Published October 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the best, most affordable hospitality management associate degrees online.
By many accounts, it’s nearly impossible to find a job in modern society without at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s. So why bother trying to earn an associate’s degree in hospitality management first? Consider this: hospitality and tourism are two of the most inherently “equal opportunity” employers in the marketplace. It’s not often you hear an account of someone starting out as an office assistant at a big financial firm and then suddenly becoming an investment banker. But it’s a lot more common to hear triumphant tales of young, ambitious workers who got their start washing dishes in the kitchen or answering phones at the front desk, slowly working their way up the food chain to become managers at their own establishments. This is an industry that rewards hard work, formal education or not.
Whether you’re just starting your career in hospitality or you’re looking to improve your current standing, you can draw attention to yourself (and your résumé) by earning an accredited AAS in hospitality management online. This strategy allows you to enhance your knowledge and demonstrate your understanding of the business without infringing on your day-to-day work responsibilities.
Of course, you want to attend the best hospitality management associate degree online program that you possibly can, and this ranking is here to point you in the right direction. In fact, these 10 schools represent, as far as we know, the only colleges in the entire country with online degree programs specifically in “Hospitality Administration and Management.” We scoured data bases like College Navigator and sifted through dozens of pages of search engine results just to compile this brief list.
In one sense, all of these schools made the “top 10” by default. But at the same time, they represent the elite few universities that are committed to meeting this unique need, and their passion is reflected in the thorough, detail-oriented, thoughtful nature of the curricula. They are ranked from most to least expensive*, but you’ll soon see that even the priciest of these colleges is still far below the national average when it comes to annual costs.
*Tuition obtained from College Navigator, a division of the National Center for Education Statistics. We calculated average rates ([in-state + out-of-state + fees]/2) for public colleges.
10. NHTI-Concord’s Community College
Online Hospitality and Tourism Management Degree
NHTI, once known as the New Hampshire Technical Institute, is a large (roughly 4,500 students) community college with associate and certificate programs across a wide array of subjects. This includes the Associate in Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, a two-year, 64-credit degree path that is ideal for students seeking careers in the hotel, restaurant, travel, or event planning industries. In fact, this online associate’s degree in hospitality management provides elective classes that can translate to a certificate in Travel and Tourism, Event/Conference Management, Wedding Planning Management, or Hotel Administration.
9. Utah Valley University
Online AS/AAS in Hospitality Management
With more than 33,000 enrolled students, Utah Valley University is the largest institution of higher education in the state. Considering the relatively small number of four-year colleges in Utah, this standing makes UVU an important force in the region’s educational economy. The university offers an extremely large selection of associate’s degrees for a four-year institution (which also offers a handful of graduate programs). Interestingly, its hospitality management associate degree online is made possible through a partnership with the Salt Lake Community College. This dual delivery system makes it easy for online learners to earn their AS or AAS degree before officially transferring to UVU to continue their journey to a bachelor’s degree.
8. Chemeketa Community College
Online Hospitality and Tourism Management Associate of Applied Science Degree
Salem, Oregon may not scream “tourism” the way Los Angeles or New York does, but you might be surprised by how many people travel to the Pacific Northwest each year for weddings, conventions, and other events – including visits to Oregon Wine Country. That means there’s plenty of local demand for professionals knowledgeable in the hospitality biz, which is precisely why Chemeketa Community College offers an affordable online associate’s degree in hospitality management. In addition to this 92-credit AAS degree, you can also choose from online certificate options in Food and Beverage Management, Event Management, and Lodging Management, among others.
7. American Public University
Charles Town, WV
Online Hospitality of Associate of Arts
The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the most dynamic you will ever encounter. New fads and evolving trends in the fashion, entertainment, technology, and even the diet industry have a significant impact on the way people spend their leisure time. Luckily, American Public University is ahead of the game. The university works with an advisory council of “industry experts” to make sure its ACBSP-accredited online associate’s degree in hospitality management offers only the most relevant, career-applicable training. As a hospitality student at APU, you’ll study not only the latest and greatest industry trends, but also the history of the industry, marketing techniques, and management principles.
6. Finger Lakes Community College
Online Tourism Management Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
If you live in New York and have a desire to earn your degree online, you’re in luck. Why? Because you have access to Open SUNY+, the collaborative, state-wide online learning initiative powered by the expansive SUNY public school system. This unique regional program greatly increases the accessibility and convenience of hundreds of degrees, including the Tourism Management AAS from Finger Lakes Community College. One of the best online associate’s degrees in hospitality management in the region, utilizes group projects, case studies, and other interactive teaching methods to engage students.
5. Seminole State College
Online Hospitality Management Associate in Arts
Floridians who hope to earn their hospitality management associate’s degree online should look to Seminole State, a community college turned junior college turned public state college that hosts nearly 200 programs, from one-year certificates to four-year bachelor’s degrees. The school’s robust academic offerings make it an attractive choice for students who ultimately would like to continue beyond their AA or AAS diploma. In fact, SSC’s hospitality management program is designed for that exact purpose. Organized as a sub-field within the wider Business Administration degree, the Hospitality Management Associate in Arts provides students with the 60 credits of prerequisite courses they’ll need before transferring to one of Florida’s four-year universities.
4. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Online Hospitaltiy Management Associate’s Degree
In addition to being one of the most affordable hospitality management associate degrees online, this program out of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is also undoubtedly one of the best. The curriculum focuses on event management skills, lodging and restaurant operation, and hospitality training techniques, graduating students with an Associate of Applied Business degree that gives them extra versatility as they consider their next step. You’ll even have the opportunity to participate in a co-op program with a local hotel, country club, or catering company, which will earn you valuable job experience as well as a small hourly wage.
3. Central Texas College
Online Hospitality Management Associate of Arts Degree
If experience can make you an expert, than Central Texas College is an expert in hospitality management education. This community college has been in the business of training students for the tourism business for the past three decades, and it shows. Their top AAS in hospitality management online program comes with five specialization options: Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, Restaurant and Culinary Management, Rood and Beverage Management, and Hotel Management. CTC is also well-stocked with one-year and advanced certificates in areas such as Restaurant Skills, Institutional Food Service Operations, and Property Management that will give you a quick career boost while you study toward more long-term goals.
2. Casper College
Online Hospitality Management, A.A.S.
At less than $5,000 a year, it’s hard to turn down an opportunity to attend this cheap hospitality management program from Casper College. Then again, you might also be suspicious about what you can expect to learn for so little money. But Casper College is not about cutting corners, and its curriculum is a veritable heavyweight on this hospitality management associate’s degree online ranking. In addition to at least 17 credits of general education coursework, you’ll need to work your way through nearly 50 credits of major-specific classes in Commercial Law, Food and Beverage Management, and Hotel/Motel Front Office Operations, to name but a few.
1. Albany Technical College
Online Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Associates of Applied Science
Even if this program were among the lowest quality available, it would be difficult to outright dismiss a degree with such unbelievably low tuition rates. And yet, Albany Technical College arguably has one of the best hospitality management associate’s degree online. As an Associate’s of Applied Science, ATC’s program focuses primarily on technical career training and skill acquisition that translates to immediate employment in the hospitality and tourism industry. In addition to training novice students for entry-level jobs in the field, the program is also useful for current professionals who want to reinforce or upgrade their knowledge to make them more adaptable to the current needs of the marketplace.
You’ve reached the end of our ranking of the top online associates degrees in hospitality management.