Choosing the Right Education For Your Restaurant / Food Service Career

Wondering what kind of education is required for a restaurant or food service career?

Once you’ve decided you want to work in food service, your next step is whether or not to complete your education or just learn on the job. If you choose to complete your education, there are several options available to you, depending on just what type of job you want.

Four Year Degrees and Restaurant Careers

A lot of people decide they want to get a traditional four year bachelor’s degree at a College or University. This is a good choice and you have many options for majors from Nutrition and Dietetics, Food and Beverage Management to Hospitality.

These degrees are good for people who don’t necessarily want to be working the line in a busy restaurant kitchen on a Saturday night; instead they may want traditional 9-5 jobs such as those in management or purchasing (although beware: most food industry jobs are not exactly 9-5).

You’ll learn everything from providing excellent customer service to how to plan restaurant menus while in school for these degrees, and you’ll have to take basic college course such as english, math and science as well.

Traditional degrees are expensive and will take you every bit of four years, although scheduling will most likely be pretty flexible, so if you have a day job you need to keep while in school, you’ll be able to take night classes if necessary. In addition, if you complete a bachelor’s degree, and decide that you don’t want to work in food service after all, a college degree in any major can be helpful in getting other jobs, so this is a worthwhile investment in that respect.

Culinary Arts Degrees and Food Service Careers

If you want to learn to cook, and learn all there is to know about restaurant work, a Culinary Arts degree may be the way to go for you. These are usually two year programs (although there are some four year culinary arts degrees) that are hands on. You’ll get the full experience of being a chef in a restaurant kitchen, complete with an externship in restaurant under professional chefs.

There are some cons to this route however, and you should do thorough research before making any decisions. For one thing, culinary arts schools are expensive and not all are created equal. Choose a school with high standards and a great reputation even if it costs a little bit more money.

Also, many culinary arts programs are not flexible, so if you have a family to take care of, or a full time job, it may be very difficult to juggle both things.

A culinary arts degree, while a degree is not very useful for other lines of work, so if you complete it and then decide that you want to do something else, it may or may not be helpful in other fields. It is very common for those who invest in culinary degrees to choose something else down the road as food professionals don’t make a lot of money.

Culinary arts school can be a great investment if you are passionate about food and cooking, and want to learn all you can about the restaurant industry, and is a great way to break into the business if you don’t have restaurant experience.

Only you can decide which route is right for you. Keep in mind, unlike other professional industries, there is no strict educational requirements and many highly respected professionals have thriving careers with little to no education. If you are dedicated, ambitious and hardworking, you will succeed no matter which route you take education wise.

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