Culinary Arts and Personal Services

The fields of culinary arts and personal services include preparing food and providing beauty services. Read on to learn more about academic paths and career options in these fields.

Inside Culinary Arts and Personal Services

Culinary arts and personal services is a diverse field that can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities, depending on the field you choose to study and the level of study you attain. Most careers in the industry require that you gain professional experience prior to graduation. Some careers require that you earn licensure. has all the resources you need to learn about your occupational goals, what to expect and the training requirements.

Education Information

Aspiring chefs and other culinary professionals may earn associate, bachelor's or master's degrees in general culinary arts, or they can earn degrees targeted towards pastry arts or cake decorating. Those interested in this field can learn to prepare hot and cold meals, desserts, cakes and methods for presenting them in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Students interested in personal service may learn how to dye and style hair, paint nails, provide skin care treatment and work with makeup. Full-time programs in cosmetology usually last 9-24 months, but training to be a manicurist, pedicurist, skin care specialist or electrologist can take less time. Certificate, diploma and associate degree programs are commonly available in the field of cosmetology. Here are a couple of links to articles with more details about training options.

Distance Learning Options

Although the majority of these programs have some hands-on requirements enabling you to gain experience cooking, cutting hair or applying makeup, some distance learning options are available. The following pages can provide you with information about what it entails.

Licensure and Certification Information

In careers where you'll be working on people's skin, hair and nails, you must earn certification and licensure. All 50 states have licensure or certification requirements for certain personal services careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that public and private vocational schools often offer courses that can prepare students to receive certification in cosmetology and other personal appearance positions ( Review the links below for more details.

Career Options

Degree programs in culinary arts and personal services can lead to countless career opportunities. The following pages are a small selection illustrating your options and their educational requirements.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The occupational growth and change in demand for these positions varies greatly. For instance, the BLS stated that the demand for chefs and head cooks was expected to grow by only five percent from 2012-2022 and by two percent for food service managers. Individuals in cosmetology, including barbers, hairstylists and skincare specialists, could expect to see 13% growth over the same time period, which is about average compared to all other career fields.

As of May 2013, the median annual salary for chefs and head cooks was $42,490, while food service managers made median salaries of $48,080. Barbers made median annual salaries of $25,010, manicurists made $19,340, skin care specialists made $28,940 and cosmetologists made $23,140.

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