Education Data

There are several types of training options available to industry employers and people interested in working in food and beverage manufacturing through colleges, universities, private trainers and associations. The research indicates that in some regions training options are sufficient to meet industry needs, and in others thereare gaps. Similarly, there is adequate training available in specific areas of study relevant to the industry, and deficits in others.

Educational Pathways

University programs — both undergraduate and graduate options — offer students the opportunity to focus on the theoretical background and applications to a number of industry topics. These specializations and courses equip graduates with a range of skills applicable to positions in the industry, such as research and development or quality control, for instance. Programs offered by universities are primarily in the areas of Food Science & Technology and in Food Science & Nutrition

As the industry goes through a shift in skills requirements, college programs allow students to receive specialized training in programs directly applicable to the needs of the industry. Students gain valuable hands-on experience in industry processes and practices and can go on to further studies in post-graduate certificate programs aimed to develop and specialize their skillset.

The vast majority of programs offered by colleges, institutes and private institutions are in the area of Baking & Pastry (16% of programs) and in the Culinary Arts (40%). There are numerous programs in these two areas that are conducive to an undergraduate diploma or certificate as well as being eligible for recognitions as an apprentice. Those programs that are of a more technical nature are classified under the Professional or Technical Group. Continuing education programs (offering more than one course and resulting in a certificate) represent more than 10% of programs offered by this type of institution.

For those looking to improve their skills or learn from an industry mentor on-the-job, an apprenticeship training option provides a high level of skills training and development. Offered in 45 institutions across the country (excluding Quebec, where the vocational/technical training approach is used). These programs help supply skilled workers to fill much-needed high skill level positions. Most programs prepare for a career as a Professional Cook or a Baker, and provide different levels of training, from pre-employment introductory programs to 3-year programs allowing to apply to a Red Seal certification or Certified Journeyperson recognition. An overview of the 78 programs that were identified is presented in the table below.

Certificate Programs

There are three types of certificate programs with the followingadmissions requirements:


Foundational programs that do not require any previous credential other than a secondary school diploma and English competency.

Post Graduate

Post Graduate programs that require a previous post-secondary diploma or degree as admission requirement and may also require work experience.


Professional development programs that may or may not require acredential, but will require significant work experience.

Most certificate programs are 1 year or less to complete and a few are delivered online. Foundational programs are valuable to individuals that are seeking a quick access to entry level employment. Overall, certificate programs tend to be industry-focused introducing food science theory, but within the context of its application in the work setting.

Diploma Program

Diploma programs are generally two years in length with a focus on entry for students into the workforce. These programs are geared for individuals who are ready to make a commitment to a career path inthe industry. Often diploma programs lay the foundation for additional schooling to upgrade from a diploma to a degree.

Diploma programs generally require a secondary school diploma with specific requirements for credits in chemistry, math and English. There are two types of diploma program with the following admissionrequirements.

  • Foundational programs that typically require a high school diploma and may require specific subjects.
  • Post Graduate programs that require a previous credential such as adegree program and may require work experience.

Degree Programs

There are many post-secondary degree programs in food science and technology in Canada. Each province and territory is responsible for advanced education and there is limited agreement for recognition of credentials as the course work supporting them is so variable. Food Science is affiliated with programs that are health oriented e.g., Food Science and Nutrition, or more applied e.g., Food Science and Technology and Culinary. More recently, there is a shift to more responsive programming for industry in areas of food safety and food processing. Engineering programs in food engineering andbioprocess engineering are also becoming more common.

Apprenticeship Programs

Of the available trades across the country, the two traditional trades of Baker and Meat Cutter are the only trades that are listed in each province and territory that are related to food production. Typically, the off- the-job training programs for these two trades are for those in the trade that are “customer facing” work, such as in retail work situations.

Although individuals who complete apprenticeships could work in industrial settings, the training programs are not designed for the work considerations or environments in industrial food and beverage processing facilities. It also appears that although these trades are listed, they may not have all the componentsfor apprenticeship in place.

Number of programs by area of study

Area of StudyNumber of ProgramsShare of Total
Beverage Processing245%
Culinary Arts13227%
Food & Beverage Services388%
Food Science & Technology8217%
Food Processing Operations82%
Food Safety/Quality112%
Food Science & Nutrition6613%
Other Food Studies122%
Grand Total490100%

Number of programs by province and territory

Beverage Processing6115111
Culinary Arts3411511581222
Food & Beverage Services642242
Food Science & Technology3879232462
Food Processing Operations170
Food Safety/Quality114221
Food Science & Nutrition79531319613
Other Food Studies5511
Grand Total8548222819856224169

Distribution of institutions that offer programs relevant to the food and beverage processing industry

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