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If you have a passion for travel or food, the hospitality and culinary arts industry may be the perfect place to find a career. Jobs in the field include those of chefs, bakers, restaurant managers and travel agents.
No matter where you live in the country, you're likely to find hospitality jobs at nearby restaurants and hotels. However, the best job opportunities may be found in foodie hot spots like New York City and San Francisco or in cities that attract large numbers of tourists, such as Orlando and Las Vegas.
But before you can land a job, you need to pick a specialization and get the right education. Fortunately, culinary arts programs and even hospitality and tourism management degrees don't have to take long to earn. Keep reading for more about how to get started on your new career today.
Hospitality and Culinary Arts Specializations
The first step toward a career is to choose a specialization. While general hospitality and tourism management programs are offered at some schools, most workers in this field need specialized training. Here are the three examples:
- Culinary Arts: If you want to be a chef, baker or pastry chef, this is the specialty for you. Culinary arts programs teach the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the kitchen. Many combine classroom instruction with hands-on learning. Students may get the chance to complete an internship prior to graduation too.
- Restaurant Management: Maybe you love the idea of working in a restaurant, but your knife skills aren't that great. In that case, consider specializing in restaurant management. Certificate and degree programs in restaurant management can teach you how to run both the front and back of the house to create a vibrant atmosphere where people love to eat.
- Travel Agency: If you love to hunt for deals and learn about travel destinations, a career as a travel agent may be right for you. In the age of do-it-yourself travel arrangements, you may think no one uses travel agents anymore. But these professionals are still valued for their ability to put together complicated itineraries or arrange travel to exotic locales.
Educational Requirements for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Jobs
Some chefs and bakers are self-taught, but many hospitality and culinary arts professionals have formal education. Depending on your career goals, you may want to earn one of the following:
- Certificate: Most certificates can be completed in one year or less. Often, they focus on a specific aspect of the hospitality industry such as baking, culinary arts, restaurant management or hospitality marketing. Upon graduation, students should be prepared for entry level positions.
- Associate Degree: A two-year associate degree is the next step up in education. Like certificates, these programs often focus on a specific area of hospitality. You can find degrees in baking and pastry, culinary arts, restaurant management and hospitality and tourism management among other majors.
- Bachelor's Degree: You won't need a four-year degree for many hospitality jobs, but they are available. A bachelor's degree may be appropriate for those who want to work in a management position at a larger resort, hotel or restaurant.