In this article, we profile the 10 best online bachelor’s in culinary arts programs of 2020.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of chefs and head cooks is projected to grow 11 percent through 2028. Job opportunities will result from the need to replace retirees and those who leave the occupation. As a result, more culinary arts specialists will be needed. Thankfully, online bachelor’s in culinary arts programs are available to help you navigate your career path as an industry expert.
10 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts Programs Methodology
We reviewed 38 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and reputable online sources that offered bachelor’s in culinary arts online degree programs. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation (regional and/or national) and institution and/or program rankings with at least one major publication like U.S. News and World Report. To rank the following programs, we listed them according to raw affordability.
Below are the resulting selections for our 10 best online bachelor’s in culinary arts programs of 2020.
Reviewing Each of the Top Online Culinary Arts Degree Programs
#10 – The New School
Online Bachelor’s in Food Studies
New York, New York
Undergraduate Tuition: $50,994
For individuals seeking a bachelor’s in culinary arts that includes a look at the connections between food, culture, social policy, and the environment, The New School has options. The bachelor’s in food studies is open to adults, transfer students, and nontraditional undergraduates who want to earn a food studies or culinary degree online. Full-time and part-time options are available and classes are taught by esteemed faculty. Online courses cover topics such as American culinary history, eating identities, food and the senses, and the science of food, flavor, and farming. The New School ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. In fact, 2020 rankings include #153 in best national universities.
#9 – New England Culinary Institute
Online Bachelor’s in Food and Beverage Business Management
Undergraduate Tuition: $22,200
For those interested in an online bachelor’s in culinary arts or closely related degree program that emphasizes the business side of food management, New England Culinary Institute offers an online option. The online bachelor’s in food and beverage business management program is designed to help students open doors within the hospitality industry. The program takes 32 months to complete by taking 100% online courses. These courses cover a wide range of culinary topics, such as advanced culinary techniques, advanced food and wine pairing, advanced meat fabrication, and beverage management and mixology. New England Institute requires official high school transcripts, letters of reference, essay, and interview for admission.
#8 – Lackawanna College
Online Bachelor’s in Restaurant and Foodservice Management – Culinary Arts
Undergraduate Tuition: $16,130
One of the top online bachelor’s in culinary arts degree programs on our list that emphasizes restaurant and foodservice management is offered by Lackawanna College. This online culinary arts degree can be completed entirely online by taking classes taught by experienced Lackawanna College faculty. Also, the program offers two concentrations: baking and pastry, and culinary arts. The online courses cover topics like culinary foundations, hospitality and food ethics, introduction to gastronomy and hospitality, and modern restaurant cuisine. Lackawanna ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional college in the North.
#7 – Johnson & Wales University
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
Providence, Rhode Island
Undergraduate Tuition: $13,365
Johnson & Wales University offers a bachelor’s in culinary arts online degree program designed to complete in just two years. By taking 11-week courses that are delivered entirely online, students earn a bachelor’s in culinary arts and food service management. Courses you will take during your time of study include advanced food service operations management, financial and managerial accounting, food and beverage strategies and logistics, and hospitality strategic management. Johnson & Wales ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 80th best regional university in the North. Additional rankings include #48 in best colleges for veterans and #113 in best online bachelor’s programs.
#6 – Colorado Technical University
Online Bachelor’s in Management – Food Service Management
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Undergraduate Tuition: $12,529
Earning an online culinary arts degree, such as the one offered at Colorado Technical University, means a degree in food service management. This fully online BS in management degree emphasizes studies in food service and business. Online courses include consumer behavior, customer service excellence, food service and safety, introduction to logistics and supply chain management, and loss prevention. While this degree is not specific to culinary arts, it focuses more on the business side of food service. Colorado Technical University is a fully accredited institution recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. The online bachelor’s programs rank #152 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
#5 – Arizona State University
Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,338
Arizona State University offers an accredited nutrition degree for those seeking a bachelor’s in culinary arts or closely related degree. A total of 40 classes are required. Each class runs 7.5 weeks. In addition to the nutrition degree, students may opt to follow an entrepreneurship track. In this track of study, students learn how to manage and market food, develop recipes, and create menus specific to nutritional guidelines. Applicants to ASU’s nutrition program must be among the top 25% of their high school graduating class and hold a 3.00 GPA in the required competency courses. ASU ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 117th best national university. In addition to school rankings, the online bachelor’s programs rank #6 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.
