Can You Get an Online Degree in Hospitality Management?

Learn how to earn an online degree in the field of hospitality management and restaurant operations.

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May 24, 2023 10 min read

One of the best things about the culinary industry is there is truly a career path for everyone. If food preparation isn’t your forte and pastries aren’t your passion–that’s okay! There are other exciting opportunities, like a career in hospitality.

From managing a hotel or resort, running a restaurant, or overseeing day-of operations for wedding events–the options are endless!

But what kind of education & skills might you need to get there?

With an online degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, a hospitality career may be closer than you think.

Chef Jason Goldman, Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management Instructor“When we think about the hospitality industry, we’re not just thinking about restaurants. We’re also talking about hotels, we’re talking about country clubs, we’re talking about even nursing homes or care facilities, maybe even hospitals. It’s a pretty broad range of opportunities in the business sector that we would classify as ‘hospitality’.”*
Jason Goldman, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Pastry Arts and Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

How Does an Online Hospitality Program Work?

The online Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program at Escoffier can offer high-quality education and hands-on experiences similar to our on-campus programs in other disciplines.

Students begin each week with reading and video assignments to introduce them to new concepts and terminology. Online hospitality students attend live lectures with seasoned chef instructors, recreating the classroom setting in the convenience of their own homes. If you can’t attend a live session due to work or another commitment, don’t worry. Lectures are recorded and available to view online when it suits your schedule, as long as you meet program deadlines.

Students also complete assignments that can help them to further explore a topic and demonstrate their understanding. Instructors may then assess student work and provide personalized feedback. Online students can also benefit from peer interaction with class message boards, where they can ask questions, share ideas, and potentially build a network of future industry professionals.

For many, online learning is a new experience. That is why each student has access to a Success Coach to help them navigate these challenges and come up with a plan to keep them on track. It’s our goal to help every student reach their greatest potential, from enrollment to graduation!

Person sitting at a desk typing on a computer

Online students can enjoy the ability to learn from home, on their own schedule.

What Can You Study in The Online Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management Program?

Escoffier’s online Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management associate degree includes extensive coursework in business, guest experience, communication and leadership, and more. But what exactly can you learn in this type of online degree program?

Take General Education Courses With a Focus on Hospitality

There are certain “general education” requirements that all students must complete in order to earn an associate degree. But since Escoffier is exclusively focused on food and hospitality, those courses have been designed with the student’s future in mind.

In the Foodservice Math & Accounting course, for example, students can complete their math requirement by studying concepts pertaining to restaurant expenses, food and beverage costs, labor costs, and profit analysis. Other courses may focus on history and culture from a culinary perspective, weaving in subjects like religion, economics, and politics. And science and nutrition-related courses can allow students to explore different food sources and their impact on personal and global health.

Explore Specialty Courses Related to the Discipline

Specialty courses of study within the Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program can give students the chance to dig deeper into topics specific to the hospitality industry.

They can study Menu Design & Management, as well as Catering & Event Operations. On the finance side, courses in cost control and purchasing may help them to focus on profitability, while Foundations in Human Resources and Leadership & Development can help students to be professional and effective managers.

For the entrepreneurial-minded student, the Building Your Own Business block includes coursework in business planning and ethics. With more and more people dreaming of owning their own company, this course can be a valuable introduction to the day-to-day tasks of the entrepreneur.

Chef Jason Goldman, Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management Instructor“The program really dives into these large-scale types of topics that can be found anywhere in the hospitality industry. A big part of the program is finances…We have courses that address food service math and accounting, cost control, purchasing, and food and beverage operations, among others.”*
Jason Goldman, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Pastry Arts, and Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

Wrap Up Your Education With an Externship

The final component in the program is a hands-on industry externship. This can give students a chance to put what they’ve learned into practice, and see how all of the pieces work together in a real-world setting. These externships might include work at a hotel’s front desk, a theme park’s ticket sales office, a restaurant’s management team, or even a cruise ship’s hospitality crew.

Start building industry relationships and get some experience to put on your resume!

