If you’re looking into getting a job at a hotel or at a resort or restaurant, you may be wondering if there’s a difference between a culinary and hospitality degree. While both prepare you for working in similar places of employment, the jobs that each degree qualifies you for are different.
Before looking at the differences between a culinary and hospitality degree, it’s important to know that they are similar in many ways. For instance, both degrees are often offered at vocational schools and community colleges, and according to Gateway Gourmet, you can expect to make between $30,000 and $60,000 once you graduate with either type of degree. While you still may have to spend some time in an entry-level position, both degrees can prepare you to be a manager. As a manager, you’ll be in charge of employees holding entry-level positions, and you’ll be responsible for making sure that customers are happy. If they aren’t, they’ll ask to speak with you. As far as classes go, you’ll have to take a few general courses no matter which degree you want – math, English and communications courses usually need to be taken by all students.
While a culinary degree can prepare you to be a manager, you don’t need to become one if you don’t want to. Unlike hospitality degree programs, culinary programs have many cooking courses. You’ll have hands-on classes that will teach you about different aspects of being a cook and working in a kitchen. This is the main difference between a culinary and hospitality degree – a culinary degree program will prepare you to work with food. You’ll have classes on keeping a sanitary kitchen, cooking basic recipes and making your dishes look as appetizing as possible on the plate. If your culinary program focuses on management more than food preparation, expect to take courses on running both the front and back of the house – the front of the house is where the servers work and customers eat, and the back of the house is where the food is prepared.
Another difference between a culinary and hospitality degree is that hospitality degrees tend to be more general. While a culinary degree program normally prepares you to work in a restaurant, a hospitality degree will prepare you to work in other areas. For instance, many hospitality workers end up being employed by hotels. Since most hotels have some type of food service, a hospitality degree should prepare you to work in a food service department, but you probably won’t be qualified to be a cook. Instead, expect to be in charge of kitchen supplies or administrative tasks instead of actually preparing the food. A hospitality degree might have classes that teach students how to work the front desk or do housekeeping duties, but a hospitality management degree will offer classes focusing on running a department in a hotel or resort setting.
You can qualify for some culinary jobs with a hospitality degree, and vice versa, but the main difference between a culinary and hospitality degree is that a culinary program will prepare you to work with food while a hospitality program will prepare you to work in other areas of a hotel or resort.