Cooking Classes in Portland, Oregon with School Overviews

There are 3 schools within 20 miles of Portland, OR, that have cooking classes. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Portland, OR, Schools with Cooking Classes

Students looking to take cooking classes within the Portland, OR, metropolitan area only have a few school options. This article looks at 3 schools that are within 25 minutes of the downtown area, along with the programs they offer. It also includes a table of information, such as enrollment, costs and graduation rates, that may help prospective students compare the schools.

  • Nine miles from downtown Portland, Clark College, in Vancouver, Washington, offers the greatest number of cooking facilities and learning options for cooking-related fields in the region. It offers two certificates and two associate degree programs. Clark College's culinary arts programs have been recognized as best in the state by the National Restaurant Association.
  • In addition to preparing students for cooking careers through a certificate and an associate degree program, Mount Hood Community College's cooking programs also help students prepare for work in related hospitality and tourism fields. This school is about 17 miles from downtown Portland.
  • Related training offered by Portland Community College can be found at 4 campuses in the Portland Community College system. One is just 8 miles from downtown. PCC's culinary assistant training program is the only cooking program in the region that is specifically dedicated to helping special needs students.

Clark College

This school's cooking programs allow for students to earn hands-on training by working in campus food service facilities and classroom environments. If students are enrolled in the baking programs, they have the opportunity to work in a simulated retail bakery where baked goods are made for and sold to students and campus faculty.

Certificate of Proficiency in Baking

A majority of this program's training is offered through baking theory and laboratory courses. Students enrolled in these courses may learn how to follow recipes, perform baking mathematics, communicate with other kitchen workers, establish baking routines and operate baking equipment. This program can take students about a year to complete.

Certificate of Proficiency in Cooking

Students can gain cooking training by completing food service, kitchen set-up, food production and cooking theory courses. Students can also choose to complete extra courses that cover topics in meat cutting, wine appreciation, soups and sauces. Students can earn professional experience by participating in optional cooperative work experience.

Associate in Applied Science in Baking/Bakery Management

Along with the content covered in the baking certificate program, students must complete several courses covering bakery management theory and laboratory training. In order to graduate, students are also expected to pass general education courses.

Associate in Applied Science in Cooking/Restaurant Management

In addition to the courses required through the cooking certificate program, students are expected to fulfill general education requirements. Additional required courses can include restaurant management, management theory and advanced kitchen set-up.

Mount Hood Community College

Students enrolled in this school's cooking programs can develop their skills through in-class and internship environments. Every year, cooking students also have the opportunity cook for a gala event while working under a local executive chef.

Culinary/Catering Certificate

This program may take students about a year to complete. Topics covered during this program can include restaurant operations, safety and sanitation, meal planning, hospitality industry marketing, beverage services, baking and business etiquette. Students are required to participate in an internship before completing the program.

Associate in Applied Science in Culinary/Catering

This program can take students up to 2 years to complete. In addition to being required to complete the courses found in the related certificate program, students need to pass general education courses. Students must also complete 2 internships before graduation.

Portland Community College

Students have been enrolling in this school system's culinary assistant certificate program since the 1970s. The culinary assistant certificate program was previously honored as Oregon's best special needs program by the Oregon Association for Vocational Special Needs Personnel.

Culinary Assistant Certificate

In this program students with documented learning disabilities can earn a 1-year culinary assistant certificate. Students enrolled in this program can find out how to hold jobs in the food and custodial service industries. They can also learn how to handle food safely and be safe on the job. Every day during this program, students are expected to work 5 hours with campus food services and 1 hour in the classroom. Topics covered during this program include following directions, attendance, interviewing techniques, teamwork skills and accepting criticism.

Comparison of Schools

The following table makes it easy for individuals to compare important aspects of these schools and arrive at a sound decision on their training.

Clark College Mount Hood Community College Portland Community College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2011) 12,893* 9,905* 34,632*
Campus Setting Midsize city Large suburb Large city
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $3,559 in-state; $8,749 out-of-state* $4,219 in-state; $9,844 out-of-state* $3,124 in-state; $7,660 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2011) 68%* 72%* 52%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions
Retention Rate (2011) 60% for full-time students; 49% for part-time students* 55% for full-time students; 36% for part-time students* 60% for full-time students; 45% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (2011) 28% (17% transfer-out rate)* 18% (32% transfer-out rate)* 14% (22% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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