Susanna Halbrook“During my externship, I had the proof! I was asked to fulfill tasks that made me realize that I did have confidence and knowledge thanks to the Escoffier program.”*
Susanna Halbrook, Escoffier Online Graduate

The Benefits of a Degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management

Do you need a degree to be successful in hospitality? After all, some people choose to work their way up instead of starting out with a degree or credentials.

While a degree is not a requirement for a position in a restaurant, hotel, or food business, it can help your growth throughout your career. And the online platform has its own special benefits, too!

Prepare for a Wide Variety of Possible Careers

A degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management can help you prepare for career paths in restaurant, hotel, or resort management, catering, tourism, event venue management, retail food operations, or any other business where food and service intersect.

It can creates a business-focused foundation to help you become a strong asset to a future hospitality team. With this education, you may be better positioned to cut costs and improve profitability, which could be highly desirable skills to potential employers!

With an education from Escoffier, most graduates can become more qualified for an entry-level management position. They may study not just the operations side, but the human side of the hospitality business. This can help them to advance more quickly through their careers than someone without an education.

Chef Maria Davenport“A strong educational background can help someone with limited experience become a valued contributor to their employer. They can utilize the skills taught at Escoffier to work their way into a management position.”*
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

Get Unparalleled Flexibility in an Online Program

Online learning comes with its advantages. For many, online education can remove barriers of location, cost, and scheduling, as students are able to learn when and where works best for them.

As an online student, you can complete your degree on your own time, as long as you meet program deadlines. That means you can balance your education with other obligations like a part-time or full-time job, or taking care of your family.

Complete Your Education From Anywhere

When you study online, you don’t have to uproot and relocate your life to be near a culinary school. Plus, you can cut the commute by learning from your own home. All you need is a reliable computer and internet connection, access to a kitchen, and a readiness to learn!

The only component of your program that requires you to be onsite is your industry externship. And you can secure this course-related work experience almost anywhere in the world.

Earn Your Degree With Efficiency

Once you set a goal, you probably want to know how long it will take to achieve it! Online programs are great for those eager to jumpstart a career. It’s possible to earn your degree in approximately 60 weeks!

Chef Maria Davenport“A major benefit of studying at Escoffier is the program flexibility. Working students find time to complete their coursework around their schedule. Escoffier has invested in technology to keep students in contact with their Instructors–help is just a text message or phone call away.”*
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

What About the Cost?

Naturally, prospective students will want to compare the costs of online learning versus on-campus learning. While degrees at four-year on-campus colleges can reach six figures, tuition for an online associate degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management from Escoffier costs $33,035 for the 2023-2024 school year.*

Roberta Clare“A degree has the potential to make a big difference in the job market. It can help put you at a higher level of consideration from hiring managers.”*
Roberta Clare, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

But consider the other costs associated with on-campus learning, like transportation, parking, facility fees, and more. For some, these costs may outweigh the experience of learning in a classroom setting, alongside other peers. For others, online degree programs like Escoffier’s are more desirable due to their flexibility.

Either way, most Escoffier students are eligible for some financial aid** in the form of loans, scholarships, and/or grants. These options can make hospitality management education more accessible to students from all walks of life.

Hotel manager stands in a banquet hall holding a tablet

Whether you’re working in corporate events or managing a restaurant, a degree can help equip you.

Stand Out From the Competition with a Degree

There are many reasons a hospitality degree is worth it. And an online degree can let you take the next steps toward your career goals without a major move or lifestyle change. By committing to this education, you can show future employers that you’re serious about your career, and have the skills and education to prove it.

It’s time to turn your hopes of a career in hospitality into a reality. Talk to an admissions representative about your next steps today!

If you’re considering a career in hospitality, you might find these articles helpful:

*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.

**95% of Austin students and 59% of Boulder students who entered postsecondary education for the first time received some financial assistance in 2022-23 for those who applied and qualified. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics

This article was originally published on June 22, 2021, and has since been updated.

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