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Schools with Food Preparation Training Programs: How to Choose

Food preparation training programs may be offered independently at the certificate or diploma level. In addition, culinary arts or hospitality management associate's degree programs may include food preparation as part of its curriculum.

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Students interested in food preparation careers can find certificates or degree programs in culinary arts or hospitality management, which will train students in a number of relevant skills. Students enrolled in food preparation programs will learn basic sanitation practices and the best ways to prepare food for consumption.

Schools with a Food Preparation Training Program

The following colleges and universities offer food preparation programs or nutrition programs with food preparation courses:

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Types Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
Johnson & Wales University Denver, CO 4-year, Private not-for-profit Associate's, Bachelor's $29,576
Central Arizona College Coolidge, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,460 (in-state), $10,740 (out-of-state)
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $47,750
Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $37,086
Santa Ana College Santa Ana, CA 2-year, Public Certificate $1,142 (in-state), $6,902 (out-of-state)
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa, CA 2-year, Public$ Certificate $1,184 (in-state), $6,584 (out-of-state)
Phoenix College Phoenix, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,046 (in-state), $7,830 (out-of-state)
Niagara County Community College Sanborn, NY 2-year, Public Associate's $4,370 (in-state), $10,310 (out-of-state)
Radford University Radford, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,809 (in-state), $22,093 (out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

Students may want to consider the following when choosing a school:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, states issue their own food preparation standards, so students should choose a school with a program certified by the state health department.
  • Look for programs that are accredited by the appropriate industry standards, such as the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration or the American Culinary Federation.
  • Prospective professionals should look for programs with practical opportunities, along with coursework in hospitality management or culinary arts, which can expand their knowledge base.
  • If students are interested in a particular type of cuisine, they should seek out programs that offer courses in that topic.

Certificates in Food Preparation

Certificate or diploma programs can be completed in one or two semesters. Example titles may include Diploma in Food Service Management Studies, Culinary Arts Certificate or Food Preparation Certificate.

Associate's Degrees in Hospitality Management or Culinary Arts

These programs may require students to pass general education courses in addition to the curriculum specific to the major. Many require the completion of a cooperative internship for graduation.

To summarize, both certificates and associate's degrees are available in food preparation, as well as relevant bachelor's degrees that include food prep courses, that will help individuals learn the necessary skills to be successful.

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