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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

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

Culinary Arts majors often go into careers in which the following 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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to culinary arts:

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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

A major in culinary arts will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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. This major is dominated by women with about 60% of recent graduates being 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 you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with culinary arts require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to culinary arts have obtained the following education levels.

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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 2018-2019, 658 schools offered a culinary arts program of some type. 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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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