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Associate Degree Program in Culinary Arts

Majors Overview April 22, 2013

Students who have completed the associate degree program in culinary arts will be awarded an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree; the program incorporates training in food safety and cooking techniques with management and business training. Vocational or technical schools, along with community colleges offer these types of associate degree programs.

A.A.S. in Culinary Arts

An associate degree program in culinary arts will prepare students for entry-level careers in the hospitality and culinary industry or for further study in the field. Typically, these programs include an internship, cooperative work experience, and basic educational courses; in addition, classes specific to culinary arts. Students who want to enroll in an associate degree program in culinary arts to earn their Associate of Applied Science degree are required to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma.

Program Course Topics

Typically, these two-year associate degree programs progress from basic to advanced cooking skills. The programs also cover basic skills, including communication and math, as they relate to the culinary field. Core courses in an associate degree program in culinary arts may include:

•Baking and pastry arts
•Inventory control
•Food safety
•Regional cuisine
•Culinary presentation
•Catering cuisine
•Culinary theory

Career Options

Individuals are required to earn at least an associate degree to obtain various entry-level positions in culinary arts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – These job titles may include:

•Menu planner
•Garde manger
•Sous chef
•Food preparation manager
•Private home cook

Certification Information and Continuing Education

Earning a bachelor degree in culinary arts will be helpful to students who want to obtain advanced cooking positions, such as head chef. These programs usually include courses in table service, menu planning, and beverage management. Additionally, the program will feature different opportunities for practical experience in kitchen cooking and operations.

Individuals who are seeking advanced position in the culinary field should obtain their certification. The American Culinary Federation offers fourteen professional designations, ranging from the entry-level Certified Culinarian to Certified Master Chef ( Individuals are required to meet a combination of experience and education requirements to obtain these certifications.


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