As children, many future chefs began their career in Grandma’s kitchen, helping her to bake chocolate chip cookies that were second to none! And, as time went on, they progressed to more difficult dishes until they decided that a career in culinary arts would fuel their creativity, in addition to, their passion for food. Does this sound like you? If so, perhaps a career in the food industry is calling your name.
A chef is a leader in the kitchen. They are responsible for ensuring that meals are prepared correctly and in a timely manner, as well as, maintaining all food safety regulations. There are many occupations within the culinary industry; however, typically, they do not require a formal educational degree, although an associate or bachelor’s degree, along with certifications, will certainly improve your chances of obtaining the position you deserve.
Generally, working in the culinary industry requires that you begin at the lower level and work your way up. This is recommended to allow you the experience and growth required to become a top Executive Chef. With no degree, cook positions are readily available. Chefs and Head Cooks usually hold an associate degree, and Food Service Managers typically hold a bachelor’s degree. It is recommended that while gaining valuable experience, you may want to consider earning an online Associate degree and then an online Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts to reach your career goal and potentially a higher earning bracket.
Within these programs, you will learn about cooking and baking techniques, kitchen theory, proper food preparation, nutrition, food styling, media, butchery, catering, pastry preparation, management skills, and a focus on a specialty or regional cuisine and hospitality management. You will also learn how to create your own signature recipes. If you wish to eventually own your own restaurant, bakery, or café, a bachelor’s degree program will assist you in learning the business aspect as well.
Master’s degree programs are available; however, they are less common. Within this realm, a position as a Food Scientist is most likely the career goal. They are responsible for researching molecular composition in food and analyzing outbreaks of salmonella and viruses.
Through an apprenticeship program, you can combine your online degree program with hands-on experience. Some schools require them; however, if given a choice, taking advantage of honing your craft through the help of a mentor is the way to go. An internship opportunity can be a tremendous help to a student’s resumé after graduation.
After you earn an online Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts, gaining certification from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a huge plus when entering the job market or to assist you in the advancement of your career. The ACF offers certification programs at various levels depending on your work experience and desired level of employment. Chefs with certification status must renew their credentials every five years by completing additional educational hours.
If you are interested in this career field, please check out our choices for the America’s Top Online Culinary Schools that we have compiled for your convenience.