A culinary arts degree is an excellent entrance into the world of professional restaurants, either as a chef or an entrepreneur. While most think that culinary arts training only covers cooking and baking, a high quality culinary arts school
will train its students in food processing and cooking, a variety of different ethnic cooking styles, food presentation, and the business behind the culinary arts. Some schools in particular are focused on helping students navigate a career in the culinary arts, rather than just teaching them how to make food.
Those considering pursuing a culinary arts degree should keep two things in mind. One, a culinary arts degree may not be necessary for a career in the restaurant business, as it's one of the few businesses that a person can work their way from bottom to top if they're willing to apply themselves and they have some talent. Secondly, a degree in the culinary arts is unlikely to translate to any other field. Those who are unsure of what career path to pursue would be wise to consider other options before setting their sights on the culinary arts.
Culinary Arts Admission Requirements
In order to be admitted to a culinary arts program, potential students will have to show a few things. First, applicants with work experience in restaurants or hotels are heavily favored. In fact, in some programs, the applicant must show sufficient work experience in order to be considered. The applicant may have to pass a basic food preparation course, as well as an in-person interview. In all cases, the applicant should demonstrate a passion for both food and the business of running a restaurant.
Career Opportunities After Earning a Degree in Culinary Arts
Those with a culinary arts degree are limited to careers based around food. In fact, it's one of the least transferrable degrees available. Some career options include:
- Restaurant Management
- Menu Consultant
- Food Writer or Critic
- Research and Development of new dishes
- Head Chef
- Sous Chef
Note that a culinary arts degree will come in use during any career that deals extensively with food, but not much else. Some culinary arts programs may not offer any training in restaurant or business management. It would be wise for those wishing to run their own restaurant to get additional training and certification.
Post Graduate Salary Information with a Degree in Culinary Arts
While chefs and head cooks always have ample opportunity for employment due to the quantity needed, quality jobs are rare and difficult to get. These jobs tend to be at hotels, casinos, and upscale restaurants – anywhere the pay is greater. In 2012, the average chef or head cook earned a salary of $40 630 (BLS.gov, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012).References
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, Chefs and Head Cooks – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-and-head-cooks.htm