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Culinary Arts Schools in Houston with Program Summaries

Research culinary arts schools in Houston, which currently has more than three colleges offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs and certificates for three schools within 40 miles of downtown Houston and decide which program is right for you.

Houston Culinary Arts Programs

Students interested in the culinary arts have a few school choices in the Houston area. This article highlights three of these schools, which are all within 45 minutes of downtown. There is a table comparing valuable school information, as well as a short paragraph discussing another school option, near the end of the article.

  • The largest school offering culinary arts programs in the Houston area is Houston Community College. Its associate degree and certificate programs in culinary arts are offered on the school's Central campus, which is 1.8 miles from downtown Houston.
  • San Jacinto College, which is 18.4 miles from downtown, offers culinary arts, chef training and pastry chef associate degree programs. The school also offers certificates in culinary arts and chef training, as well as pastry chef occupational certificates (OC).
  • Situated 35.7 miles from downtown Houston, Alvin Community College offers an associate degree and certificate in culinary arts, as well as a certificate in culinary management.

Comparison of Schools

Choosing the right school can often be a tough decision. Check out the table below for information on tuition rates, enrollment numbers and more.

Houston Community College San Jacinto College Alvin Community College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (Fall 2014) 58,276* 27,911* 4,837 *
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $1,632 in-district; $3,360 in-state; $3,756 out-of-state* $1,408 in-district; $2,416 in-state; $3,688 out-of-state* $1,514 in-district; $2,594 in-state; $3,794 out-of-state*
% of Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014) 70%* 57%* 43%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) Open admissions Open admissions Open admissions
Full-time Student Retention Rate (2013-2014) 56%* 66%* 59%*
Graduation Rate (Students who started Fall 2011) 12%* 15%* 16%*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

Houston Community College

Houston Community College's courses are taught by chefs who have worked in the industry. Students learn their craft in professional, state-of-the-area culinary labs.

Culinary Arts Certificate

The certificate program takes three semesters to complete. Students generally complete the same courses offered in the first year of the associate degree program, excluding the general education courses. They also must complete a co-op or a practicum.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

This degree program takes five semesters to complete or longer if the student is enrolled part-time. Students take courses in food preparation, saucier, garde manger and charcuterie, among others. Students complete a practicum or a co-op (with a lecture component).

San Jacinto College

San Jacinto College students can complete their education while working in the industry. Students receive basic training and may take a job as an apprentice chef or cook after graduation. Students may specialize in becoming a baker's helper, baker or an assistant cook.

Culinary Arts - Pastry Chef Certificate of Technology

Students in this program earn 39 credits over three terms. Courses include beverage and food controls principles, advanced pastry shop, safety, sanitation, baking fundamentals and hospitality supervision.

Culinary Arts - Culinary Arts Certificate of Technology

Students take most of the courses in the Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts - Culinary Arts, except for the general education courses. The certificate is shorter (42 credits vs. 62 credits). Students are still required to complete a practicum.

Culinary Arts - Chef Training Certificate of Technology

Students take courses in food preparation, service skills, beverage and food composition principles, maintenance and use of professional kitchen equipment and supervisory skills. Students complete a practicum as part of the certificate program.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts - Culinary Arts

Students participate in field trips, labs and lectures as part of this program. Courses include baking fundamentals, quantity procedures, international cuisine and garde manger, along with general education courses. Students complete a practicum, which may or may not be paid.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts - Chef Training

This program offers working students a flexible schedule. Students are taught basic culinary skills, which will allow them to pursue a position as an apprentice chef or cook.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts - Pastry Chef

Courses in this degree program cover confections and chocolate, pastry and baker special topics, cake decorating, baking fundamentals and bakeshop production. Students must also complete a practicum and take general education classes in the third and fourth terms.

Alvin Community College

Students enrolled in a culinary arts program at Alvin Community College should be prepared to take an entry-level position upon graduation. Students are expected to gain all the necessary educational components needed to obtain American Culinary Federation certification.

Culinary Arts Certificate

This is a 1-year, 3-semester certificate. Students take culinary arts classes (24 hours), management classes (11 hours), a class in computer science and a practicum that lasts a semester. Courses include international cuisine, garde manger, culinary arts and current events, healthy cuisine principles and management of hospitality human resources, among others.

Culinary Arts - Culinary Management Certificate

The aim of this certificate program is to teach students basic management skills for the food service industry. Student should be ready to take an entry-level position in kitchen management upon graduation. Courses include food planning and production, culinary arts and current events, computer applications and a practicum.

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Students in this program must take eight core classes in culinary arts, six classes in management and general education and a 2-semester practicum. The program takes five semesters to complete.

Other School Option

Another public school that students may consider is Lee College in Baytown, Texas. It is 26.1 miles (34 min) from Houston and has a student population of 6,416 undergraduates. It offers two certificate programs in culinary arts.

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