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Associate in Applied Science (AAS): Culinary Arts Degree Overview

Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Culinary Arts programs incorporate training in cooking techniques and food safety with business and management. With experience, graduates can apply for certification through a professional organization.

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Essential Information

Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts (AAS) programs are offered through community colleges and technical or vocational schools. In general, one must have a GED or high school diploma to enter a 2-year AAS program in culinary arts. In addition to classes specific to culinary arts, these programs typically include a cooperative work experience or internship.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

Associate's Degree in Applied Science - Culinary Arts

These 2-year programs typically progress from basic to advanced cooking skills. They also might cover general skills, such as math and communication, as they relate to the culinary field. Core courses in an associate's degree program in culinary arts might include:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Catering cuisine
  • Culinary presentation
  • Regional cuisine
  • Inventory control
  • Baking and pastry arts

Popular Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that an associate's degree is the minimum requirement for a variety of entry-level positions in culinary arts (www.bls.gov). These jobs might include:

  • Private home cook
  • Food preparation manager
  • Sous chef
  • Garde manger
  • Menu planner

Salary and Employment Outlook

The BLS projected a nine percent growth in job opportunities for chefs and head cooks during the 2014-2024 decade. Food service managers should see an increase of five percent. In 2015, the BLS estimated that median salary of chefs and food service managers were $41,500 and $48,690, respectively.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Completing a bachelor's degree program in culinary arts could prove helpful to individuals seeking employment in advanced cooking positions, like head chef. These programs often include courses in beverage management, menu planning and table service. Additionally, they tend to feature multiple opportunities for practical experience in kitchen operations and cooking.

Certification also could benefit those seeking advanced positions in the culinary field. The American Culinary Federation offers 14 professional designations, ranging from the entry-level Certified Culinarian to Certified Master Chef. Applicants for these certifications must meet a combination of education and experience requirements (www.acfchefs.org).through community colleges and technical or vocational schools.

Individuals interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts, such as a chef or food service manager, can enroll in an associate's degree program in culinary arts to gain the skills, knowledge and hands-on experience needed.

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