The foodservice industry is one that always has a need for experienced employees, and as more and more restaurants, country clubs and facilities open their doors this continues to be true. Earning a commercial cooking degree is one of the best ways to qualify for employment in this field. If you enjoy cooking in your free time or think that a foodservice job is right for you, then you’ll want to take a look at the accredited commercial cooking schools and find out how to get your degree. You will learn to prepare much larger portions, achieve faster results, and master numerous methods in the culinary arts. You can sometimes still add your own flair and abilities to the equation, but completing a good degree program is important for being taken seriously in this field.
Commercial Cooking Degrees
- Certificate or Diploma - Up to 1 Year
- Associate's Degree - 2 Years
- Bachelor's Degree - 4 Years
Certificates are usually a basic entry point into the field, though some are designed to actually let working professionals focus on a specific area of concentration. General diplomas and certificates cover all of the basics like food safety, sanitation, large scale cooking, butchery, and more.
An associate's degree is the key entry point into the field and provides a solid education in the principles, theories, and application of the commercial culinary skills. It also covers basic science, math, and more to give students a solid education. Most who want to make cooking their career choose to enroll in these programs as an entry point and may then transfer into a bachelor's program later.
A bachelor's degree will cover everything that an associate's degree does but then delves into the business side of the field as well with classes on restaurant management and human resources. Basically, it's the degree to earn if you have plans on eventually running a restaurant or managing a kitchen at a hospital, school, or other large scale organization. It takes four years to complete and includes a number of classes in general education like science, math, psychology, and more.
Basic Admission Requirements
Admission requirements depend on the school and the type of degree one is applying for. Certificate and associate's degrees will usually only require that a student have a high school education, though the more advanced certificates could require undergraduate degrees and work experience. Bachelor's degrees generally require solid GPA scores, personal essays, and more. Experience working in the field will always be preferred for admission.
Key Differences between Traditional and Online Commercial Cooking Degrees
The key differences between traditional and online commercial cooking degrees will mainly be the way that students take their bookwork. Online students can complete it through distance education means while traditional students will have to enroll in a program and complete it in a classroom. However, both types of degrees will require hands-on training, displaying the skills needed to cook in a commercial setting. As a result students will need to examine the options available through an online program. Most are hybrid programs that will require them to cook in the classroom, but some may use video and photos to allow them to learn from home. Look into each option to find out what your program consists of.
The cost of a commercial cooking degree will vary based on the school that you choose to enroll in and the type of degree you're hoping to earn. Most programs will cost between five and twenty thousand dollars per year, with some certificate programs costing a flat fee instead of an annual charge. You'll usually be able to apply for and receive various types of financial aid including grants, loans, and more. An admissions officer can help you find the right financial aid option for you.
While it's not necessary to find a program that is accredited - it's actually hard to do so - you should still take the time to look into the accreditation that the school you're choosing has. Accreditation won't be required to get a job, but most employers do still take the school that you learned from into consideration when they're hiring. Not only that, but accreditation lets you know that you're getting the best possible education for your money and that you'll learn all of the skills needed to thrive in the field. And of course, you'll only be able to receive federal financial aid if you are enrolling in an accredited school, so paying for your degree will be much easier when you enroll in an accredited college.
Finding the Right Degree
Along with finding a degree from an accredited school, you'll need to take your time and select a good degree based on a few other factors. One of the most important things to do is to make sure that the degree you're looking at is actually right for your career and where you want it to take you. For instance, a basic diploma or associate's degree is great for those hoping to be cooks or chefs, while a bachelor's degree will help lead to supervisory positions. Additionally, take a look at whether or not the subject matter covers what you want it to. For instance, if you want to focus on baking, make sure that baking is covered during the program. In many cases it will be, but each program is different so be sure that you look into this issue completely before you enroll.
Finally, be sure you understand the online and offline portions of the program. Online programs are great for those looking to hone their skills that are already employed in the industry, and in some cases you may be able to earn a degree online by working in your own kitchen. If that's the case you need to make sure your kitchen has all of the equipment needed to do so.