation and Safety
Students also complete a Restaurant Operations seminar course. Students integrate their lessons into a cohesive structure while participating in simulated exercises.
The associate in hospitality management program allows up to 45 credits for transfer. Military personnel can apply for tuition discounts.
The online courses start monthly. Their duration varies between eight and 16 weeks. Students complete a capstone course with computer simulations.
Graduates are qualified for food service management jobs and other occupations in the hospitality industry.
American Public University, a for-profit institution, is part of the American Public University System (APUS). The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is its accreditation agency.
Central Texas College
The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) – Hospitality Management program is a long-running program at CTC. Students choose from four specializations, too:
- Restaurant and Culinary Management
- Culinary Arts
- Hotel Management
- Food and Beverage Management
Students also earn certificates, which range from 20 to 38 credits, while pursuing the associate degree. The certificates include Food and Beverage Management, Rooms Division, and Property Management.
The 60-credit curriculum of the online associate degree in hospitality management with a Hotel Management concentration has courses in:
- Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
- Hospitality Financial Management
- Hospitality Supervision
- Front Office Management
- Hospitality Marketing and Sales
Students can earn an associate degree in four semesters of full-time matriculation. Earning an associate in hospitality management degree requires the completion of an internship. Students gain hands-on experience in hospitality administration and management.
Students may apply for financial aid via the CTC Foundation’s need-based and merit-based scholarships. Federal financial aid is also available.
Central Texas College, a Killeen, Texas-based community college, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Tompkins Cortland Community College
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) – Hotel and Restaurant Management program at Tompkins Cortland enables students to earn a micro-credential. The 7-credit Food and Beverage Service certificate is recognized by employers looking for entry-level workers.
The online associate degree in hospitality management with a hotel and restaurant management concentration has a 62-credit curriculum. Online courses include:
- Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
- Food Sanitation & Safety
- Rooms Division Management
- Hospitality Law
- Hospitality Marketing
The hotel and restaurant management degree provides students with various hands-on learning experiences, too. Internships are available at local hospitality establishments. Students may also look into study abroad opportunities.
The program also offers a proctored certification exam for the National Restaurant Association’s SERVSAFE program.
Note that the hotel and restaurant management degree is primarily designed for immediate employment. But graduates may also transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree program. Possible transfer schools are Florida International, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
A State University of New York system or SUNY member, Tompkins Cortland Community College earned its accreditation from the MSCHE or Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Chemeketa Community College
The Associate of Science (AAS) in Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Chemeketa trains students for the challenges ahead. Students learn skills in event management, marketing, and cost control in the hospitality industry.
Full-time students in the online associate in hospitality management degree program can graduate in two years. Part-time enrollment is possible.
The 92-credit curriculum of the hospitality and tourism management program combines general education and concentration courses like:
- Hospitality Industry
- Tourism and Travel Industry
- Restaurant Operations
- Foods and Beverages: Gastronomy
- Hospitality and Tourism Management Strategic Management
Graduates are qualified for entry-level hospitality and tourism management occupations. The associate degree in hospitality management is recognized throughout Oregon.
Alumni are found in several sectors of hospitality and tourism management, too. Examples of occupations include food service managers, concierges, and convention supervisors.
Chemeketa Community College, a Salem, Oregon-based public community college, is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
The hybrid Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hospitality and Tourism program at Casper College offers a certain degree of flexibility. The hospitality classes are conducted online, but the general education courses are delivered on campus.
Students who are independent learners are welcome to the hospitality and tourism management program. Students develop industry-specific skills alongside soft skills. Skills development occurs through classroom instruction and internship opportunities.
To earn an associate degree in hospitality management, students complete 63-64 credits. Classes include:
- Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Hotel Operations Management
- Convention Sales and Management
- Food and Beverage Management
- Legal Environment of Business
Casper’s partly online associate in hospitality management degree program uses MyCCMoodle as a learning management system.
Graduates can develop a wide network of contacts across the local hospitality and tourism industry.
Financial aid, including scholarships, is available to hospitality management majors.
Casper College, a Casper, Wyoming-based public community college, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
San Ignacio University
The Associate in Hospitality Management degree program at San Ignacio University is designed to cater to entrepreneurs with commercial skills and aptitude for service. This 100% online program imparts a strong foundation of communication and personal skills to students, along with necessary competencies surrounding management principles.
