Colleges with Food Service Management Programs

Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in food service management. These programs teach students about financial planning, marketing and safety standards for restaurants and catering companies, as well as the necessary skills to schedule employees, keep records of tips and manage the table settings, and oversee the ordering of products.

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Students can find a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate options in food service management. These programs are usually provided through the business, culinary or hospitality departments of many community colleges and universities.

Food Service Management Schools

These schools offer food service management programs at varying levels, and in traditional or online settings.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Penn Foster Career School Online 2-year, Private Diploma $799
Art Institutes Online 4-year, Private Certificate, Bachelor's $19,630 (Certificate), $22,400 (Bachelor's)
The Culinary Institutes of America Hyde Park, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $29,250
New England Culinary Institute Montpelier, Vermont 4-year, Private Associate's, Bachelor's $20,150 (Associate's), $16,375 (Bachelor's)
Johnson and Wales University Multiple Locations 4-year, Private Bachelor's $29,576
Ashford University San Diego, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $10,720

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics and school websites

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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College Selection Criteria

Some things to consider for choosing schools could be:

  • Aspiring food service managers may look for programs that provide professional development and resume-building opportunities, such as restaurant simulation, project-based learning and supplementary credentials relating to the culinary world.
  • Schools that offer certification preparation and the option to take licensing exams given by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation are useful to students earning their degree.
  • Prospective students can find programs with helpful courses that incorporate food preparation and courses in food safety standards into the curriculum.
  • Some courses may be available online.

Associate Degree Programs

Programs that offer courses in catering, wine and buffet cooking, in addition to traditional dining room management, can prepare students to work in a variety of food related industries. Internships and work experience may be required for graduation and can, in some cases, be transferred to a 4-year bachelor's degree program.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Programs are available as a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management program or as a concentration in a business degree program. Online courses may be available; however, students are required to be present for kitchen training and internships. Graduates with a bachelor's degree may find opportunities for jobs in upscale restaurants or corporate management positions.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in food service management focus on hospitality management; however, students may have an opportunity to specialize their studies through electives in food science and human nutrition. Applicants to these programs may be required to have work experience at the supervisory level within the food industry. In some cases, programs do not offer a thesis option, requiring students to pass final examinations before graduating.

Doctorate Degree Programs

Those interested in teaching at the college level may pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Food Service Management or Hospitality Management. Many doctoral candidates can also find schools that have food service research facilities.

Food service management degree programs are offered at associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Prospective students should look for programs that provide opportunities for professional development and prepare students for certification.

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