Culinary arts and hospitality degrees are relatively new. Traditionally, chefs, hotel managers and travel professionals learned their craft on the job, working their way up from entry positions to management. However, the explosion of travel and food-related businesses in the last two decades has created a need for individuals with management skills and food training who can step into management right out of school.
Types of culinary arts and hospitality degrees
Degrees in culinary arts and hospitality can be either two-degree Associate degrees or four-year Bachelor's degrees. Most programs offer specialization in one of three areas: culinary arts, food service management and hotel management.
Culinary arts and hospitality admission requirements
Admission requirement for culinary arts and hospitality degree programs vary by school. Virtually all require the applicant to have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. Four-year universities generally require that applicants take one of the college entrance exams, either the SAT or ACT. Some schools also require an in-person interview.
Careers available with a culinary arts and hospitality degree
A degree in culinary arts and hospitality qualifies you for a number of exciting careers. Among these are jobs in restaurants (both in the kitchen and the front-of-the-house), careers in catering or as a personal chef, or careers in hotel and resort management. Those with a culinary arts and hospitality degree are also qualified to work in travel agencies, tour operators and destination management firms.
Salary and job prospects for culinary arts and hospitality degree holders
Salaries and job prospects for culinary arts and hospitality graduates vary widely, depending on the type of position, the region of the country and the company you work for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs in the United States make a median annual salary of $41,500. Food service managers (restaurant or corporate cafeteria managers) make a median annual salary of $48,690. In the hospitality sector, the median annual salary for a hotel manager is $49,720.
The number of jobs in the culinary arts and hospitality sectors are expended to decline slightly between now and 2020. The BLS estimates a decline in the number of jobs available in these fields of between three and eight percent, depending on the exact position.
A career in culinary arts and hospitality is rarely dull. These fast-paced fields offer different challenges and opportunites on a regular basis. If you enjoy working with the public, don't mind irregular hours and like the ever-changing environment that is the food and travel business, perhaps a career in culinary arts and hospitality is right for you.