|Degree Level||None; associate, bachelor's and certificate programs available|
|Degree Field(s)||Hospitality, restaurant management, or culinary arts|
|License/Certification||Food safety certification typically required|
|Experience||None; on-the-job training available|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||10% increase*|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$19,580 (for all food preparation and serving workers, including fast food)
$48,690 (for food service managers)*
Food service workers tend to customers while assisting in kitchen processes. Jobs within the field can include restaurant bus staff, waiters and waitresses, hosts, bartenders, and more. Most food service positions are entry-level and require a high school diploma or less.
Food Service Crew Requirements
Many employees have little work experience and are trained on the job. Employees may learn from more experienced workers and train in food handling and safety, customer service, and company procedures. Some employers provide trainees with instructional materials, such as booklets and videos, while others may provide classroom training that covers restaurant operations.
Formal Training Programs
Though this occupation has no strict education requirements, some food service workers receive advanced training in a vocational school. A worker interested in advancing to a food service management position may earn a degree in restaurant or hospitality management, such as the Associate of Applied Science in Food Service Management or Associate of Science in Culinary Arts.
Bartenders often gain additional training through bartending schools, which generally instruct students through simulated on-the-job training behind a practice bar. Students usually learn to use bar equipment, mix drinks, properly serve beers and wines, and sell to customers. They may study state laws, regulations, and alcohol awareness. Many bartending schools also help students find jobs and offer continuing education courses.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of food and beverage serving and related workers is expected to grow by an average rate of 10% between 2014 and 2024, while job opportunities for food service managers are projected to grow by about five percent during the same decade. The median annual salary earned by all food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, was reported as $19,580 in May 2015 by the BLS. The same month, BLS reported that food service managers earn a median of $48,690.
Getting a job on a food service crew doesn't require any specific education because all training is provided by the employer.