Research Schools

Culinary Arts Degree Categories

Associate's Degree in Catering

Why do people like to go out restaurants? On the one hand, restaurants allow individuals to pay to be served by others. They don't have to do dishes, make a mess, or even carry the meal from the kitchen to the table. On the other hand, restaurants also provide delicious meals, usually far surpassing what we produce ourselves inside of our kitchens. But when it comes to restaurants, there is a certain inconvenience built into it as well: their service is isolated to within the walls of their building, and you have to go to them if you want their service. When you work in the field of catering, however, you overcome this detriment by providing high quality food and service wherever the client desires. When you obtain your Associate's degree in catering, you acquire the diverse array of skills necessary to provide these enriching experiences to individuals. People will always need food, but more importantly they will also need talented chefs and services providers to bring them these delectable meals wherever they are needed.

A degree in catering ultimately equips students with a wide range of skills that allow them to work on the ground level of the kitchen and empower them to successful run a catering business at the top level. This means that catering students will have the experience necessary to prepare a menu, cook delicious food, train others to cook this as well, transport food, manage employees, administrate the business, market and advertising, and take care of accounting. If this sounds like a business degree with a hint of food mixed in, it is. Catering is more than just creating delicious meals: it's about pleasing customers' palates and ensuring you're generating the profit needed to remain successful.

catering schools

Most catering programs prepare students to work in a few specific settings. First, many students with an Associate's degree in catering aspire to open their own catering business. Therefore, like the above list suggests, these programs work to provide individuals with everything they need to master the business at every level. Other individuals might not own their own catering company, but they work at the higher levels of management, overseeing the generally processes and being high on the list of accountability. Restaurants today also often offer their own catering menus, and they require talented individuals to oversee this highly profitable aspect of their business. With catering degree, you will have the skills that equip you to run your own business, or manage many aspects of a catering company or restaurant.

Not only does a catering degree recommend you for working solely in catering. Since the skills conferred by an AA degree in catering it will prepare an individual for management responsibilities, becoming a restaurant manager is also a common are of employment for individuals. This requires many of the same tasks, from working with kitchen staff and knowing how to prepare food to orchestrating the functions of a food service business at a higher level of management. Besides restaurants, the entire foodservice industry relies on talented people to serve customers inside of hospitals, schools, corporations, hotels, and other areas that need food but do not specialize in it. Working as a client liaison or as a regional representative also puts the skills earned in a degree program to excellent use.

Restaurants are fantastic venues to visit, and even to work at. But earning a catering degree allows individuals to break out beyond the walls of a building and bring the food and the service directly to where customers are at. Now is the perfect time to begin obtaining your catering degree so that you can learn the essentials for cooking and managing, delighting client's palates in potentially all kinds of different venues.


How to Evaluate a Good Catering School

We realize you have a lot of options when looking for your Associate’s degree in catering and we want you to be well informed about your decision. Below are some of the top areas we recommend researching when evaluating the catering school you wish to attend.

Completion and Placement Rate – One of the things that every school must share with potential students is their placement rate. This rate will tell you what percentage of their graduates not only gradated but how many received jobs in the field they studied in. It is common to see completion rates in the 70+% range but I would avoid schools that have placement rates under 30%. This tells us that they might be graduating students but perhaps they don’t have the best connections within the catering industry.

Experienced Instructors – You’ll want to attend a school that has not only experienced instructors but also well-known chefs and alumni.

Externships – It is important that the school you are attending has established internships and externships with known restaurants and resorts. This is important as you could get hired during the last few months of your program if they like your work habits and skills.

Proven success – Although having all of the above is a good way to judge a school nothing beats asking around for a referral. It is always suggested to go online and ask current and former students their option on the catering school you want to attend.


Catering Career Options

it is recommended that you do anything possible to get your foot in door to gain experience. Take business courses if you want to get into management.

Self Employed – Approx. 25% of all catering graduates go into self-employment and open their own catering business. Being self-employed allows you the flexibility to take on clients around your own schedule and work your own hours.

Resort Catering Managers – Be responsible for hiring employees, training, food purchasing, quality control and more. Large resorts and hotels require managers at all levels in the kitchen and usually require 3-5 years of experience before you can get hired into management.


About Your Catering Training

Below are just some of the areas and courses you’ll cover during your Associate’s degree in catering training.
- Event Planning
- Menu Creation
- Weddings
- Food Costs
- Management
- Software


Salary Outlook for Caterers
Depending on where you work your salary as a caterer will vary. Many hold positions in hospitals, resorts and hotels. Salary ranges from $44,500-$52,875.