Students become well-versed in the operational aspects of today’s fast-paced hospitality industry. They are expected to apply and reflect on the knowledge and skills they acquired through various opportunities, including craft-based learning and workplace learning activities. The 60-credit courses include the following:
- Principles of Accounting
- Public Speaking
- Food and Beverage Management
- Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
- Food Sanitation Management
- Introduction to Customer Service
- Hospitality Managerial Accounting
- Lodging Management
The program curriculum also emphasizes the fundamental principles of essential hospitality management functions, professional behavior and competencies in customer service, leadership skills and abilities that lead to changes and resolve conflicts, and effective communication.
San Ignacio University, an innovative higher learning institution in Florida, is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management’s Culinary Institute of New York offers an Associate of Arts in Hospitality Management degree program. This degree program’s curriculum provides a blend of theoretical education and hands-on experience in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality management. It is designed to prepare students to learn the ropes and become successful in the hospitality industry.
Their learning and training cover the basic principles of accounting, restaurant management, lodging operation, customer relations, and food and beverage. Most of the courses hone targeted career-focused skills. The 6-credit coursework includes the following:
- Introduction to the Hospitality & Tourism Industry
- Lodging Operations Management
- Beverage Management
- Dining Room Management
- Customer Relationship Management for the Hospitality Industry
Students are allowed to complete several liberal arts electives. They are also given an opportunity to take part in a hospitality internship at The Dining Labs, Monroe’s on-campus restaurant which is entirely run by students. They can also opt to intern in the student-run café, The Pastry Kiosk.
A New York-based higher learning institution with campuses in New Rochelle, Bronx, and St. Lucia, Monroe College has an accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
SUNY Broome Community College
The Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management is specially created for students who want to acquire foundational education to help them carve a successful career in the hospitality industry. This degree program will help them gain the necessary knowledge and skills to one day own or operate a hospitality operation or serve commercial entities like Marriott, Hilton, and Texas Roadhouse, among others.
This degree program is fully available online, offering an asynchronous learning platform that allows students to complete their education anytime and anywhere in the world, as long as they have internet access. The curriculum is composed of 60-credit hour courses. Some of them include the following:
- Introductions for the Hospitality Freshman
- Fundamentals of Event Management
- Hospitality Human Resources
- Accounting for a Service Business
- Front Office Operations Management
- Basic Nutrition
- Menu Merchandising and Marketing
- Hotel and Restaurant Cost Control
By the end of the program, students are expected to demonstrate their ability to operate a variety of commercial hospitality enterprises.
SUNY Broome Community College, known for its affordable education opportunities in upstate New York, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Madison Area Technical College
Madison Area Technical College offers an Associate in Hospitality Management degree to help students enhance their skills in key areas of the hospitality industry. This includes skills in leadership, problem-solving, resort operation, food service, special events, meetings and conventions, and tourism marketing, among many others.
This program is available to both full-time and part-time students. It can be fully completed online, or students may opt for a hybrid learning method where they attend a blend of online and in-person classes. The coursework requires 61 credit hours, which can often be completed in two years. The courses in the curriculum include:
- Fundamentals of Meeting Management
- Marketing Principles
- Math with Business Applications
- Hospitality Law
- Social Media Marketing
- Event Professional Best Practices
- Rooms Division Operation
- Hospitality Leadership
Students who will be able to complete this program will be well-prepared to demonstrate their relevant and marketable skills in the hospitality industry, whether they choose to become restaurant managers, meeting planners, hotel sales managers, or assistant food and beverage manager.
Madison Area Technical College, a world-class community college in Wisconsin, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Trident Technical College
The Associate in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Trident Technical College is designed for students who want to prepare for a rewarding career in the hospitality industry. This includes food and beverage service, lodging, and tourism and event segments. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.
Students are equipped with skills and knowledge relevant to their chosen career path, helping them achieve effective outcomes in industry-specific areas. These skills may include critical thinking, leadership, interpersonal, communication, and effective management. The courses included in the curriculum are:
- Hotel Management
- Hospitality Communications and Leadership
- Restaurant Operations
- Hospitality Service
- Travel and Tourism
- Purchasing for Hospitality
- Beverage Service Management
- Hospitality Marketing
Tobe admitted into the program, students must show proof of high school graduation or GED equivalent along with qualifying placement levels.
Overview of Online Associate in Hospitality Management Programs
Online hospitality management programs require students to meet the technical requirements to maximize their learning. If you require assistance with your computer set-up, you can discuss it with the admissions officer or program coordinator. Many programs offer technical assistance, too, aside from the IT help desk.
Differences Between Associate Degrees
An associate degree in business management has a broader focus since its lessons apply to diverse for-profit and nonprofit entities. An online associate in hospitality management has a narrower focus, with students learning the principles and practices specific to the hospitality industry. Effective customer relations and service is more emphasized in the latter.
