Creativity can come in many forms. For some, that involves whipping up decadent dishes and presenting food in an aesthetically pleasing manner. For others, it's adding an artistic flair to the face of a model or creating the next hairstyle craze. If you'd like to stretch your imagination and generate art in the form of culinary delights or bold cosmetic designs, keep reading to find out what's available in these fields and how you can let your creativity shine.
If you find yourself improving recipes or conceiving of new ways to prepare food, several career opportunities exist in culinary services. You can become a chef, line cook or baker. You can also work outside of the kitchen in such jobs as catering, restaurant management or food research. Academic programs designed to prepare you for a culinary career usually offer internship opportunities that you can use to decide which job fits you best.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), culinary services is a competitive field with slower-than-average job growth. Cooks and food preparation specialists overall were expected to see a six percent growth in demand, with the best options available in catering or contract services for medical institutions, sporting facilities and office buildings. Professional chef and head cook jobs were anticipated to see the same growth rate, and competition for higher-paying restaurants could limit opportunities. Similarly, restaurant management job growth was estimated at five percent, and a degree in hospitality or restaurant management could improve your marketability.
Though you could find an employer that will provide on-the-job training, culinary certificate and degree programs could give you an edge over the competition. These programs teach you correct food sanitation procedures and how to prepare various foods, such as breads, pastries and cultural dishes. An undergraduate degree in culinary arts might also include instruction in kitchen and staff management, menu planning and food budgeting. You can gain hands-on cooking experience through lab sessions, and you might be able to complete your internship at a local dining establishment or an on-campus restaurant or cafeteria.
With a bachelor's degree, you could seek advanced studies through a graduate certificate or a master's degree program in gastronomy, culinary arts or hospitality management with a culinary emphasis. Graduate studies usually offer you the option to concentrate your studies in such areas as cultural influences on food, food production or business leadership. Some graduate programs also include internship opportunities as well as dedicated research in your field of interest.
In addition to training and formal education, another option that could make you more appealing to potential employers is professional certification. Earning a credential is voluntary, and organizations, such as the American Culinary Foundation (ACF), offer you a variety of certifications. For example, ACF certifications include cooking options for sous chefs, executive chefs, personal chefs or master chefs, as well as baking designations, such as working, executive and master pastry chef. The organization you choose for certification will have specific requirements that can include a combination of training, professional experience and a demonstration of your abilities.
Jobs in cosmetic services are as plentiful as those in the culinary arts. Working in a salon, you could become a hair stylist, makeup artist, manicurist or esthetician. If you're interested in research, you might work in cosmetic sciences to create new products, such as makeup or perfumes. Cosmetic studies programs at the undergraduate level introduce you to basic hair and skin care, hair cutting and styling techniques or makeup applications. In a graduate program, you could focus on the chemistry behind different products to discover what makes them effective.
The BLS anticipated the field of cosmetology would see an overall 20% increase in demand for cosmetology and hair care professionals and a 38% growth for skin care specialists. In 2010, hair stylists and cosmetologists earned a median salary of $22,760, while those who specialized in skin care took home a median income of nearly $29,000.
Many cosmetic service careers require that you obtain state licensure to practice. Earning an esthetician or cosmetology license usually requires that you complete formal education and demonstrate competence in your chosen field through written or practical exams. You can prepare for licensure by completing a certificate or degree program in a number of fields.
Certificate or associate's degree programs in cosmetology teach you how to cut, color and style hair, apply makeup, perform manicures and manage a salon. Some schools offer short certificate programs that focus on one or two cosmetology specialties, though associate's degree programs usually cover multiple areas. You'll practice in the school's lab, but you could participate in an internship at an actual salon.
Bachelor's degree programs in cosmetology aren't common and usually focus on cosmetology instruction or business management. If research is your passion, enrolling in a master's degree program in cosmetic sciences or a similar field could allow you to focus on fragrance or cosmetic chemistry. You might also opt to take courses in management, marketing or education, depending on your career goals.