Can I attend culinary school through an online program?

Most of us take our food for granted, but to a connoisseur, food not only tastes great but becomes a form of art. However, the food industry involves more than just cooking an exceptional dish. It includes marketing, business, sales, and the day-to-day operations of maintaining an establishment.

If you are interested in the culinary industry, perhaps you’ve wondered if it is possible to earn a degree through an online program. The answer is yes. Online degree programs allow flexibility while working a full-time job to meet other family obligations. Most online programs provide a convenient self-paced learning option to assist you in pursuing a career in the foodservice industry.

At first glance, you may be surprised that you can easily earn credentials through an online program, however, depending on the school, you may earn a certificate, diploma, associates or a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree program through an online school is typically not available.

Most schools use a variety of methods to teach culinary arts. Listed below are a few teaching methods that your chosen school may use. Online culinary schools often begin with teaching theoretical culinary concepts. These types of classes can be easily taught through an online format. Topics may include kitchen operations, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, kitchen math, cooking techniques, and culinary terminology, just to name a few.

At-home instructions are given to students through assignments that can be completed when it is convenient for them. Topics such as knife skills can be learned by observing and then practicing the techniques at their own pace. In some instances, practical demonstrations can also be accessed through live webcam sessions or recorded video that students can then follow along with at home.

As with online classes on any subject, most offer an online learning system to assist you in accessing your coursework and materials at any time, from anywhere you have Internet capabilities. Through this format, you can participate in online discussions with your instructors and fellow classmates. You can submit your assignments and watch instructional videos any time you please.

As we all know, hands-on experience is what helps us learn and develop our skills the best, and perhaps the quickest. We tend to learn by doing, therefore, most online programs require an externship. An externship is a temporary training program in a workplace, especially one offered to students as part of a course of study. You can find approved local externship opportunities usually through your online school’s recommendations. Externship programs provide excellent experience opportunities that are very important to the culinary student and a chance to work with true professionals and mentors that are outstanding in their field of work.

And speaking of hands-on experience, perhaps learning by tasting your own creations is the best lesson one can appreciate. Through self-assessment exercises, you will be required to prepare a recipe at home, in the convenience of your own kitchen, and then evaluate it based on a checklist of components that adhere to the school’s requirements. You must assess and judge your own cooking skills by considering taste, texture, smell, consistency and, of course, it must be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

When considering an online Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts degree program, please check for proper accreditation. Be sure to check that the proper curriculum and externship opportunities to meet your desired goals are offered, as well as, your program’s food safety regulations. In addition, it is also recommended that you check the faculty’s references.

If you are interested in a career in the food industry, please check out our list of America’s Top Online Culinary Schools.