Online Associate Degree in Culinary Arts: Distance Learning Overview

Get info about online programs in the culinary arts. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Online associate degree program options in culinary arts are limited. Most schools that do provide online possibilities offer culinary arts and operations programs in a hybrid format, in which some classes are available remotely and others, such as lab work, require students to visit the campus. An externship may also be required through which students work in the kitchen of a food service establishment. Online students will need access to Microsoft Word and the ability to take and send pictures. Students may need to already hold a diploma or certificate in culinary arts before starting an associate degree program. Classes can ready graduates for head cook, chef and food service management positions.

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Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Through this degree program, students become familiar with food and common concepts in culinary arts and hone their skills in production, baking and management. They learn to prepare and display high-quality products and make nutritious meals.

Some institutions stipulate that students have previously completed an on-campus diploma or certificate program in the culinary arts that covers the laboratory (or hands-on) component of the degree.

Program Information and Requirements

The online associate degree program in culinary arts takes about two years to complete. Students complete the online courses by accessing the school's web-based applications, through which they can follow lectures, watch videos, complete assignments and interact with other students.

In addition to reliable Internet access, a working computer and a valid e-mail address are necessities. Students must also be able to take and send pictures and have Microsoft Office. A webcam and other software programs could also be required.

Culinary Arts Associate-Level Courses

Students take a variety of cooking classes along with general education courses. Courses with a lab component, where students put learned knowledge to practical use, must be completed on campus.

Culture and Cuisine

Through this course, students examine the role food plays in different cultures around the world. Students learn about the types of spices used in common foods and ways that they are commonly prepared.

Menu Planning and Facilities Management

What does successful menu planning involve? Students learn to create menus for breakfasts, lunches and dinners for special events and restaurants.

Nutrition and Cooking

This course trains students to apply nutrition concepts to a variety of meals. They learn the essentials of balancing a meal to make it nutritious and healthy and learn about substitutes available for less healthy ingredients, including butter and sugar.

Cost Control and Marketing

Students study specific meal-planning techniques that enable them to cover the cost of the meal. Other aspects of meal and restaurant planning, including the costs of marketing and paying for servers and cooks, are also covered.


Career Information for Graduates

Upon completion of an online associate degree program in culinary arts, students may find careers as food service managers, chefs, cooks and food preparation supervisors. According to the May 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), these careers require that students have some higher education, such as an associate degree. The median annual salary for chefs and head cooks in May 2015 was $41,500. Supervisors of food prep and serving workers made a median salary of $30,340. Food service managers made a median annual salary of $48,690 in 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Students who are interested in advanced careers in the culinary arts can pursue online bachelor's degree programs in the field. They can also pursue master's degree programs in culinary arts or in business, to prepare them to open their own restaurant or catering facility.

Interested students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts online to learn about nutrition and meal planning, among other things. Graduates have the option of pursing advanced degrees in the field or working a variety of jobs in food service.

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