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Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree Program in Culinary Arts

Majors Overview February 3, 2014

Those interested in the foodservice industry may enroll in an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program in culinary arts. Students will be provided with a solid beginning in cooking and culinary operations. A degree will also increase one’s chances of employment in this field. Graduates can either continue education or seek a job in culinary arts.

A.S. Programs in Culinary Arts

Classroom lectures are combined with hands-on instruction imparted in kitchens, in the coursework related to an associate of science degree program in culinary arts. Enrolled students can expect to become adept at implementing sanitary and safety procedures into their work as they go about creating desserts, entrée dishes, dressings, salads and soups. They can augment the finishing touch in the serving of meals by learning how to prepare food and by honing their hospitality skills.

Community colleges, technical schools and culinary institutes commonly offer most of these programs. Many culinary programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF); specific guidelines for the curriculum are also provided by the ACF. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Baking and cooking basics are covered in the coursework relating to culinary arts degree programs, in addition to restaurant operations, purchasing and cost control. In many programs, students get an opportunity to participate in an externship wherein many cuisines are prepared by students on the supervisory watch of head chefs or managers. Coursework typically includes topic areas such as:

•Hospitality and foodservice management
•Recipe writing
•Foodservice production
•Menu planning

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts program can seek entry-level jobs in foodservice and hospitality settings such as hotels, cafeterias or restaurants. Candidates can seek entry-level occupations as food preparation assistants or workers before advancing to other positions. These entry level positions include:

•Hotel and resort chef
•Sous chef
•Food preparation supervisor
•Restaurant chef
•Pastry chef
•Catering manager

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully graduate from an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts program can pursue continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. Students who enroll in this 4-year program are provided with additional training in complex culinary techniques, world cuisine and restaurant operations. Individuals are prepared through this degree program for leadership roles in the restaurant industry. While certification isn’t a mandatory requirement for jobs, graduates who obtain professional certification will gain an edge over their rivals for jobs. Those who graduate from specific ACF-accredited associate’s degree programs can qualify for exams to obtain the Certified Culinarian credential. Other credentials such as Certified Executive Chef, Certified Chef de Cuisine and Certified Sous Chef can also be achieved with additional experience and education.

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