In 2014, the hospitality and leisure industry employed nearly 14.6 million workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although education requirements can vary significantly, many of those positions require some type of post-secondary training. For example, meeting, convention and event planners, who have one of the fastest growing occupations in the industry, typically need at least a bachelor's degree.
If you're interested in a career in hospitality, but aren't sure whether you have the time to return to school, an online degree program may be right for you. Online hospitality management colleges may cover all the same material as on-campus programs, but allow you to study from the convenience of your home. Other reasons students select online colleges can include:
- Online colleges allow students, even those who live far from a campus, to study at accredited institutions.
- Students do not have to budget for room and board, commuting expenses or child care.
- Many courses allow students to log-in and review course materials 24/7. This means individuals with a family or job can fit in study time early in the morning or late at night once they are off work and/or the kids are asleep.
- Tuition rates at many online colleges are affordable, and financial aid may be available through the school, government or other sources.
Methodology for Selecting the Top 10
To help you find the top choices for hospitality management colleges, we looked for institutions with affordable tuition rates and respectable graduation rates.
Graduation rates are important because they may correlate to the quality of a college or university's program. In addition, schools with higher graduation rates might do a better job of connecting students with support services to keep them on course with their studies. Finally, graduating on time may mean lower overall tuition costs for you.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the overall average 2012 graduation rate in the United States was 59 percent. That means 59 out of 100 first-time, full-time undergraduate students who enrolled in 2006 had earned their bachelor's degree by 2012.
While graduation rates can be important, a high rate doesn't do you much good if you can't afford the tuition. That's why our top colleges list includes only schools with an annual in-state tuition rate (when in-state tuition is available) of less than $15,000 for the 2013-2014 school year. In fact, nine out of the ten institutions listed below have tuition rates below $10,000 per year. These rates reflect the average cost of all undergraduate degrees offered by a school, not just online programs.
After analyzing graduation rates and tuition data from the National Center for Education Statistics, we bring you our list of online hospitality management degrees. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.
The Top 10 Online Hospitality Management Colleges
#1 - San Diego State University
- Graduation rate: 66%
- In-State Tuition: $6,766
San Diego State University has an online master's degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management which is intended for those with a bachelor's degree and 5-15 years of mid-level management experience. The degree features a blended delivery which combines 17 months of online coursework with 14 days of on-campus requirements. Upon graduation, students should be well prepared for the possibility of moving into leadership occupations, such as that of a director, general manager or CEO.
#2 - Monroe College
- Graduation rate: 55%
- Tuition: $13,236
The Bronx-based college has been offering higher education options to New York City residents since 1933. Now, many of its degrees are also available online. Students interested in hospitality can earn an associate degree in Hospitality Management or a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management. For a four-year degree, individuals can concentrate their studies in either culinary management or tourism and destination management.
#3 - University of Wisconsin - Stout
- Graduation rate: 54%
- In-State Tuition: $8,968
Golf enthusiasts may find the start to a perfect career at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. The school offers an innovative online bachelor's degree in Golf Enterprise Management. There is no need to be a great golfer to enter the program; students focus on the business of golf, not the game. The degree program is the only one endorsed by the National Golf Course Owners Association Board of Directors.
#4 - Florida International University
- Graduation rate: 52%
- In-State Tuition: $6,496
At Florida International University, students can choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as continuing education and professional certification options. Within the field of hospitality, an online bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management is available. The fully online program pairs each student with a success coach, and the degree can be started in the spring, summer or fall.
#5 - University of North Texas
- Graduation rate: 50%
- In-State Tuition: $8,745
According to the University of North Texas, the school is the largest and most comprehensive university in the North Texas region. Its eCampus offers online degrees programs in five colleges as well as accelerated master's degrees. The College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism offers both an online master's degree in Hospitality Management and an online graduate certificate in Hospitality Management. There is also a graduate degree and certificate program in Merchandising.
#6 - California State University - Northridge
- Graduation rate: 46%
- In-State Tuition: $6,525
Although not yet accepting enrollments, a master's degree in Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation management from California State University - Northridge promises to be a good choice for future graduate students. The fully online program is expected to launch in spring 2015 and can be completed on an accelerated 20-month schedule.
#7 - Fort Hays State University
- Graduation rate: 45%
- In-State Tuition: $4,358
The least expensive option on our list of online colleges for hospitality management degrees is Fort Hays State University. FHSU's virtual college offers more than 40 associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs online. Its bachelor's degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management combines business and entrepreneurship classes along with tourism and hospitality coursework.
#8 - University of Southern Mississippi
- Graduation rate: 45%
- In-State Tuition: $6,744
The University of Southern Mississippi offers seven online undergraduate degrees. Among these is a bachelor's degree in Tourism with a major in Casino and Resort Management. Founded in the 1960s, the program was the first in Mississippi to be designated by the Institutes of Higher Learning for the major. After graduation, students should be ready for entry-level managerial positions at casinos, resorts, hotels, restaurants and more.
#9 - American Public University System
- Graduation rate: 42%
- Tuition: $6,400
Founded in 1991 as the American Military University, the American Public University System reorganized into its current form in 2002. The school offers online education exclusively, and its students can choose from more than 180 degree and certificate programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Those enrolling for a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management have their choice of four concentrations: food service, meeting and event planning, lodging and tourism.
#10 - Columbia Southern University
- Graduation rate: 40%
- Tuition: $4,895
Columbia Southern University rounds out the top ten of our picks for online hospitality management colleges. The online university offers a variety of degrees for both undergraduate and graduate students. Those interested in hospitality can earn a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in hospitality and tourism. Tuition at Columbia Southern University was in 2014, and the school estimates it will take students five years to earn a BBA in hospitality and tourism.
A great way to learn more about a school is by requesting additional information. Don't forget to also review our Top Online Colleges Guide for other schools that excel in quality, affordability and flexibility.
- Fast Facts: Graduation Rates, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40
- Leisure and Hospitality, Industries at a Glance, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag70.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm
- Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, San Diego State University, http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/Pages/Engine.aspx?id=724
- School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, Monroe Online, http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/Pages/Engine.aspx?id=724
- BS in Golf Management Enterprise, University of Wisconsin - Stout, http://www.uwstout.edu/programs/bsgem/online/index.cfm
- Hospitality Management, Florida International University, http://www.fiuonline.com/programs/online-undergraduate-degrees/bachelor-of-science-in-hospitality-management.php
- UNT eCampus, University of North Texas, http://www.untecampus.com/default.php?p=programs
- Master of Science in Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation Management, California State University - Northridge, http://tsengcollege.csun.edu/programs/THRM
- Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management, Fort Hays State University, http://www.fhsu.edu/virtualcollege/degrees/Bachelors/tourism-and-hospitality/
- Tourism - BSBA, University of Southern Mississippi, http://www.usm.edu/undergraduate/tourism-casino-resort-management-bsba
- Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management, American Public University System, http://www.apu.apus.edu/academic/programs/degree/962/bachelor-of-arts-in-hospitality-management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Hospitality & Tourism, Columbia Southern University, http://www.columbiasouthern.edu/Degree/Business/BS-Business-Admin/Hospitality