There are many programs available for those interested in becoming a professional chef for a restaurant, hotel or catering business. The programs vary in coursework and length and can be completed with a certification, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree.
10 Chef Schools
The following schools are found in various locations in the United States:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)|
|Institute of Culinary Education||New York, NY||Private for-profit||Diploma||$37,160|
|Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park||Hyde Park, NY||Private not-for-profit||Associate's, Bachelor's||$29,250|
|Culinary Institute of America at Greystone||St. Helena, CA||Private not-for-profit||Certificate, Associate's||$29,170|
|International Culinary Center||Broadway, NY||Private for-profit||Certificate||$47,900|
|Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts - Chicago||Chicago, IL||Private for-profit||Certificate, Associate's||$13,796|
|Kendall College||Chicago, IL||Private for-profit||Associate's, Bachelor's||$19,459|
|New England Culinary Institute||Montpelier, VT||Private for-profit||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$89,710|
|L'Academie de Cuisine||Gaithersburg, MD||Private for-profit||Training Program||$29,775|
|Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts||Boulder, CO||Private for-profit||Diploma, Associate's||$25,400|
|Johnson & Wales University Providence||Providence, RI||Private not-for-profit||Associate's, Bachelors||$29,566|
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Baking and Pastry Arts
- Catering and Restaurant Management
- Chef Training
- Food Preparation
- Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
- Institutional Food Worker
- Meat Cutting
School Selection Criteria
Chef programs can vary in length and depth, and some schools may offer several study options. When selecting a chef school, students should decide whether they wish to enroll in a certificate program, an associate's degree program or a bachelor's degree program. Further considerations when selecting a school may include:
- Students may want to look for schools that have on-site restaurants along with their kitchen facilities, which will provide them with experience working in a real-world restaurant environment.
- Consideration should also be given to the restaurants, hotels and catering companies in which program alumni have placed, because those educational connections can provide internship and employment opportunities for recent graduates.
- When researching schools, students should consider the credentials of each program and are encouraged to seek culinary arts programs accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
- Because apprenticeships play a large role in the education and advancement of chefs, the internship and career placement opportunities offered by culinary universities can be a major consideration when selecting a program.
Certificate programs provide students with the skills needed to perform entry-level food service jobs. Classes focus on basic baking and cooking methods, knife skills and menu planning. Certificate programs typically require 30 credit hours for completion.
Associate's Degree Program
Associate's degree programs are 2-year training programs in the culinary arts. Students learn about various aspects of food service operations, including nutrition, meal planning, purchasing and food preparation. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as chefs, sous-chefs, bakers and station chefs.
Bachelor's Degree Program
Bachelor's degree programs give prospective chefs the chance to develop proficiency in both contemporary and classic culinary techniques and methods, including table d'hôte, à la carte and banquet settings. Advanced food classes in a variety of international cuisine are also offered. Aspiring chefs also learn how to be effective managers by attending courses on marketing, finance, computers and business management.
The type of programs available at culinary schools varies greatly from certificates to bachelor's degrees. Students need to work backwards when making a selection by considering which restaurants or hotels they would like to work for and see what schools provide suitable training or possible job placements.