Hospitality management is also broader in scope than hotel management or lodging management. Where the former covers everything from food and service to lodging, the latter focuses more on hotels, motels, and the like.
The typical hospitality management programs only require the following for admission purposes:
- High school diploma with minimum cumulative GPA (or GED equivalent)
- Completed application
Placement and standardized test scores may also be required but aren’t as common as in bachelor’s degree programs. Letters of recommendation, personal statements, and resumes are uncommon at the associate degree level.
Most hospitality management programs are designed for completion in two years of full-time studies. Summer terms may be included in the time-to-completion. Many programs have a shorter completion period, such as 15-18 months, via an accelerated format.
The number of transferred credits from college-level credits will affect the time to completion. Part-time students, however, will earn the degree in 3-4 years due to a lesser course load per term.
Credits, Curriculum, and Courses
Associate degrees in hospitality management programs have at least 60 credit hours on their curriculum. There’s a nearly even split between general education courses and major courses.
The college-level general education courses are intended for soft skills development. The major includes courses in hospitality, hotel and restaurant, and tourism courses which are designed for hard skills development.
Principles of Hospitality
The course covers the fundamental principles of the hospitality industry, from accommodations to food and beverage service. Students also learn about customer service management, the heart of hospitality.
Event Management and Marketing
The event planning course provides students with an overview of the tasks involved in marketing and managing events. These tasks involve everything from the initial conceptualization and planning to post-event evaluation.
Students learn about the legal rights and responsibilities of people involved in the hospitality industry. This course also covers business law in general.
Food and Beverage Operations
The Food and Beverage Operations course introduces students to the fundamentals of the discipline as applicable to professional settings in hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality industry settings. Customer relations are also emphasized as it’s part of day-to-day operations.
Managerial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry
Students learn about the process of preparing and interpreting financial statements concerning their roles as hospitality management professionals. Budgeting and accounting are emphasized since money is the lifeblood of the hospitality industry, too.
Hospitality Sales and Marketing
The course explores the effective means of marketing and selling hospitality products and services to intended audiences. Students learn to develop sales and marketing plans in accordance with business goals.
Hotel Facilities Management
Students learn about overall property management, including the design, maintenance, and renovations of hospitality and tourism facilities.
Online Learning Technologies
Online associate degrees in hospitality management programs use multiple digital technologies in delivering course content, among other activities, to their students.
Learning Management Systems
A learning management system (LMS) can be considered the one-stop portal for learning activities for instructors and students. Instructors can upload the learning materials, including lectures, lessons, and assignments, for students to access. Students can perform a wide range of learning activities on it, too.
The main benefit of LMS is 24/7 access, thus, allowing students to learn at their own pace while also keeping up with deadlines. Most LMS also has built-in collaboration and productivity tools that maximize learning time.
Some online hospitality management associate degree programs also use digital simulations for experiential learning.
Assessments and Evaluations
Online students aren’t exempted from the assessments and evaluations of earning an associate degree. Lessons, including recorded and live lectures, reading materials, and references, are common.
Weekly assignment submissions are also typical of online programs in hospitality management. Quizzes and exams are just as challenging.
Internship and Practicum Requirements
Aspiring hospitality management professionals benefit from internships or externships in hospitality and tourism establishments. The hands-on experiential learning strengthens their classroom instruction. The combination of theory and practice prepares them for the realities on the ground, too.
Internships or externships are also valuable in establishing a useful network for future business and employment purposes. Students also learn about other possible career opportunities they may not have considered yet.
Workplace-Ready Skills and Traits
Hospitality management professionals must possess technical skills that can be learned during their associate degree days. These hard skills include customer relations management, human resources management, and financial management.
Soft skills are just as essential in the people-centric hospitality and tourism industry. The most crucial to success as a hospitality management professional are:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Critical thinking
- Flexibility and willingness to work shifts and overtime
- Attention to detail
- Time management
- Awareness of hazards
Tuition and Financial Aid
The average cost for a two-year associate degree in community colleges and other two-year public schools is $3,131 per year. The average cost is higher for for-profit colleges and four-year public schools.
But the total cost can be reduced via financial aid, such as federal financial aid and school scholarships. Community colleges are considered the best in terms of quality of education and cost. Students can graduate with low debt thanks to affordable tuition and financial aid options.
An associate in hospitality management degree opens supervisory jobs in the hospitality industry. But if you want to make significant advancements in your career, you should consider earning a bachelor’s degree. When combined with continuing education credits, such as certifications and work experience, your dream career is possible.
Overview of Hospitality Management as a Profession
Getting into an online associate in hospitality management is half the battle, so to speak. Aspiring hospitality management professionals will find that the diversity of career opportunities can be exciting yet overwhelming.
