Catering School

If you're looking for a career that allows you to combine your cooking skills with your people skills, our online Caterer Career Diploma Program can help you prepare to take the first steps toward the job you want. With flexible, online courses, you can learn catering skills and knowledge on your schedule, from home. 

  • Can help prepare students for jobs in catering, food service, and more. 
  • Online catering classes cover professional catering skills, gourmet cooking, and other culinary training, such as kitchen techniques and preparations, food styles, baking and pastry.
  • Gain hands-on practice with in-depth food labs throughout the program to apply what you learned to real recipes and dishes.
  • Graduates of the caterer program are eligible to sit for the National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe Food Handler certification exam at no additional cost. This certification is required for anyone working in an environment that involves food handling.
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $190 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$989 Save $190


$59/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-275-4410 (10AM - 6:30PM ET)

caterer preparing food in kitchen.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to plan menus, ensure quality of meals, and season and cook food according to recipes.
  2. How to market your catering business, including market research, branding, and written agreements for clients.
  3. How to prepare catering options for a variety of events, from weddings to professional dinners. 
  4. How to work with and prepare a variety of dishes, including fish, poultry, and beef, and how presentation and plating can make an impact.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Catering Career Outcomes

Food Service Manager





Penn Foster's online Catering School can help students prepare for a variety of jobs from food service management to starting their own catering company. After completing our Catering Program, students can also earn ServSafe Food Handler certification, which is a requirement for anyone working in an environment that includes handling food.

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in certain fields are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your program. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Catering Course Curriculum

  • 10 courses
  • 25 exams
  • 37.1 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Estimated completion time:

  • Fast track = 3 months
  • Average time = 6 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from May 2021 - April 2022, excluding withdrawals.

In your online catering courses, you'll learn the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful caterer or food service manager. Your classes include:

  • Dynamics of Catering
  • Cooking Basics
  • The Culinary Professional
  • Breakfast, Garde Manger, and World Cuisines


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.

Show Full Curriculum

Catering School Student Success Stories

Penn Foster’s Catering classes can help prepare you for the first step in your culinary career. This program has helped recent graduates find new jobs or start their own businesses while learning at their own pace. Learn more about Penn Foster graduates' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them.
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Salem S.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“Penn foster has one of the best set ups for working at your own pace. I enjoyed the professors and the way the coursework was set up. The efficiency is absolutely great.”

Looking for training for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
Learn More

Catering School Tuition

Take the first steps toward a new career with our online Caterer Career Diploma Program. Simply choose from one of our low-cost customized payment plans below and get started today! 

Option 1: Pay in full

Save up to $190 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$989 Save $190

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

Cost of Program


  • Pay $59 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

cost of program


  • Pay $59 per month
  • Start for $39 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-275-4410 (10AM - 6:30PM ET)

Request Info

Our Proven Catering Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their professional goals


  • Start anytime 
  • No exam due dates 
  • Self-paced 


  • Digital study guides
  • Self-check quizzes
  • Simulations and videos


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Online student community
  • Dedicated Learner Center


  • Expert faculty
  • Robust learning resources
  • Dedicated student services

Related Programs

Catering School FAQs

What certificates do I need for catering?

Certification and licensing requirements for caterers can vary from state to state. However, all catering and food service workers are required to have ServSafe Food Handler certification whether you own your own catering business or work for someone else. If you choose to start your own business, you may also be required to obtain further certifications and licenses.

How do I start a catering business?

In order to start a catering business, you need to take a few first steps. After learning how to run a business and refining your cooking skills, you'll need to obtain at least a few licenses or permits in order to start your catering business. These can include registering your business, applying for a health permit, and if you choose to serve alcoholic beverages, a liquor license. For these credentials, you'll most likely work with your local government office or a state agency.

Is catering a good career?

Catering can offer a lot of opportunities, including owning your own business. With more large events requiring the expertise of a caterer, from weddings to family reunions, there are opportunities for skilled caterers to find new clients and build their reputations. Additionally, if you choose not to start your own catering business, you can find a variety of jobs in the culinary industry, from working for event planners to cooking for local restaurants.

How do I become a caterer from home?

Through online catering classes, you can take the first steps toward becoming a caterer around your schedule. You'll refine your cooking skills, build an understanding of catering large events, and even learn how to start and market your business.