If you have a taste for cooking, then perhaps a career in the culinary arts is for you. Bachelor's degrees in culinary arts can immerse you in the art of cooking as well as the business of the kitchen.
Put your cooking skills to the test
Culinary arts programs offer training ranging from certificates to bachelor's degrees. Community colleges, technical, vocational and online schools are a good place to start looking for training. Bachelor's degrees in culinary arts consist of a four-year course that combines culinary, baking and pastry arts with liberal arts courses for a general education. While a certificate can teach you the basics, a bachelor's degree prepares you for kitchen supervision, experience at various cooking stations, supply ordering, and the record keeping and leadership skills needed for managers. Here are some typical classes:
- Banquets and catering
- Food science
- Food service sanitation
- Foundations of baking
- Menu planning and purchasing
- Restaurant management
The American Culinary Federation certifies more than 200 culinary arts degree programs around the United States and also organizes apprenticeships, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job prospects in culinary arts
Some of the best job opportunities you'll find as a chef exist in international cities where tourism and business continue to flourish. As a chef or head cook, you must demonstrate strong leadership and communication skills and have the ability to motivate others.
The BLS expects employment of chefs and head cooks to decrease slightly from 2010 to 2020. In contrast, openings for restaurant cooks should increase by 12.9 percent, which is nearly even with the U.S. average job growth projection. The median annual wage for chefs and head cooks in 2010 was $40,630, and the BLS lists the top paying states as New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and California.
Coming straight out of culinary arts school, you can seek work in the field, which allows you to hone your skills as you continue to advance in the industry. Degree programs are available online so that you can earn your degree at your own pace; while some classes require hands-on training, courses such as management and business are suited to web-based studies. Although not typically required, having bachelor's degrees in culinary arts looks good on your resume and could open up opportunities for your future.