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What is an MBA in Hospitality Management?

An online MBA in hospitality management combines a broad business education with specific coursework in the hospitality and tourism fields. Graduates will be prepared for careers in hotels, casinos, resorts, theme parks, cruise lines, and more. With an 8% projected job growth rate over the next ten years, now is a good time to earn an MBA in hospitality management online.

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Graduates who earn their hospitality management MBA online are expected to have mastered the core skills of the industry.

The online MBA in hospitality management will make you a more competent professional, providing you with a broad skill set. Students seeking upper-level management careers may be required to have an MBA to even interview for a job.

Comparison of Hospitality Management Master’s Degrees

There are a variety of options to earn a hospitality management degree. Some will prepare you for a particular career in the field, while others provide you with a more general hospitality skill set. We highlight three of the most popular options below.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Master of Science (MS) in Hospitality & Tourism The master of science in hospitality and tourism degree provides a broad understanding of the global tourism market, taking a more academic and theoretical approach to the discipline as opposed to the more management-centric MBA. N/A 1 Year
Master of Science (MS) in Parks & Recreation Management The MS in parks and recreation management is a very specific degree. Programs will focus on problem solving and management. $35,513 1-2 Years
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Hospitality Management An online MBA in hospitality management is a broad degree for those seeking upper-level management or corporate positions in hospitality organizations. The degree combines a wide business foundation with hospitality specifics. $37,500 2 Years

Graduates who earn their hospitality management MBA online are expected to have mastered the core skills of the industry: customer service, problem solving, and management. However, MBA programs differ in how they teach those skills. Below, we break down a fairly typical sample curriculum in the field.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Account Management Sales, customer relations, managing accounts and partnerships TITLE: Director of Sales

SALARY: growth of 4%

Budget Management Learn to manage, create, and oversee a budget TITLE: Hotel Manager

SALARY: growth of 36%

Business Strategy Create long-term strategic plans and make business decisions that increase profitability TITLE: Vice President, Business Development

SALARY: growth of 16%

There are many careers available to hospitality graduates. We highlight a few of the more popular options below.

Hotel Manager Median Salary: $47,021
  • Hotels
The primary responsibility of a hotel manager is to oversee and manage all on-site operations, including bookkeeping and training new employees.
Director of Sales, Hotels/Hospitality Median Salary: $56,026
  • Hotels
  • Corporate Offices
Sales directors at hotels are tasked with finding new clients and ensuring that all revenue streams meet their targets.
Tourism Coordinator Median Salary: $43,945
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • City Offices
Tourism coordinators have many tasks, most of which fall under the umbrella of managing a city or area’s touristic image. This includes reception, branding, outreach, marketing, and budgeting.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Antioch University Connected

Location Yellow Springs, OH Tuition Tuition $27,300 % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population 266 School Type Private
Concentrations
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East Carolina University

Location Greenville, NC Tuition Tuition $12,342 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 28,289 School Type Public
Concentrations
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Endicott College

Location Beverly, MA Tuition Tuition $31,454 % Receiving Financial Aid 63% Student Population 4,695 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Fort Hays State University

Location Hays, KS Tuition Tuition $13,600 % Receiving Financial Aid 41% Student Population 14,210 School Type Public
Concentrations
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Husson University

Location Bangor, ME Tuition Tuition $16,704 % Receiving Financial Aid 74% Student Population 3,500 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Johnson & Wales University

Location Providence, RI Tuition Tuition $25,974 % Receiving Financial Aid 86% Student Population 500 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Louisiana State University - Shreveport

Location Shreveport, LA Tuition Tuition $12,473 % Receiving Financial Aid 34% Student Population 4,428 School Type Public
Concentrations
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Lynn University

Location Boca Raton, FL Tuition Tuition $27,380 % Receiving Financial Aid 28% Student Population 2,693 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Midway University

Location Midway, KY Tuition Tuition $16,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 71% Student Population 1,055 School Type Private
Concentrations
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University of New Hampshire

Location Durham, NH Tuition Tuition $38,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 15,351 School Type Public
Concentrations
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Washington State University

Location Pullman, WA Tuition Tuition $27,891 % Receiving Financial Aid 49% Student Population 29,686 School Type Public
Concentrations
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If you’ve decided that an MBA in hospitality management is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy having the ability to visit campus if they want to. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When looked at side-by-side, this information can give you an easy glimpse of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs will require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program that adheres to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Hospitality Management program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Professional certificates can help strengthen a candidate’s qualifications. Earning an MBA in hospitality management online is a great step towards establishing general business acumen, but these certificates can prepare you for specific fields. We highlight two industry standard certificates below.

Liscense Description
Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) The CHA certificate, specifically for hotel professionals, exhibits competency in managing and administering all on-site aspects.
Food and Beverage license A food and beverage license allows a hospitality organization to serve food and drink on site.

Earning your hospitality management MBA online can be expensive, however, there are a number of ways to ease the financial burden of your studies. One of the most popular ways is through scholarships. There’s a wide variety of hospitality management scholarships, both merit and need-based, that can make your continuing education more affordable.