Culinary Arts Certification: Certificate Program Overview
A culinary arts certificate program prepares students for entry-level work in restaurants and other food service businesses. They learn chef skills, food preparation and business aptitude appropriate to restaurant management.
Culinary Arts Certificate Programs
While participating in a culinary arts certificate program, students learn the basics for working in the food service industry. Students learn cooking and baking fundamentals, food safety, menu preparation and business skills. Some certificate programs allow students to select a culinary specialty such as pastry and baking or cooking while others teach all aspects of culinary arts. Many private and public colleges and universities and vocational schools offer culinary arts certificate programs. A high school diploma or its equivalent is typically needed for admission.
Students participate in classroom instruction and also receive hands-on training in school kitchens. Students learn how food is produced and prepared using various domestic and international techniques. Culinary arts students take classes like:
- Knife skills
- Food safety and sanitation
- Baking principles
- Cooking methods
- Ethnic cuisine
- Food service purchasing
- Restaurant operations
Popular Career Choices
With a certificate in culinary arts, students are prepared for entry-level employment in the restaurant and food service industries. Graduates can apply for jobs at hotels, resorts, restaurants, theme parks, catering companies and more. Some common career choices include:
- Restaurant manager
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for chefs and head cooks are expected to increase by 5% between 2012 and 2022. As of May 2012, also according to the BLS, the median annual wage for these positions was $42,480, with beverage manufacturing paying the highest wages.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
Many voluntary certifications are available for food service professionals at various credentialing agencies. Food service managers can obtain the Foodservice Management Professional certification from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (nraef.org). The American Culinary Federation also awards different certifications to chefs (www.acfchefs.org). Although certification is voluntary, it helps validate a culinary arts professional's experience and education qualifications. Each credentialing agency sets it own eligibility requirements for obtaining the certification.
Undergraduate degree programs at the associate's and bachelor's level are also available in culinary arts. Classes are more advanced and delve deeper into international cuisines, cooking and baking techniques and hospitality operations. Students may also have opportunities to participate in internships so they can gain professional experience.
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