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12 Best Online Colleges for Hospitality in 2017

The best online colleges for hospitality allow students hoping to pursue a career in the hotel, restaurant, resort, or casino management to earn either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field. While positions in the industry can be gained without earning a degree, a bachelor’s degree in hospitality helps individuals gain the skills necessary to work in management positions within the industry. The best online hospitality degrees provide students with courses that integrate business with the hospitality and tourism industry. Most bachelor’s degree programs will also provide students with a core curriculum that offers courses in humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences.

Hospitality majors working in the hotel or resort industry typically work in an office environment, but are often called upon to move around the motel, not only managing staff members, but also resolving any problems that a guest may encounter. In most cases, they will be called upon to keep track of the facility’s finances, and are responsible for interviewing, hiring, and training new staff. At larger hotels or resorts, each manager may be in charge of a specific aspect like hiring, finances, or guest relations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lodging managers held approximately 51,400 jobs in 2010. Job growth is expected to be slower than average through 2020, with only an 8% increase in the number of positions.

Food service or restaurant mangers usually work in the kitchens and dining rooms of a variety of different restaurants and resorts. Because most restaurants and resorts usually stay open for very long hours, most managers are called upon to work very long hours, often times until late at night, and most work more than five days a week. The environment can also be stressful, as most are called upon to manage their staff of waiters and cooks in addition to dealing with dissatisfied customers. According to the BLS, food service managers held about 320,600 in 2010. However, only 24% were in full-service restaurants or resorts. The BLS also expects the number of jobs in the field to decrease by 3% through 2020, which will increase competitiveness of the job market.

Another type of hospitality manager, gaming services managers usually work at commercial casinos, riverboat casinos, hotel casinos, Native American casinos, and racetracks with casinos. They typically spend most of their time walking the casino floor. The jobs are often times very demanding, and because most casinos are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, they must work nights, weekends, and holidays. In addition to walking the casino floor, gaming managers are also responsible for managing existing staff members and interviewing, hiring, and training new staff members. They should also be patient and have excellent communications skills, as like with food service and restaurant managers, they can be called upon to resolve conflicts with customers. There is typically a substantial amount of competition for jobs. The BLS reported that only 22% of jobs within the industry were held by gaming managers and supervisors.

Finally, there is lodging management. While there are no licensing or certification requirements for lodging managers, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration provides accreditation to more than 100 schools that offer hospitality programs. Individuals who work as a food service manager can earn the Foodservice Management Professional designation, which is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The designation is awarded to managers already working in the food service industry who pass a written exam, complete continuing education courses, and have the required amount of work experience. Gaming professionals and managers must be licensed by a state regulatory agency, such as a state casino board or gaming commission.

In addition to seeking out the necessary certification or licensure needed for each industry, it is also essential that students earn a degree from a regionally or nationally accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This will provide potential employers and graduate schools with a sense that the degree holder earned an education that meets an acceptable level of quality.

Please review our Methodology here: Rankings Methodology


Rank School Name Average Rating
1 National University 13.02
2 Schiller International University 14.09
3 American Public University 15.40
4 Saint Leo University 16.72
5 Stratford University 17.69
6 Virginia College 19.58
7 Regent University 19.99
8 National American University 23.00
9 University of Phoenix-Online 23.99
10 Columbia Southern University 24.07
11 Ellis University 24.95
12 Strayer University 25.06