Start Your Career in Culinary Arts!

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Careers in the Culinary Arts

If you love food; if you enjoy being creative; and if it makes you happy to create things that others will enjoy, a career in the culinary arts may be just right for you. Culinary careers include cooks and chefs, bartenders and pastry chefs, and working in kitchens large and small, casual to exclusive. There are many reasons to choose this line of work, but it’s important to learn more about it before committing to a culinary school.

Why Choose a Culinary Arts Career?

There are several reasons to choose a career in the culinary arts, both practical and personal. Here are just a few ways this type of work will provide you with a meaningful and rewarding lifelong career:

  • Job security. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that careers in food preparation and service are growing at an impressive rate of nine percent. Between 2016 and 2026 there should be more than one million new jobs in the industry.
  • A good income. Chefs and head cooks make $48,460 per year on average, but those with more experience, with leadership positions or specialties, or those working in fine dining can earn more than $81,000 annually.
  • Minimal schooling. There are no official requirements for working in a kitchen. However, most people aspiring to become chefs do earn a culinary degree. It will take you just two years or less to complete a qualified program.
  • Creativity on the job. It can be difficult to find a job that is both practical and that allows you to be creative. You get both with a culinary career. You’ll have the chance to develop new dishes and recipes and to create appealing food presentations.
  • Work anywhere. With a degree in culinary arts you will be qualified to work in any state or even abroad. You can work in restaurants, for catering companies, for commercial food producers or even be self-employed as a personal chef.

The Importance of a Culinary Degree

It isn’t strictly necessary to earn a culinary arts degree before getting a job. However, there are important reasons to consider going through a good program. One is simply that you will not have to work your way up from dishwasher. With a degree you can start as a cook or even a sous chef, a chef with some leadership responsibilities.

With a culinary degree you can also command a better salary and potentially land your first job in an exclusive or fine dining restaurant. Some more advanced careers—for instance, if you want to move into management—may require that you have a culinary degree.

If you have dreams of being self-employed, a degree is a must because you will have to learn all the basics of culinary arts rather than rely on a kitchen staff to train you. With a culinary degree you’ll be ready to open a business as a consultant, personal chef or even food truck owner.

Opportunities for Growth in the Culinary Arts

Even with your degree in hand, expect to have plenty of chances to train, learn on the job, and advance your career to more specialized and leadership roles. You can also earn an additional degree or special certification to expand your skill set. Some of the careers you can grow into after earning your culinary arts degree include:

  • Sous chef
  • Chef de cuisine or executive chef
  • Head pastry chef or baker
  • Mixologist or bartending consultant
  • Food service manager
  • Culinary consultant, developing recipes or menus

A culinary arts career is stable, flexible and lucrative. It also gives you opportunities you may never have previously imagined. Choose your ultimate goal in food and food service, and with a degree in culinary arts you can work toward achieving it.