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Culinary Arts Major

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Culinary Arts

9,112 Associate's Degrees Annually
672 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
#5 in Popularity (Associate's)
$33,210 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Culinary Arts Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many culinary arts graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 9,185
Undergraduate Certificate 8,562
Basic Certificate 8,217
Bachelor’s Degree 679

What Culinary Arts Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, culinary arts majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Culinary Arts Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Culinary Arts Majors

When studying culinary arts, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Abilities for Culinary Arts Majors

Culinary Arts majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Culinary Arts Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with culinary arts:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Bakers 7.6% $26,520
Bartenders 2.5% $22,550
Butchers and Meat Cutters 5.7% $31,580
Chefs and Head Cooks 9.6% $48,460
Cooks 9.0% $28,650
Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria 7.7% $26,860
Cooks, Private Household 5.2% $37,590
Cooks, Restaurant 11.8% $26,530
First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers 9.3% $32,450
Food Service Managers 9.0% $54,240
Slaughterers and Meat Packers 0.6% $28,260

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts?

9,185 Associate's Degrees Annually
60% Percent Women
46% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is one of the most frequently chosen trade school majors. It is the 5th most popular in the country with 9,112 students graduating with an associate’s in culinary arts in 2019. The major attracts more women than men. About 60% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of culinary arts majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Culinary Arts Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 459
Black or African American 1,662
Hispanic or Latino 1,659
White 4,122
International Students 424
Other Races/Ethnicities 859

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Culinary Arts. About 4.6% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • South Korea
  • China
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Canada

How Much Do Culinary Arts Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Culinary Arts majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $28,450 to $52,160 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Culinary Arts Major  ( 28450 to 52160 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with culinary arts require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for culinary arts careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 16.1%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 43.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 11.4%
Some College Courses 9.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 7.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 10.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 0.6%
Master’s Degree 1.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.1%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.3%
Doctoral Degree 0.6%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.3%

Online Culinary Arts Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 658 schools offered some type of culinary arts program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 517 5
Certificate (1-2 years) 584 5
Certificate (2-4 Years) 36 0
Associate’s Degree 611 3
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 517 5
Master’s Degree 2 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Culinary Arts Worth It?

The median salary for a culinary arts grad is $33,210 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to culinary arts.

Major Number of Grads
Cosmetology 103,674
Funeral & Mortuary Science 1,965
Other Personal & Culinary Services 320

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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