Best Online Associate in Hospitality Management Degrees for 2023

Associates Degree in Hospitality Management Career Options & Salary

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Overview of an Associate's in Hospitality Management

Are you considering a career in hospitality management? If you are interested in the hospitality industry or hospitality management industry and enjoy working directly with other people, a degree in hospitality management program may be a good fit for you. Professionals who work in hotel and restaurant management, food and beverage, and food service within the hospitality industry often ensure that guests have a pleasant experience at a resort, hotel, or motel when on vacation or traveling for business purposes. Additionally, they are often responsible for ensuring the establishment runs efficiently and is profitable. While duties will vary from position to position, other job tasks for those who earn an on-campus or online hospitality management associate degree may include:

  • Inspecting the facility and grounds for cleanliness
  • Ensuring company standards are met
  • Answering guest questions regarding policies and services either on the phone, online, or for current customers
  • Tracking and managing company finances
  • Interviewing, hiring, and training new staff members
  • Monitoring staff performance
  • Coordinating guest activities
  • Resolving guest problems and addressing complaints
  • Setting room rates and budgets
  • Ensuring food service or dining meets quality and safety requirements
  • Upholding hotel and restaurant management and sales policy both in front-of-house and office settings
  • Maintaining events schedules if required and providing leadership for staff

There are three educational paths available to individuals interested in hospitality management. While it is possible to gain employment at a resort, hotel, or motel straight out of community college or an online or traditional hospitality management associate degree program, even with certificates, years of professional experience in the hospitality industry are required before management positions will become available. For this reason, most people choose to pursue either an associate degree in hospitality management program or an undergraduate degree in hospitality, hotel, or restaurant management. These advanced degrees in hospitality management often help graduates qualify for more advanced employment opportunities, though there may be fewer available online.

As with all academic and career ventures, however, there are advantages and disadvantages to completing associate degree in hospitality management programs rather than a higher level hospitality management degree.


    There are many reasons to consider pursuing a hospitality management associate degree program. One of the most alluring benefits is the lower cost of education, especially if you attend a community college or complete an online associate hospitality management program. According to 2017-2018 statistics released by the College Board’s Trends in Higher Education Series, the average in-state tuition for attending a traditional four-year institution for a single year was $9,970. Conversely, students can expect to pay an average of $3,570 a year when working toward an associate degree, and those attending online may pay even less.

    Earning an associate degree also takes less time than earning a bachelor’s degree. Most traditional undergraduate programs can be completed within four years, assuming students are attending classes full-time. It takes approximately two years, however, for full-time students to graduate from an on-campus or online associate degree program.

    While bachelor’s degree holders have to wait four years to join the workforce, people who complete a hospitality management associate degree program may be able to find employment in as little as two years. This is especially helpful considering that individuals with a degree of any kind will make more money than those without one.

    Additionally, associate degree credits can be transferrable. If you decide to pursue further hospitality management education in the future, the coursework you have already completed can count toward those requirements.


    While there are numerous reasons to consider pursuing an associate hospitality management degree, there are some drawbacks as well. One of the most important disadvantages to keep in mind is that associate degree graduates often compete with bachelor’s degree graduates for the same jobs. Employers may be willing to accept applications from people with an associate degree in hospitality management, but preference is often given to those with higher-level degrees. Educational achievements are an easy way to narrow down a candidate pool. Similarly, it may be more difficult to secure employment in more advanced managerial and supervisory positions within the hospitality industry.

    Further, while hospitality management professionals with an associate degree will likely make more money than people without a degree of any kind, they will not earn as much as bachelor’s degree program graduates. Higher salaries may be achievable over time, but starting pay will not be as competitive as it is for individuals with more education.

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What are the Best Online Associate in Hospitality Management College Programs?

