Earning a Master’s in Hospitality Management Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Hospitality Management Online?

After working for a number of years in the hospitality industry, some individuals may decide to complete an online master’s degree in hospitality management to move up the career ladder. This versatile degree can help those who want to take on leadership roles and gain the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a higher-level position.

Because many individuals continue working while moving toward advanced degrees, online master’s in hospitality management programs offer the flexibility they need to do both without feeling overwhelmed. Individuals who enjoy creative problem solving, improving the experiences of others, and managing a diverse array of staff often find themselves drawn to this degree. Keep reading to learn about employment outlook, average salaries, and common courses.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Hospitality Management Graduates

Master's in Hospitality Management Salary

As demonstrated by the tables below, salaries for graduates of accredited master’s in hospitality management online programs vary widely based on two factors. Where a hospitality manager lives can greatly affect income. While the national average salary sits at $52,630, those living in the nation’s capital earn nearly $15,000 more per year. When considering this number, remember that cost of living should also be taken into account. Experience also plays a role, as those with 10-20 years of employment in the field make just over $7,000 more than their peers who recently graduated college.

Top Paying States for Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 2,630 $67,110
New York 10,010 $64,580
New Jersey 3,050 $63,000
Alaska 80 $60,020
Connecticut 670 $59,650
United States 102,420 $52,630

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Guest Services Members

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $38,101
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $41,558
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $46,291
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $45,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Hospitality Management Careers

Although some people only think of hotels or restaurants when considering how they can use a top online master’s degree in hospitality management, plenty of fascinating and exciting roles exist for graduates. Individuals who enjoy customer service, working with others, paying attention to detail, and working nonstandard hours often feel drawn to these roles. Review the options highlighted below, but don’t forget to conduct additional research to find out about other positions.

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Annual Median Salary: $48,290

Projected Growth Rate: 11%

These individuals may work for a single company or serve in a freelance role. Some focus on events such as weddings, while others plan annual business conventions, educational conferences, or academic symposiums. They liaise with clients and coworkers to get a sense of needs, find venues, set budgets, seek bids from vendors, coordinate event services, and pay associated bills.

Food and Beverage Managers

Annual Median Salary: $47,493

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

With a main focus on catering, food and beverage managers oversee the business side of the company by finding vendors that allow them to make a profit, setting menus, developing and maintaining budgets, ordering more inventory as needed, keeping track of safety regulations and quality control, and overseeing staff.

Restaurant Managers

Annual Median Salary: $44,339

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

Restaurant managers oversee the daily running and, in some cases, the long-term strategic goals of the restaurants they manage. They hire, train, and manage staff, set and maintain budgets, oversee schedules and payroll, ensure reservations are kept, liaise with the back-of-house team, ensure safety standards are met and followed, and arrange marketing and promotional efforts.

Guest Services Managers

Annual Median Salary: $40,204

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

These professionals ensure when a new or current client visits their company’s office, they receive thoughtful and prompt service. Guest services managers oversee the customer service component of a company by handling complaints, analyzing data on client service effectiveness, service popularity, and unmet needs before creating new systems and processes to address them. They also oversee customer service staff and train them on appropriate responses.

Event Managers

Annual Median Salary: $50,463

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

Individuals working in these positions manage the lifecycle of an event by creating plans, hiring staff and vendors, creating budgets, working with clients to ensure they meet needs, and much more.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statstics / PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Hospitality Management Program?

When looking at prospective online master’s in hospitality management programs, students soon notice that many degrees offer similar or overlapping coursework when compared to competitors. The following sections highlight a few common classes, but students should research individual programs to get a full sense of what they can expect to study.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management

Legal Issues in Hospitality

Individuals working in this field must understand the legal parameters guiding the industry, and this class helps them gain the necessary knowledge. Specific topics include safety regulations, risk management, vendor and employee contracts, loss prevention, insurance, and federal and state regulations.

Hospitality Training Methods

This course teaches hospitality managers how to properly train, coach, develop, evaluate, and manage a variety of different personalities. Students also learn how to consider elements such as how much experience a candidate has and how that changes how they manage them.

Cost Control

With a focus on the budget side of job responsibilities, this class covers topics such as cost reports, controlling spending, creating budgets and forecasts, implementing control systems, labor spending, and creating effective schedules.

Hospitality Human Resources

This course helps students gain the skills needed to hire and train staff, manage recruitment practices, provide fair and structured evaluations, manage benefits, follow labor laws, create discipline procedures, increase productivity, manage contract employees, and develop a healthy and conducive organizational culture.

Hospitality Management Capstone

To finish the degree, many programs require students to complete a comprehensive final project. In this course, students use knowledge gained from the degree to identify an industry issue and apply their new skills to addressing and solving it through innovative means.