Associate of Professional Catering: Degree Overview

In an associate's degree program in catering, you will gain both cooking and business skills. Find out more about what these programs entail and what your career options look like after graduation.

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 2014 and 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates an employment growth rate of 5 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 10 percent.

In May 2015, the median salary for food service managers was $48,690 per year. For food preparation workers, it was $20,180 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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