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Food Preparation Certificate Programs with Course Information

A food preparation certificate program can prepare an individual to work under the supervision of a chef in a restaurant or private home. Those enrolled in a food preparation or food handler's certificate program learn how to safely and effectively prepare a variety of meals.

Essential Information

Most food preparation certificate programs are offered through community colleges, trade schools, or food safety organizations. Some 4-year universities offer food preparation certificate programs as part of larger degree programs in restaurant management, culinary arts, or family and consumer science. A food preparation certificate program is not the same as a traditional culinary program, and does not focus on baking or creating recipes.

  • Program Levels in Food Preperation: Certificate programs are available at 2-year and 4-year colleges.
  • Prerequisites: A high school diploma or GED is required for programs in a 2-year or 4-year school. In some cases, prior food handling or kitchen experience is necessary.
  • Program Length: Despite being held in 2-year and 4-year schools, programs typically take between a semester and a year to complete. However, accelerated programs exist for experienced chefs looking for a quick credential in food preparation.

Certificate in Food Preperation Coursework

While enrolled in a food preparation certificate program, students must complete courses that teach them how to properly handle, prepare, and store items such as meats, vegetables, fruits, and dried foods. Other courses teach students the regulations behind cleaning and sanitizing kitchens and tools, keeping work surfaces and countertops clean, properly cutting food, and preparing simple meals, such as salads.

Students enrolled in a certificate program in food preparation learn how to stay safe in a commercial or industrial kitchen. They also learn the basics of food safety and sanitation. Some course topics addressed in such a program are listed below:

  • Food preparation, including preparing cold foods and quantity and quality in food preparation
  • Food purchasing, storage, and care
  • Sanitation guidelines and kitchen safety
  • Introduction to foodservice
  • Restaurant internship
  • Cost control operations

Popular Career Options

A few careers are available for individuals who have completed a certificate program in food preparation. Most are entry-level, but do leave some room for advancement. Some examples include:

  • Prep chef
  • Food handler
  • Chef de cuisine
  • Kitchen or restaurant manager
  • Personal or assistant chef
  • Organizational or line cook

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated there were 807,800 food preparation workers in 2012. That figure was projected to increase by 4% from 2012-2022. The mean wages for food preparation workers were $19,560 in May 2014. Those working as chefs and head cooks were projected to see a 5% increase in jobs between 2012-2022, stated the BLS. The mean wages for chefs and head cooks were $41,610 in May 2014.

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