Online degree programs for aspiring chefs are unavailable, but fully online certificate programs can be found, such as cooking certificate programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), formal education may not be necessary for chefs and head cooks, who may learn their culinary skills through on-the-job training.
Online certificate programs are completed at the student's own pace. Students are required to purchase books and cooking utensils. These programs examine concepts in cooking, safety, menu planning and nutrition. Students will learn to follow recipes and create unique dishes.
Online culinary programs teach students to prepare everything from basic recipes to gourmet creations. Lesson plans include courses in cooking basics, sanitation and safety practices, menu planning and nutrition. Courses also dedicate time to different meal components, including sauces, soups, meats, fish, pastas and grains, vegetables, salads, eggs and desserts. Several programs also provide information on establishing a catering business.
Program Information and Requirements
Admission to an online culinary program is available to anyone who wants to learn to cook or start a catering business. Registration, communication with course instructors and assessments typically take place online, but course materials include textbooks and workbooks that are delivered to students. Course materials include recipes that students are expected to create. The pace of such programs is generally up to the individual and students have the flexibility to complete program requirements at their convenience.
List of Common Cooking Courses
Course topics cover all aspects of cooking from selecting ingredients to preparing and serving meals.
A course in nutrition teaches students the basics of nutrition, such as creating a balanced diet according to the USDA food guide pyramid, ingredient substitutes, low-fat food alternatives, reading food packaging labels and portion control.
This course helps students identify the various kinds of poultry used for cooking. Students learn to properly select, butcher and prepare poultry.
This course teaches students the skills necessary to make pies, tarts, soufflés and pastries. Topics covered include making dough, mixing fillings, decorating and storing pastry items.
Introduction to Catering
This course reviews various laws and regulations for starting a catering company, necessary items for keeping a professional kitchen well-stocked, and creating a business plan and menus. Students also learn about working with vendors and wholesalers, creating a marketing plan, hiring staff and creating proposals.
Career Information for Graduates
Individuals who complete an online cooking course are eligible to enter the culinary field as a cook, catering manager, banquet manager or baker. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for chefs and head cooks as of May 2015 was $41,500. This field is expected to grow in employment opportunities by 9% in the 2014-2024 decade.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) provides certification to chefs of various skill levels. Students interested in certification must apply to the ACF and provide an application fee, school transcripts or certificates of completion, employment documentation forms, and certificates of completion for ACF-approved courses in safety and sanitation food practices, culinary management and nutrition. Successful online cooking graduates who are interested in advancement opportunities may want to enroll in a culinary school.
Students looking for online programs that will help them become chefs may want to start with a cooking certificate program, which will take them from basic cooking to high-level culinary techniques. Degree programs in this field are not available online, but students looking for further education can become certified through professional institutions.