#4 – The University of Alabama
Online Bachelor’s in Food and Nutrition
Undergraduate Tuition: $10,780
Individuals seeking online bachelor’s in culinary arts programs might find the food and nutrition degree at The University of Alabama an ideal fit. The program is delivered entirely online and designed for those with career aspirations to work as a registered dietitian. Included as an online culinary arts degree, the food and nutrition bachelor’s degree is one of only three distance-learning programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Online courses cover topics like community nutrition, food science, introduction to research in food and nutrition, and management of food service systems. University of Alabama ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 153rd best national university.
#3 – SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts Management
Delhi, New York
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,560
SUNY College of Technology at Delhi offers an accredited and affordable online bachelor’s in culinary arts degree. This online bachelor’s of business administration (BBA) program is led by talented faculty and offers coursework that will serve as the foundation for your culinary career. Courses are delivered online and cover topics like business communication, culinary arts advanced techniques and preparation, food and beverage cost control, professional baking, and purchasing for the hospitality industry. Though 100% online, small class sizes mean one-on-one interaction and guidance from faculty. In addition to being accredited, SUNY Delhi ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 15th best regional college in the North.
#2 – Purdue University Global
Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,037
With a growing emphasis on the role of nutrition in people’s lives, Purdue University Global offers an alternative to the online bachelor’s in culinary arts degree program. The online bachelor’s in nutrition is an approved holistic nutrition education program recognized by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). Accelerated completion options are also offered so that students earn their degree faster than a traditional nutrition degree. Sample courses cover topics like food safety and microbiology, nutritional analysis and assessment, nutritional counseling, and nutrition planning and management. Purdue Global is fully accredited and recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.
#1 – Eastern New Mexico University
Online Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts
Portales, New Mexico
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,450
The most affordable online bachelor’s in culinary arts program on our list is offered by Eastern New Mexico University. This fully online degree program consists of 120 hours and yields a BAAS degree upon completion. As like many online culinary arts degree programs, courses cover foundational and advanced topics in culinary arts. Courses you will likely take include bar and beverage management, food and cultures, food operations management, history of cooking, and hospitality facilities management. These classes are taught by the same Eastern New Mexico faculty as the classes taught on campus. In addition to offering affordable options, Eastern New Mexico ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, recent rankings include #87-#113 in best regional universities in the West.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with an online culinary arts degree?
Graduates of online bachelor’s in culinary arts degree programs work as chefs, including baking chefs, head chefs, pastry chefs, private chefs, and sous chefs. They also assume roles of management in the restaurant and hospitality industry. In culinary schools, such as the ones listed above, students gain skills needed to succeed in the field. They cover a variety of techniques, such as baking and pastry skills, menu planning, and sauce preparation.
Bachelor’s in culinary arts programs assure students have taken cooking courses as well as covered topics appropriate for the management and business side of the industry. These special topics include cost control, food sanitation and safety, inventory management, and kitchen management.
Some programs emphasize nutrition. These programs prepare students for careers as registered nutritionists and experts in the field. However, to qualify for these jobs, you will need to pass qualifying exams and earn additional credentials.
The online bachelor’s in culinary arts programs on our list also offer elective classes and specializations that allow students to tailor their degree. This means focusing on an area of interest or a topic that will leverage career goals. Also, many programs offer certification in an area of specialty. Upon completing a certificate, you may be eligible for competitive jobs in culinary arts.
How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s degree in culinary arts?
