Food Management Degree Program Overviews

Both associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in food management provide the skills needed to enter management positions in the food industry. Bachelor's degree programs also prepare students to open their own businesses.

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Essential Information

Associate's and bachelor's programs in food management call for courses in purchasing, food preparation, sanitation procedures and menu creation. Associate's programs require two years of study, while bachelor's degrees call for four years. After completing a program, students may pursue certification as food service management professionals in restaurants, catering operations, school or hospital cafeterias.

Prerequisites for both programs includes a high school diploma or equivalent. For some bachelor's programs, work experience and/or previous college coursework may also be required. Placement tests may be required for associate's programs.


Associate Degree Programs in Food Management

Associate's degree programs, such as an Associate of Applied Science in Food and Beverage Management or an Associate of Business in Food Management, prepare students for management careers in the food services industry. Programs teach a combination of management, hospitality and culinary skills.

Typical courses include:

  • Sanitation and safety
  • Hospitality management
  • Food production
  • Purchasing
  • Culinary art
  • Menu planning

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Bachelor's Degree Program in Food Management

A bachelor's degree program in food management prepares students for management positions in the food services industry as well as providing the skills needed to open their own businesses. Programs combine business and management principles with food services and hospitality skills.

Students take general education coursework in addition to classes in their food service major. Some bachelor's programs are designed for students with previous experience in the food service industry. Courses might include:

  • Communications
  • Marketing
  • Nutrition
  • Food production
  • Food service systems

Popular Career Options

A degree in food management prepares students for a variety of careers in the food services industry or related areas, such as food production and marketing. Popular career options might include restaurant manager, cafeteria manager, caterer, hospital food service manager, or school food service manager.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment of food service managers to show 5% growth from 2014-2024. Median wages for food service managers were $48,690 annually as of May 2015.

Continuing Education

Additional certifications are available with work experience and competencies in certain subspecialties, such as food safety, hospitality, management, controlling costs, menu marketing, inventory and purchasing. Food services managers can pursue further education to advance into related careers. Some may opt to become nutritionists or dietitians. Others may pursue a business degree for a career such as a restaurant owner.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, www.nraef.org, awards a voluntary Foodservice Management Professional credential to candidates with an associate's degree who meet the additional criteria and pass an exam. Managers may wish to pursue further education to increase their business or management skills.

Associate's and bachelor's degrees in food management prepare students to enter leadership positions within the food services or hospitality industry. Additional certifications are available once students graduate that further training in certain specialties related to restaurant management, such as costs, inventory, food safety and hospitality.

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