There are many colleges that offer traditional associate degrees in hospitality management. These programs require students to take courses in person, as opposed to offering a distance learning alternative. Some of the most prominent colleges and universities with this type of program include:


American Public University System

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,360
    • Out-of-state: $7,360
  • Net Price: $11,503
  • Retention Rate: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Total Enrollment: 50,047
  • Undergrad Students: 40,362
  • Graduate Students: 9,685
  • Diplomas Awarded: 8
  • Grads Salary: $37,500
  • Student-to-faculty: 23:1
  • American Public University System

Casper College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,882
    • Out-of-state: $9,822
  • Net Price: $6,373
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,551
  • Undergrad Students: 3,551
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 5
  • Grads Salary: $35,500
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • Casper College

Western Technical College-La Crosse

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,500
    • Out-of-state: $6,584
  • Net Price: $9,188
  • Retention Rate: 53%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,240
  • Undergrad Students: 4,240
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 10
  • Grads Salary: $34,900
  • Student-to-faculty: 9:1
  • Western Technical College-La Crosse

Monroe College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $16,536
    • Out-of-state: $16,536
  • Net Price: $12,330
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,541
  • Undergrad Students: 5,739
  • Graduate Students: 802
  • Diplomas Awarded: 29
  • Grads Salary: $30,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Monroe College

Cowley College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,750
    • Out-of-state: $5,190
  • Net Price: $7,168
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,475
  • Undergrad Students: 2,475
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Grads Salary: $32,400
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Cowley College

University of Northwestern Ohio

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,550
    • Out-of-state: $11,550
  • Net Price: $17,578
  • Retention Rate: 54%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,009
  • Undergrad Students: 2,944
  • Graduate Students: 65
  • Diplomas Awarded: 2
  • Grads Salary: $33,600
  • Student-to-faculty: 23:1
  • University of Northwestern Ohio

Career Technical Institute

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $18,490
    • Out-of-state: $18,490
  • Net Price: $20,819
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 493
  • Undergrad Students: 493
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 8
  • Grads Salary: $32,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 26:1
  • Career Technical Institute

Hillsborough Community College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,506
    • Out-of-state: $9,111
  • Net Price: $2,406
  • Retention Rate: 60%
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Total Enrollment: 19,532
  • Undergrad Students: 19,532
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 5
  • Grads Salary: $33,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 21:1
  • Hillsborough Community College

Ocean County College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,790
    • Out-of-state: $8,100
  • Net Price: $13,205
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 38%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,480
  • Undergrad Students: 7,480
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 9
  • Grads Salary: $34,900
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Ocean County College

Peninsula College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,218
    • Out-of-state: $4,671
  • Net Price: $8,415
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,727
  • Undergrad Students: 1,727
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 2
  • Grads Salary: $30,100
  • Student-to-faculty: 12:1
  • Peninsula College
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Certificate vs. Associate's

You may also be able to find a hospitality management certificate program online or through a local college. These differ from an associate degree in many ways. These programs are often inexpensive and require even less time to complete. While most online and on-campus associate programs require two years to graduate, students can earn a certificate in as little as a one year. This is because certificate programs do not include general education courses in their curriculum. Non-vocational classes, like math and writing, are cut to expedite program completion.

Focusing the curriculum on field-specific topics provides a good introduction to the industry and allows graduates to join the workforce sooner, but there are significant drawbacks as well. Namely, a certificate may not satisfy an employer’s minimum college degree requirement. This can make finding and competing for employment more difficult. Additionally, individuals with a certificate should expect to make less money than those who have an associate or bachelor’s degree in hospitality management.

What Hospitality Management Associate Degrees are Available Online?

While specific degree titles can vary from institution to institution, most colleges and universities offer an Associate of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management and/or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hospitality Management. Both of these degrees help prepare graduates for employment in the field, but there are a few distinct differences you should be aware of before enrolling.

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Hospitality and Tourism Management
    An Associate of Science (AS) in Hospitality and Tourism Management is usually designed for individuals interested in beginning or advancing a career in the hospitality and tourism industry. Students often gain the skills necessary to be successful working in management positions at hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, catering companies, and bars. Graduates are ready to enter the workforce after completing all necessary requirements but are also prepared to pursue further education at a traditional, four-year institution. These degrees may still be available online despite them being "science" degrees because they don't have a lab work requirement.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hospitality Management
    An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Hospitality Management is usually designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge necessary to be successful in the hospitality industry. Often, coursework prepares students to apply business, communication, accounting, and supervision principles to hospitality facility management. It does not, however, provide opportunities to learn about or enhance tourism and travel planning skills. In most cases, individuals who enroll in an AAS program do not intend to pursue additional education in the future.

Admission Requirements

In most cases, colleges and universities have established requirements that associate degree candidates must complete before enrolling. While these vary from school to school, they often include some variation of the following:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum overall academic grade point average

If you are transferring from another institution, you may also be required to provide a transcript containing a record of prior course completions. It is also important to note that SAT and/or ACT scores are not required at most community colleges, but are necessary when enrolling in an undergraduate program after earning an associate degree. Also, those planning to attend online will need to provide the same admission documents as those attending on-campus. Even in their online platform, school's wish to be discerning about the students they admit.

