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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Culinary Arts

Majors Overview September 21, 2014

Students in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree programs in Culinary Arts will be prepared for jobs involving food service and preparation. Graduates will have a good understanding of culinary arts and food service principles.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Programs in Culinary Arts

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in culinary arts are provided with hands-on training in food service management and cooking. Students learn rudimentary to advanced cooking skills and restaurant management techniques. By the time they graduate, students will have gain a strong grasp of food safety techniques, nutrition standards, various cooking methods, and world cuisines.

Specialization options are offered in some programs, thereby allowing students to concentrate their studies on aspects such as pastry arts, baking, and wine. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.


Coursework augments classroom lectures with work-studies or internship opportunities, whereby students gain hands-on experience working with food and customers. Students are introduced to different ways of preparing food and different cooking techniques. Coursework includes business courses, such as employee management and budgeting. Core coursework may include these topic areas such as:

•Food service management
•Baking and pastry
•Product selection
•Fine dining techniques
•Cooking techniques
•Soups and stocks
•Sanitation and safety
•Fish and meat
•Garde manger

Career Choices

Those that successfully complete a bachelor’s degree program in culinary arts can seek different leadership positions within the culinary field. With additional on-the-job training, individuals may seek upper-level positions. Graduates may seek entry-level positions such as:

•Chef de cuisine
•Sous chef
•Food preparation and serving supervisor

Job and Wage Outlook

A 5% job growth rate has been predicted for head cooks and chefs over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, chefs banked an average annual wage of $42,480, while first-line food preparation supervisors took home $29,270.

Continuing Education Choices

Employers in this field commonly offer on-the-job training to employees whether or not they have a degree or have completed formal training. While certification is not mandatory, holding professional credentials may help employees accomplish higher paying positions or advancements (BLS).

Multiple certification options are offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) for individuals to choose in accordance with their career objectives. Certifications are offered in numerous areas, including pastry chefs, personal chefs, master chefs, executive chefs, and sous chefs.

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