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Professional Catering Associate's Degree

A professional catering associate's degree teaches students food and business skills. Learn about what programs are available, what kinds of classes you'll take and what careers are available for those with catering or similar degrees.

What Will an Associate's Degree In Professional Catering Prepare Me For?

In a professional catering associate's degree program, you will be schooled in all aspects of professional catering, from the food creation to professional business practices. These programs may focus on the culinary arts, event management, hospitality, tourism or hotel and restaurant management. Some concepts you may study include:

  • Catering business principles
  • Culinary theory
  • Wines, beers and spirits
  • Seating arrangements
  • Service standards

Upon completion of the program, you will have the skills necessary to work at an existing catering company or start your own.

Common CoursesHealth and food safety, financial planning, event and restaurant management
Additional RequirementsLabs, mock catering events, internships
Related ProgramsCulinary arts; tourism; hospitality; event, hotel or restaurant management
Career OptionsCaterer, manager, event planner, catering or food service director
Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 8% (for meeting, convention and event planner)
Median Salary (2020)* $51,560 (for meeting, convention and event planner)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will My Classes Be Like?

Caterers are in charge of all the planning and organization of an event and make sure that the guests are satisfied and happy. Therefore, it is important for a caterer to be knowledgeable about everything that goes into planning and executing a successful event. Your education will give you the foundational skills to put on an extraordinary weddings, corporate meetings or other events. Some courses you may take include:

  • Event planning
  • Menu design
  • Sanitation and safety
  • Nutrition
  • Food costing
  • Restaurant management

Learning about preparing food is often very hands-on in nature and can require active participation in your classes. Some schools offer lab settings for classes in which you and your classmates will plan and implement a mock event. For these reasons online programs are rare.

What Will I Be Able To Do After School?

Many schools require an internship component in order to successfully complete your degree; this will give you real-world experience that will be helpful as you look for career opportunities. With your education, you should be able to find employment in a variety of settings, including hotels, hospitals, resorts or schools. Some specific positions you may hold are restaurant general manager, event planner, caterer and food service director. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the mean annual wage for meeting, convention and event planners was $55,890 in May 2020.