However, it is important to note that while many of the jobs in the field do not require a college degree for qualification purposes, many of the management positions students may be interested in will require a college degree. Not all of the management positions require the degree, because occasionally restaurant industry experience is an equally valuable substitute. But if you don’t want to start from the bottom of the business and begin the long, arduous journey to the top, a college degree may allow you to skip a few rungs on the ladder while also opening up other opportunities that previously weren’t available.
The degree is designed to train interested students for their budding careers in the food service industry. In addition to the obvious classes in food preparation, baking arts, and artistic preparation, students will learn how to plan their menu, select wines and beverages, manage restaurant staff, manage the budgets for food and supplies, and comply with safety and sanitation regulations.
Choosing an Online Culinary Arts Degree Program
There is good news and bad news when it comes to choosing an online culinary arts degree program. The good news is that as one of the more popular online degrees offered; there is an incredibly wide selection of programs to choose from. The bad news is that because there are so many programs to choose from, it can be very hard to differentiate good programs from mediocre ones, and it can be even more difficult to find programs that will be uniquely tailored to your learning style and educational goals.
There are a number of excellent places to start your search though. Two of the best are the comprehensive programs listing page offered by the National Restaurant Association, the Guide to College Programs in Hospitality, Tourism, and Culinary Arts which is published by the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education and allows you to search programs by your desired degree as well as by geographic location. But even so, you are talking about hundreds of programs, many of which already offer or are beginning to offer online culinary arts courses to save on costs and reach a wider percentage of potential students. So your search should continue and grow more in-depth.
There are definitely differences in the types of programs offered if you look closely. For starters, some degree-granting programs will require that you enter the program with some sort of formal culinary training already. Other programs are highly specific about what type of certificate or degree they are granting.
If you are particularly interested in pastry art, you may want to search for a program that is specifically catered to that subject. But if you are just interested in joining the industry in some capacity without any idea where you want to work, you may be better served by looking for a program that offers a well-rounded education including everything from food preparation to business aspects of running a restaurant. That way you can have a solid foundation of skills that will help prepare you for whichever career within the industry you decide to settle on.
Online Culinary Arts Course Types
Like so many other types of online degrees, the online culinary arts course types are very similar to the types of courses and degrees offered at your local brick-and-mortar university. The two most popular and most common course types are online culinary arts certificates and online culinary arts associate’s degree. Some of these programs require students to come into the program with previous formal culinary arts experience, but not all of them do, and the certificates and associate’s degrees are designed to give students basic exposure to the inner-workings of the restaurant industry and may be helpful in getting your foot in the door at whatever level you wish.
The bachelor’s degree is another increasingly popular option but is less common and can also be more expensive and time-intensive. That is because the coursework is more in-depth and more diverse. Instead of receiving an education foundation, you will dive deep into different facets of the industry. You will study business topics like marketing and finance; you will explore the cultural and food history of other cultures and work to improve your management skills.
The less common and more advanced degree is the master’s degree in culinary arts, which is offered by only a selection of schools and is still a degree that is in flux as more schools tinker with how to provide a master’s degree education online. No matter what your career was before, if you are looking into a master’s degree in culinary arts, you probably want a management role.
Master’s degrees are less hands-on typically, so you should expect to already have a large complement of culinary skills once you reach that level. The basic business and cooking and food art skills should have already been accomplished; these programs will teach things like restaurant quality improvement, food and nutrition science, and cost control. The subjects may sound boring, but they are an integral part of the restaurant industry and you cannot effectively manage a restaurant without these schools. So if you know what type of career you want to pursue in the industry, make sure you also choose a degree that will help you accomplish those goals.