How long does it take to earn a Hospitality Management Associates Online?

In most cases, it takes approximately two years to earn an online associate degree in hospitality management. This does assume, however, that the enrolled student is attending the institution full-time. While many people opt to take classes on a part-time basis due to personal or professional responsibilities, doing this does take longer. The time frame varies depending on the program and the number of courses completed each semester, but graduation can be delayed by one to three years. It is also worth noting that students entering an online associate degree program with advanced placement credits or transfer credits may be able to graduate in fewer than two years. Also, if students are willing to take an extra online class during the year or over the summer, they may be able to speed up their graduation.

Potential Careers in Hospitality Management with an Associates

There are numerous employment opportunities available to individuals who have graduated from an associate degree program in hospitality management. Some popular options include restaurant manager, housekeeping manager, hotel manager, event manager, and travel agent.

  • Restaurant Manager
    Restaurant managers are responsible for overseeing the daily operations of one or more eating establishments. They frequently hire, train, and supervise all restaurant staff members, as well as maintain schedules and payroll. They may also plan and lead departmental meetings, create additional work assignments, and maintain reservations.
    According to PayScale, the average salary for a restaurant manager is: $47,200.
  • Housekeeping Manager
    Housekeeping managers oversee the daily operations of the housekeeping department for companies and institutions that require regular cleaning. They are responsible for ensuring that staff members maintain cleanliness standards and are available for emergency clean-up situations. These professionals also hire and train incoming employees.
    According to PayScale, the average salary for a housekeeping manager is: $44,100.
  • Hotel Manager
    Hotel managers are in charge of a wide variety of supervisory duties at a hotel, motel, or resort. They are often responsible for hiring, training, and managing staff members, as well as overseeing facility maintenance standards. These professionals also ensure all bookkeeping is completed properly and in a timely manner.
    According to PayScale, the average salary for a hotel manager is: $49,600.
  • Event Manager
    Event managers are responsible for scheduling and bringing an event to life. They often work closely with individuals and companies to execute a particular vision. These professionals also coordinate services with third-party vendors, including venue owners, caterers, and entertainers.
    According to PayScale, the average salary for an event manager is: $53,800.
  • Travel Agent
    Travel agents typically assist individuals and groups in planning and securing travel arrangements for personal and business purposes. They often identify suitable transportation and accommodations based on client needs and preferences. These professionals usually earn extra money from commissions.
    According to PayScale, the average salary for a travel agent is: $39,600.

Options to Advance

Often, advancement opportunities come from within the company that a hospitality management professional works for. In most cases, assistant managers advance to managers, while managers may become regional managers. It is important to realize, however, that these opportunities are far more readily available at large hotel chains. Small hotels and resorts that are independently owned offer fewer advancement options.

Additionally, those who work for larger companies must be willing to relocate when new management positions become available. While it is not uncommon for employees to be promoted from within, jobs are not always available in a specific area at a specific time. This means that relocating to another city or state may be necessary in order to advance in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some important skills to have in hospitality management?

Different jobs require different skills. Some who work in programming must be comfortable working independently and those in accounting must be particularly meticulous. However, those in hospitality management will need a different set of skills. They will work with people, both employees of their company and customers, and will need to be able to be part of a team while also being personable and friendly to those customers who come to them with a problem. This means that they will need excellent interpersonal skills, empathy, and emotional intelligence to get them through the day-to-day issues that arise. Teamwork and problem solving are other useful skills for those in these positions. And they should also be skilled in strategy and innovation because they will need to come up with new ways of increasing their number of customers and introducing new income streams if one runs dry.

What types of certifications are available in hospitality management?

There are many certifications available in this sector from professional organizations through schools and their own online programs and courses.

Here are just some of the certificates you could choose:

  • Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHA)
  • Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE)
  • Certified Guest Services Professional (CGSP)
  • Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE)
  • Certified Hospitality Facilities Executive (CLSD)
  • Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive (CHHE)
  • Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager (CHRM)
  • Certified Hospitality Sales Professional (CHISP)
  • Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS)
  • Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT)
  • Certified Lodging Security Supervisor (CLSS)
  • Certified Rooms Division Executive (CRDE)
  • Certified Spa Supervisor (CSS)

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