How Long Does Food Service Management School Take?

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operations of restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools and other establishments where food is served. They perform business and administrative tasks, seeing to it that the quality of the food served is maintained at all times, ensuring that personnel are doing their jobs well and that the operations are within the set budget to maximize profitability and minimize losses.

Food service managers have a very demanding career but for those who love the food industry, this is a position of advancement that is worth striving for. Cooks and waiters who have been in the profession for a long time can be promoted to this position even if they only have a high school diploma but an increasing number of employers prefer their food service managers to hold postsecondary education training in food service management, hospitality management, nutrition and dietetics or related fields.

There are actually a number of ways to obtain the educational preparation you need to become a food service manager. You can earn a certificate, get an associate’s degree or obtain a bachelor’s degree. Certificate programs in food management take a few months to complete. If you are already a working food service professional, eCornell, a subsidiary of Cornell University, offers a certificate program in food service management. By spending three to five hours per week, you can finish the five courses in this online program in as short as three months and earn your Certificate in Foodservice Management from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Penn Foster Career School also offers the Hotel/Restaurant Management Career Diploma Program online. The program is self-paced but can be completed in as short as two months.

Associate’s degrees typically take anywhere from a year and a half to a couple of years to finish. Sullivan University offers the Associate of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management which can be obtained online. The program is designed to take 18 months to complete. Some employers require associate’s degree holders to hold additional work experience in the field before hiring applicants to managerial positions such as that of a food service manager.

Bachelor’s degrees in culinary management, food service management and related fields often serve as the most comprehensive preparation for this career. These programs typically take four years to complete on the average. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division offers the Culinary Management Bachelor of Science Degree. This program is designed to be completed in 38 months and teaches students topics on food and beverage operations, cost controls, human resource management and others. Indiana State University also offers the Food Service Management Program which can be completed in four years. Although bachelor’s degrees take longer to complete than an associate’s degree program, employers typically don’t require any additional work experience requirements as a condition for employment.

Finally, aspiring food service managers can greatly enhance their chances for employment by getting voluntary certification. The Foodservice Management Professional designation is awarded by the National Restaurant Education Foundation to those who are able to pass a written test and comply with other requirements.

Career Spotlight: Food Service Manager

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