The best thing about it is that most hospitality management programs require only a high school diploma for admission purposes. But working adults seeking career advancement in the hospitality and tourism industry are also welcome. Students must demonstrate a willingness to learn alongside people skills.
Broadly defined, the hospitality industry covers the service industry where food and drink services, lodging accommodations, event planning, travel and tourism, and theme parks are offered. The establishments covered include bars and restaurants, travel and tourism agencies, hotels, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts.
With that said, the study of the hospitality industry is known as hospitality management. As a field of study, hospitality management focuses on day-to-day operations and long-term strategic planning for hospitality establishments. Hospitality management is also involved in the commercial activities of hospitality businesses.
General Roles and Responsibilities
Students in a typical online associate in hospitality management program are exposed to a wide range of principles and practices in the hospitality and tourism industry. Their lessons include the roles and responsibilities of hospitality managers. Note that these duties will differ depending on the workplace and job title but can cover the following:
- Human resources management, from recruiting to managing staff
- Budgeting, accounting, and reporting
- Meeting business goals
- Customer relations, from answering customer inquiries to handling complaints
- Ensuring compliance with business law and hospitality laws, including health and safety compliance
Indeed, the hospitality management industry has a place for every talent and skill! While your associate in hospitality management degree may have a generalist focus, you can develop more specialized skills in other ways.
Sectors of the Hospitality Industry
If you have an associate degree in hospitality management, you can choose to work in one of these sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry.
This is an exciting sector where tourism management professionals provide people with temporary, short-term traveling opportunities to places of interest. The movement is usually for leisure and recreation purposes, but it can also be a combination of business and leisure.
Professionals with hotel management skills deal with financial management, human resources management, and customer relations, among other aspects. Hotel management ensures that the accommodations, food and drink services, and housekeeping are running efficiently.
Event planners are involved in every aspect of events, from their conception and execution to their evaluation. Seminars, executive retreats, and trade shows are a few of the events on their plates. Convention management is also considered part of event management, but it’s also considered a specialization.
Students learning resort management are also introduced to event management, food service management, and business finance, but with a resort management focus. Resorts are considered vacation facilities that offer various leisure accommodations, activities, and services.
Careers and Salaries of Graduates of Associate in Hospitality Management Programs
With diverse hospitality management careers, it’s no surprise that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job growth in the hospitality industry. An associate degree will open doors of opportunities for these occupations.
Lodging Managers ($87,730/year)
Lodging managers are responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient operations of hotels, motels, and resorts. Customer service is paramount in lodging management, thus, the emphasis on optimum customer experiences.
Front Office Supervisors ($51,897year)
Front office supervisors are responsible for all front desk duties. These include check-ins and checkouts, guest reservations and appointments, and special requests. Their quality of service has a significant impact on the rest of the guests’ stay and their first impressions.
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners ($70,343/year)
These professionals are masters of event planning, whether for a large industry convention or an intimate wedding. Their expertise covers everything related to meetings, conventions, and other events. These include the venue, food and drinks, and guest experience.
Food and Beverage Supervisors ($41,659/year)
Food and beverage supervisors take charge of the business operations in dining establishments. Kitchen operations and dining room services are their forte.
Administrative Services and Facilities Supervisors ($55,223/year)
These professionals coordinate the business and office-related activities of hospitality establishments. Keeping records, overseeing maintenance activities, and supervising teams are among their duties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which degree is best for Hospitality Management?
Start with an associate degree in hospitality management, hotel and restaurant management, or hospitality and tourism management. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in these fields once you have gained sufficient work experience.
Is a degree in Hospitality Management worth it?
Yes, it is! You will find plenty of job opportunities in the major sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry. Such flexibility of application will work in your favor, particularly if you’re still undecided about your specific career path.
Is an online Associate’s degree worth it?
Yes, it is! Since an associate degree costs less than a bachelor’s degree and you can qualify for entry-level positions after graduation, you can recoup your costs soon after.
How can you choose the best online program?
Look at the status of accreditation first. Then, consider whether the curriculum and sequence of courses, method of delivery, and the total cost will work in your favor.
Is it worth it to pursue certifications in the Hospitality industry?
Yes, professional certifications will boost your credibility as a hospitality management professional! You will increase your knowledge and skills, too, which will prove valuable in the workplace.
Key Points to Ponder
- If you’re ambitious and seek to impact the hospitality and tourism industry, you can start with an associate degree.
- Your knowledge and skills will be suitable for entry-level supervisory positions. From there, you can climb the corporate ladder with further education and outstanding work performance.