What Can You Do With A Culinary Degree?

culinary arts programs

Culinary arts is a term used to describe the preparation and presentation of food, from baking pastries to cooking poultry. What can you do with a degree in culinary arts? Great question. Many people who study culinary arts at trade schools, colleges, or universities often go on to become professional chefs and bakers. This article takes a closer look at the study of culinary arts, some schools with exceptional culinary arts degree programs, and career options for people with culinary degrees.

Culinary Arts Studies

When you study culinary arts, you will not just learn how to cook. You will learn the ins and outs of proper food management and health needs. Some of the topics that may be covered in courses required for you to earn a culinary arts degree are listed here.

Food science

Food safety rules and regulations

Nutrition and dietetics

Personal hygiene

Menu design

Sales and merchandising

Restaurant management

How to Get a Culinary Degree

There are many trade schools, colleges, and universities around the globe that offer outstanding culinary arts programs. Before you graduate from high school, however, you should consult your guidance counselor about what classes you can take that will help prepare you for further education in culinary arts. In this section, you will find a few schools with reputable culinary arts programs to get your search started for the right school for you.

The Culinary Arts Program at Central Piedmont Community College is stuffed with courses that will help prepare you for the food service industry. This associates degree program has been accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. The program is the only accredited associates degree program in the state of North Carolina, and it is one of only 60 programs in the entire United States to be accredited as “exemplary.” Students in this program will learn proper sanitation and equipment care as well as ways to design appealing menus for restaurants and delis and other useful information crucial to understanding the development of culinary arts. With a hands-on approach in various courses, students gain personal experience from instructors who have years of experience within the food service industry.

Located in Providence, RI, Johnson and Wales University has a College of Culinary Arts loaded with opportunities for students interested in expanding their knowledge and landing careers in the food service industry. Within two years, students can earn associate degrees in Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry Arts and continue for another two years to earn their Bachelor of Science in Culinary Nutrition, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, or a related subject. For more information on undergraduate degree programs, refer to the link provided. Johnson and Wales University also offers online courses in addition to reasonably sized on-campus classes to help you form your class schedule to fit your lifestyle.

California Culinary Academy, located in San Francisco, is an excellent school affiliated with Le Cordon Bleu of France. Serving students a hot education since 1977, this academy offers an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts, Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, and a certificate in both fields. Through Le Cordon Bleu’s online programs, students can also earn a Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Management among other programs. Le Cordon Bleu has locations all throughout the U.S. in addition to schools sprouting across Europe. The California Culinary Academy teaches students the culinary arts of various cultures, broadening their ability to create unheard of concoctions anywhere in the world upon graduation.

Careers in Culinary Arts

What kinds of jobs can you get with a culinary arts degree? Once you decide to pursue a degree in culinary arts, it is important that you have a general idea of what career path you intend to take before you finish earning that degree.

Prep Cook

As a perfect entry level position to becoming a top chef, a prep cook prepares ingredients for chefs to use in their cooking. They do things like slice and chop fruits, vegetables, and more as well as supervise cooking when chefs step away from their stations for short periods of time. Little to no experience is necessary, but an associates culinary degree is highly beneficial.

Prep cooks can earn around $21,000 annually.

Pastry Chef

Do you take pleasure in the idea of providing people with sweets to satisfy cravings or complete a dining experience? Then perhaps you should become a pastry chef. Pastry chefs are professionally certified, whether with an associates degree or specific certificate, to make desserts for restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, delis, and more. They have the privilege of being the ultimate taste-testers of final products, any child’s dream job. Following recipes is often standard, but it is not uncommon for pastry chefs to develop or improve their own recipes for exceptionally delectable desserts.

Pastry chefs can earn around $33,000 annually, depending  on their experience and whether they are self-employed.


caterer job description culinary arts

If prepping and providing food for events sounds more up your alley, consider a job as a caterer. Caterers prepare, make, and strategically and creatively arrange food for private or public events for anything from weddings to conferences. They meet with clients ahead of time to discuss and determine menus and the times and dates of events in order to ensure that the food requested arrives in top quality and before the required time. Associate and bachelor degrees show that caterers are experienced and knowledgeable about their subject and are often more credible than those without degrees.

Caterers can earn around $41,000 annually, depending on education and experience levels.

Restaurant Owner

If you’re skilled and knowledgeable in the business and finance fields with a love of providing food, then you should consider opening your own restaurant. Although there are no specific degree requirements, a degree in culinary or restaurant management would be incredibly beneficial. Opening your own business requires money, time management, and organizational skills. Restaurant owners also need outstanding leadership skills in order to manage their small- or large-scale business. Experience in the food service industry is also highly beneficial, particularly previous experience as a chef. It is important to remember that to start your own business, you need property, licenses, and approvals, as well.

The income of a restaurant owner can vary, depending on the size of the restaurant and how much business it receives. Owners can earn over $78,000 annually if their restaurants are managed and marketed properly with food of outstanding quality.

Companies that Hire People with Culinary Degrees

Companies and businesses around the world are constantly looking for cooking and baking experts, people with experience and degrees in culinary arts. Below is just a brief list of places that hire people with culinary degrees.

St. Joseph Hospital – located in Nashua, NH; hires positions for cooks and other food service workers

TradeWinds Island Resorts – located in St. Pete Beach, FL; hires positions for cooks, sous chefs, servers, bussers, etc.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America – hospitals across the U.S.; hires positions for executive chefs, assistant chefs, lead cooks, etc.

American Cruise Lines – headquarters in Guilford, CT; hires positions for executive chefs, sous chefs, etc.

Atria Senior Living – headquarters in Louisville, KY; hires positions for directors of culinary services, chefs, etc.

Creative Dining Services – located in Zeeland, MI; hires positions for chefs, caterers, etc.

Food. It will forever be a necessity of life. Therefore, the field of culinary arts will never die. The job market today is a dangerous place, but with a degree in culinary arts, you can find jobs all over the world. Just do your research and get the proper education, and you’re sure to get a job in the culinary industry in due time.

1 thought on “What Can You Do With A Culinary Degree?”

  1. Pingback: The Startup Magazine | So You've Got A Culinary Degree. What Next?

Comments are closed.