Associate of Professional Catering: Degree Overview

Oct 10, 2019

Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in catering provide students with training in both cooking and business. Catering professionals prepare special meals for events and occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, and business gatherings.

Most programs include a combination of lecture courses and hands-on training in campus-based eateries or kitchens. Students may have the option of taking some classes online or gaining real-world experience through an internship. At schools that don't offer specific programs in catering, students may enroll in similar programs, such as culinary arts or hospitality, which include courses on the business of professional catering.

Associate's Degrees in Catering

Associate's degree programs in catering provide students with an understanding of different cuisine styles and specific cooking techniques. Students also learn about recipe creation, nutrition, kitchen safety protocols and business fundamentals, all of which are critical for success in the catering field. Common courses include:

  • Food service safety and sanitation
  • Ethnic cuisine styles
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Baking and pastries
  • Culinary cost controls
  • Customer service, restaurant, and business management

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

After earning an associate's degree in culinary arts, students will be prepared for careers in catering management, food preparation or food service. Between 2018 and 2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates an employment growth rate of 11 percent for food service managers, about equal to the national average for all occupations. During that same time frame, employment for food and beverage serving workers is expected to grow by about 11 percent.

In May 2018, the median salary for food service managers was $54,240 per year. For food preparation workers, it was $23,730 per year.

In conclusion, if you want to elevate your passion for cooking into a profession, an associate's degree program in catering may be right for you, as it will provide the culinary and business skills that you will need for success in the field.

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