The duration of time spent earning an online bachelor’s in culinary arts varies by program and enrollment status. Generally, a traditional culinary arts degree (bachelor) takes four years to complete. However, online options offer flexibility and a shortened completion time.
Online bachelor’s in culinary arts degree programs take less than four years. Many of the programs on our list take between two and three years to complete. Students can cut the time required in half by having completed an associate’s degree in culinary arts prior to enrolling in a bachelor’s program.
Attending full-time also shortens the length of time required for a bachelor’s in culinary arts online degree. While enrolled full-time, students take more classes. As a result, they earn their degree much quicker than their part-time enrolled peers. However, part-time enrollment allows more freedom. This is especially ideal for students who work full-time and need extra hours to balance life obligations.
If you want to receive your degree in a compressed amount of time, you may be better suited for full-time enrollment. However, if you need extra hours in the day and are balancing work schedules with school, part-time enrollment may be a better fit. Be sure to examine your program of choice to see what options are available.
What classes will I take in an online culinary arts degree?
The classes offered in an online bachelor’s in culinary arts program vary by school. However, many of the programs on our list offer classes that cover similar topics.
For example, to graduate with an online culinary arts degree, you will have taken classes designed to provide knowledge and skills in areas of food management, food safety, and food service. Classes are generally hands-on and require extensive training in the kitchen.
Some of the most common courses offered in online bachelor’s in culinary arts programs include baking and pastries, cooking meats, plating and presentation, and preparing sauces. Other classes seen in culinary arts programs that emphasize restaurant management and the business side of the industry focus on branding, menu planning, and operations management.
Many programs, even those that are online, include an internship that gives students hands-on opportunities and extensive kitchen training. For programs that offer internships, students often practice their skills while working in different kinds of restaurants, resorts, or other dining facilities.
Programs that offer internships can be extremely beneficial to recent graduates. An internship offers valuable work experience when applying to a new job. This means recent college graduates with internship hours offer a new employer valuable work history.
What is the job outlook for individuals with an online bachelor’s in culinary arts?
The job outlook for individuals with an online bachelor’s in culinary arts is a favorable one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports expected job opportunities and industry growth resulting from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. As a result, job opportunities will open up. In fact, BLS reports an above-average anticipated job growth of 11 percent through 2028.
According to the BLS, employment of chefs and head cooks is projected to grow 11 percent over the next eight years. BLS reports that job opportunities will be best for chefs and head cooks with several years of experience. Thankfully, most employers will accept education in lieu of experience. This means an online bachelor’s in culinary arts degree could be seen as having three to four years of experience.
Many of the job openings will result from workers leaving the occupation. As head chefs and cooks retire, their positions will need to be filled. Also, the industry often sees a high rate of turnover due to increased demands, fast pace, and the need for high energy individuals. As a result, burnout is a factor.
There should be strong competition for jobs in upscale restaurants, hotels, and other dining facilities where pay is the highest. However, you can set yourself apart from the competition by earning a bachelor’s in culinary arts online degree.
How much money will I earn with an online culinary arts degree?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for head cooks and chefs, as of May 2019, was $51,530. The lowest ten percent in these occupations earned less than $28,370, while the highest ten percent earned more than $86,990. Pay is usually the highest in upscale hotels and restaurants, as well as in major metropolitan and/or resort areas, such as New York City.
BLS reported four top paying industries for head cooks and chefs, as of May 2019. The industries and median annual wages for chefs and head cooks are listed below:
- Traveler accommodation: $58,250
- Special food services: $56,800
- Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries: $56,310
- Restaurants and other dining places: $47,980
As far as occupations or job titles, head chefs and cooks earn the highest wage. In fact, the median annual wage as of May 2019 for chefs and head cooks was $51,530. Supervisors, such as management roles in food preparation and service workers, earned a median annual wage of $34,830.
Most chefs and head cooks work full-time. Schedules fluctuate depending on the needs of the restaurant or facility. It is not unusual for head chefs to work late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Also, most management positions see work hours that exceed forty hours per week.
Other online program rankings: