In the hospitality industry, a degree is not a requirement for many entry-level positions. Unfortunately, many of these entry-level careers don’t offer much in the way of salary or potential for promotion, which is why so many aspiring managers and leaders in the field opt for a college degree.
If you want to begin a career within the culinary industry that offers stability, great pay and respect, then a managerial or supervisory position is often the best bet. To qualify for these careers, a traditional or online bachelor’s degree in restaurant and culinary management is fantastic.
Over roughly four years, you’ll study things like hospitality law, human resource management, food hygiene, customer relations, food and beverage management and budgeting. Here are seven of the many great reasons to earn a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and culinary management.
1. Start a Career at the Top of the Industry
One of the biggest advantages of earning a degree in the field of restaurant and culinary management is that after graduation, you can begin a career near the top of the industry. In many fields like medicine or business, earning a bachelor’s degree means that you are still only eligible for the lowest-paying entry-level careers in the industry.
In the culinary and hospitality industries, however, that is certainly not the case. Many of the lowest paying jobs in hospitality hover around minimum wage or revolve around tips, but managerial positions can command much higher salaries. Combined with some experience in the field, a bachelor’s degree can make you eligible for all kinds of top management positions that you can seek out immediately after graduation.
2. Become Eligible for Promotions
Even if you have already been working in the hospitality industry for some time, as many young people do at some point or another, having a bachelor’s degree in the field can do a lot to help you become eligible for promotions. There are three major ways to get promoted in hospitality.
First, you can gain years of experience in a particular line of work. Second, you can excel at what you do, put in more time and effort than others and get great feedback from peers and customers. Third, you can earn a degree. Although the best-case scenario is a combination of all three, having a formal college education can go a long way in making you eligible for promotions that can bring you more pay, more respect, more flexibility in your schedule and greater opportunities for the future.
3. Increase Your Earning Potential
On average, those with a bachelor’s degree are able to earn substantially more than those with just a high school education. In fact, recent studies show that over a lifetime of employment, the average high school graduate can expect to earn approximately $1.2 million dollars over their working careers. While that might sound like a substantial amount, it pales in comparison to $2.1 million, which is the amount earned by a bachelor’s degree holder. In the hospitality business, just like almost every other industry, more qualifications and education translates to higher annual salaries and a greater average lifetime pay.
4. Work in Hospitality Overseas
A perk of earning a degree like the bachelor’s in restaurant and culinary management is that it can be utilized around the world. The skills acquired during this four-year degree can be applicable whether you run a restaurant in Japan, France or Las Vegas. If you know that you want to stick with a hospitality career for the next few years but you can’t pin down a specific location where you’d like to be employed, having a degree gives you the freedom to travel.
In many countries, having a four-year degree is a requirement of applying for and receiving a work visa, which enables you to legally find employment overseas. If you enjoy travel, meeting you new people and even trying exotic cuisines, you may be the perfect person to head overseas and try a new managerial position in a bar or restaurant.
5. Be Respected and Admired by Your Peers
If nothing else, a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and culinary management will help you to gain respect and even admiration from your peers, bosses and subordinates. In any given restaurant, whether it happens to be an independent establishment, a Michelin-starred upscale eatery or a small franchise, managers have to be respected in order to be effective.
Great ways to gain respect from those that you work with include adhering to staff rules, listening to complaints, being fair, acting reasonably and sticking to your word. Along with these admirable traits, having experience and qualifications shows others that you have the necessary knowledge to make decisions that should be followed. Earning a degree will make you a more capable leader as well as a more respected one.
6. Be Eligible for a Master’s Degree
Another key way that a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and culinary management can change your life is by making you eligible for a master’s degree. In the hierarchy of education, degrees start at the associate degree, carry on to the bachelor’s degree and then advance to the master’s degree. This graduate degree, which takes between one and two years to complete, can help you secure some of the very top positions in the entire hospitality industry.
Those who earn master’s degree in culinary management may be able to oversee entire regions of franchises, restaurants with multiple locations throughout a city or even large, multimillion dollar establishments run by celebrity chefs. While having a master’s degree is certainly not a requirement of working as a restaurant manager, it can go a long way when it comes to the top 1% of careers. In order to qualify for a spot in a master’s program, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college.
7. Reduce Your Risk of Unemployment
According to recent studies, risk of unemployment reduces substantially the greater your level of education. There is a common misconception, especially in the hospitality industry, that being overqualified may prevent you from finding a job, but these findings highlight the exact opposite. In the United States, high school graduates have an unemployment rate of over 12 percent, and over 21 percent live in poverty.
Those with a two-year college degree have just an eight percent unemployment rate, and just under 15 percent live below the poverty line. For those with a bachelor’s degree, however, things look even better. Unemployment rates for four-year degree holders is just 3.8 percent, and roughly six percent live under the poverty level. If you are concerned for your future, you want to enjoy more job security and you want to rise up through the ranks in the field of hospitality, then there is no question that having the right degree can go a long way.
Even if you already work full time or you are worried about the logistics of heading back to school, it is possible to earn a degree in restaurant and culinary management through evening courses, part-time enrollment or online degrees.