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Online Tourism Degree Programs

The tourism industry requires skilled professionals to manage hotels and restaurants, plan vacations and organize conventions. Read about online degree options in this field, and find out how an Internet-based degree program works. Explore what you'd learn as an online hospitality and tourism student, and get info on your potential careers.

What Levels of Study Are Available for Online Tourism Degrees?

Online tourism degrees are generally available under the broader title of hospitality and tourism management. While campus-based tourism programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, online programs are most commonly found at the bachelor's and master's levels. These include both fully online programs and hybrid programs.

Online Degree Levels Fully online and hybrid bachelor's and master's programs are available
Online Course StructureNo special requirements; similar to campus-based programs
Special Program RequirementsCompletion of tourism or hospitality internship may be required for some online programs
Industry EmployersCasinos and clubs, government agencies, airlines, tour companies, restaurants
Median Salary (2018)$53,390 (Lodging Managers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)4% growth (Lodging Managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

How Do Online Programs Work?

Online programs are structured much like their campus-based counterparts. Your college or university may use a common online classroom platform, such as Blackboard or Moodle. Work will consist of recorded lectures, homework assignments and tests. You will communicate with professors and fellow students through discussion threads, e-mail and chat rooms. You will be able to watch lectures on your own schedule, though you may need to participate in discussions at fixed times when your professor is online.

What Is the Program Like?

For a career in the hospitality and tourism industry, you will need to be well-versed in a wide variety of topics. In order to help clients plan trips, you will learn how airline and hotel reservation systems function. You will study tourism marketing and gain such skills as developing marketing plans, forecasting sales seasons and interpreting consumer behavior. Other topics you may study include accounting, personnel management, legal issues in tourism and international management issues. You may be able to choose an area of concentration for further study, such as food and beverage management or meeting and event management.

Some online programs may require you to complete a local tourism or hospitality internship. You may have to complete a certain number of internship hours and submit documentation of your work experience to the school.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Your career options with a hospitality and tourism management degree include much more than work as a travel agent. You can work in the lodging industry in a management, sales or service role. Another option includes convention and event planning, where you manage the many organizational facets of putting together large-scale meetings, weddings and parties. You can find positions in casino or club management, as well as cruise lines, tourism associations, tour companies, restaurants, government agencies and airlines.