The 10 Best Online Associates in Hospitality Management Degrees in 2022

Online Associates in Hospitality Management - featured image

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 close to $600 billion in direct revenues per year. 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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Quick Summarization

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. 

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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 for the purpose of instilling 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.

Online Associates in Hospitality Management

10 Best Online Associate in Hospitality Management Degree Programs

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

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: 

  • 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

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 in 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 experiences, 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

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 the 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

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 also 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

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 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 a hospitality management degree requires 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). 

Western Technical College

Western Technical College

The Associate in Hospitality Management program at Western Technical College serves the hospitality industry of Wisconsin. Students develop the knowledge and skills for entry-level positions in the hospitality industry. 

The associate in hospitality management degree program features a 60-credit curriculum with online courses in: 

  • Quality Customer Service
  • Principles of Hospitality Management
  • Hospitality Cost Control
  • Legal Issues for the Workplace
  • Hospitality Event Management

Graduates who earn an online associate degree in hospitality management can transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree program. Western Technical College has a transfer agreement with Viterbo University. 

Online students are eligible for financial aid. 

Western Technical College forms part of the Wisconsin Technical College System with accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Stratford University

Stratford University

Students in the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hotel and Restaurant Management program develop fundamental hotel and restaurant management skills. Communication, critical thinking, customer service, and problem-solving are their best soft skills. 

The associate degree in hospitality management with a specialization in hotel and restaurant management can be earned in 15 months. The courses vary in length from five to 10 weeks. 

The online associate in hotel and restaurant management features courses in: 

  • Food and Beverage Management 
  • Hospitality Resort Tourism 
  • Special Events Planning 
  • Customer Service 
  • Housekeeping Management 

Students also undergo a hotel and restaurant management externship for hands-on exposure. 

Stratford University, a Virginia-based private university, has a largely non-traditional student body. It’s accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). 

Tompkins Cortland Community College

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

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). 

Casper College

Casper College

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). 

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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. 

Admission Requirements 

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 tests 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. 

Average Time-to-completion 

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 courses in hospitality, hotel and restaurant, and tourism courses 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 the marketing and management of events. These tasks involve everything from the initial conceptualization and planning to post-event evaluation. 

Hospitality Law 

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 in relation to 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 both 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 associates in hospitality management degree programs also use digital simulations for experiential learning. 

Assessments and Evaluations 

Online students aren’t exempted from the assessments and evaluations that come with 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 that 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:

  • Leadership 
  • Organization 
  • Collaboration and teamwork 
  • Communication 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Multitasking 
  • 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 student debt, thanks to affordable tuition and financial aid options.  

Continuing Education 

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. 

Online Associates in Hospitality Management - fact

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 then include bars and restaurants, travel and tourism agencies, hotels, inns, and beds-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. 

Tourism Management 

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. 

Hotel Management

Professionals with hotel management skills deal with financial management, human resources management, and customer relations, among other aspects. Hotel management involves ensuring that the accommodations, food and drink services, and housekeeping are running efficiently. 

Event Management

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. 

Resort Management 

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 a wide variety of 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 ($78,500/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 ($37,408/year

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 on their first impressions. 

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners ($63,500/year

These professionals are masters of event planning, whether it’s 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 ($36,956/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 ($49,206/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, or 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 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 make an impact on 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.

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Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor