Food service managers can have a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. Some start as waitstaff and gain experience before earning management positions. However, a certificate or vocational training program can prepare graduates to enter the food service industry at the management level. Most programs require students to participate in kitchen laboratory work to practice proper sanitation and cooking techniques.
Prerequisites for a food service management certificate program include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Programs take as little as three quarters to complete and may include an internship or co-operative experience. Certification requirements vary by state, but candidates usually need to pass an examination.
Food Service Management Certificate
Students prepare for careers in tourism, hospitality and other service fields by learning to provide customers with a quality experience, manage costs, and improve kitchen efficiency. Coursework includes the following:
- Food preparation
- Hospitality administration
- Menu planning
Popular Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 201,370 people employed as food service managers as of May 2015. Certificate program graduates have also found work as the following:
- Cake decorators
- Restaurant managers
- Wedding planners
Continuing Education Information
It could be beneficial to obtain certification for food protection manager and food safety manager, which is different from food handler certification. Commonly, managerial certification remains valid for five years.
When working in settings that serve alcoholic beverages - like catering companies, hotels, clubs and restaurants - alcoholic beverage service certification may be useful. As with all other food certification, requirements for serving alcohol vary by state. Mixology and bartending training is available at colleges and universities, traditionally through continuing education departments.
Advanced food service management training programs are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Titles for these programs include culinary arts and food service management, food service and hospitality management, food and nutrition, food service management or food service business management.
A certificate in food service management enables graduates to directly enter management positions in the food service industry. According to the BLS, having a certificate gives graduates an advantage when looking for employment over other job position candidates who may not have formal training.