Hotel Management Degrees: Masters & Online Course Info

About this article
What will you learn in a hotel management graduate program? Read about requirements for master's degrees, pros and cons, online courses and potential career options.
View available schools

Study Hotel Management: Master's Degrees and Online Course Info

Hotel management professionals might manage a hotel, club, spa, casino or resort. You could also work at corporate headquarters in areas like marketing, finance, food and guest services, real estate or accounting. General managers might supervise an entire facility or a specific department. Convention services managers coordinate special events and meetings. As a front-office manager, you would deal with guests directly to ensure their stay is satisfying and any problems are solved. Your training could also help you start your own hotel-related business.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for lodging managers will grow only eight percent from 2010-2020, while careers involving planning conventions and events may grow 44%, which is much faster than average.

Master's
Who is this option for? Individuals interested in advanced management roles
Common Career Paths (with 2012 median annual salary) - Hotel manager ($95,000)*
- Meeting and event director ($100,000)*
- Front office manager-casino ($55,000')*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time
Common Completion Requirements - Roughly 32-36 credits
- Thesis or project
- Internship
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in a related field
Online Availability Yes; completely online rare

Source: *Salary.com (2012 figures).

Master's Degrees in Hotel Management

Schools may offer master's degrees in hotel management through departments of hospitality and tourism or through joint MBA and hotel management programs. In addition to a bachelor's degree, master's degree candidates often have several years of industry experience. Depending on your background, you might begin your career at a smaller company or property while gaining the experience you'll need to work at a flagship property of a large company.

The program will teach you about strategic management, financial accounting and finance. Students will also learn about food service, hospitality marketing, revenue management, operations analysis, real estate investment or property management.

Pros and Cons of a Master's in Hotel Management

Pros

  • Work anywhere in the world with travel opportunities
  • May help you accelerate your career at prominent companies and properties
  • Entrepreneurial options like bed-and-breakfasts

Cons

  • Career may require unconventional hours
  • Job may be stressful at times
  • More experienced candidates with bachelor's degrees may be competing with you for jobs

Source: *PayScale.com (May 2012 data)

Courses and Requirements

Core courses may be similar to those in an MBA program, with a hotel management emphasis. These might include finance and accounting, food and beverage management, human resources, property management and marketing. Students might complete internships or capstone projects over the course of the 2-year program.

Depending on your specialty, you might also take courses in:

  • Facility planning and design
  • Franchising
  • Hospitality pricing and analysis
  • Hospitality entrepreneurship

Online Course Information

Online master's degree programs in hotel management are available to students who are already working in the field and cannot attend classes on-campus. Students will learn through instructor lectures that can be viewed online. A course management system will allow students to submit assignments and communicate with professors.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

International internship or co-op experience and multilingual skills may be beneficial with some employers. Membership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), student clubs or other affinity organizations may help you make contacts. You might also choose to participate with travel and tourism organizations, journals or research initiatives. Combining your hotel management master's degree with a MBA or a certificate program could enhance your marketability.

Online Post-Baccalaureate Courses and Training in Hotel Management

Proprietary schools, community colleges, 4-year universities and professional associations offer virtual training at the post-baccalaureate level. Online courses, certificates and degree programs are available through AHLA, community colleges and regionally-accredited traditional universities. These programs are geared toward students who want specialized training in a certain area and who do not have the time or money to commit to a master's degree program.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Appropriate for students who want to build skills in targeted areas
  • May meet needs of hotel professionals with unusual schedules or who are working in remote resorts where on-campus options are not available
  • Will not interfere with employment obligations
  • Could give you training opportunities required and supported by your company

Cons

  • Some prior background required; not intended for beginners
  • Don't provide well-rounded background that would make students competitive with master's degree graduates
  • Costs may need to be weighed against relative necessity of program

Common Course Topics

Students will take courses in specific areas related to hospitality management. These may include technical courses that could improve your skills in specific disciplines. Topics might include:

  • Convention management
  • Hotel and restaurant accounting
  • Training and development for the hospitality industry
  • Front-office operations

Online Course Options

Online courses are available through proprietary schools, community colleges, 4-year universities and professional associations. American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) courses are available in front office, food and beverage, housekeeping, maintenance, security, human resources, and sales for hotel management employment levels, including executive, department head, management, supervisory, line level and specialty personnel.

How to Get Ahead

Your company may want you to earn specific training before promoting you. If you pursue coursework independently, your motivation and ambition may be noticed by management. You can remain current and deepen your knowledge in your field of expertise, or start to move into an area that interests you; this could make your more valuable to your current or future employer.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Accelerated Masters in Business Administration
      • DUAL MBA-MSN
      • Masters in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Widener University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Business Process Innovation
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Winthrop University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - General
      • Master of Business Administration - Undecided

Featured Schools

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

What is your highest level of education?

Benedictine University

  • Accelerated Masters in Business Administration
  • DUAL MBA-MSN
  • Masters in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

What is your highest level of education?

Widener University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration - Business Process Innovation

What is your highest level of education completed?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)

What is your highest level of education?

Winthrop University

  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
  • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Management

Are you a US citizen?