School and Ranking Information
Roughly six schools in the Orlando area offer culinary arts courses. Based on program offerings, accreditation, and student-to-faculty ratios, the top three schools in the Orlando area to offer professional chef training programs are:
- Winner: Valencia College offers the only associate degree program as well as three certificate programs. It also has a large student population.
- Runner Up #1: Mid Florida Tech is the only school accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
- Runner Up #2: Orlando Tech is smaller and has lower than average student-to-faculty ratios.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Valencia College||Mid Florida Tech||Orlando Tech|
|School Type||4-year, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees||$2,378 in-state; $9,005 out-of-state (2012-2013)*||$4,665 (total cost of culinary arts program, 2011-2012)**||$4,042 (2012-2013)*|
|Culinary Program Award Levels Offered||Associate's degrees, certificates||Certificate||Certificate|
|Culinary Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||149*||3*||10*|
|Most Popular Culinary Program (2011-2012)||Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef (43 awarded)*||N/A||N/A|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time)||41% (2006 entering class)*||35% (2009 entering class)*||39% (2009 entering class)*|
|Noteworthy||Only 2-year culinary associate's degree program offered in Orlando||Occupational Completion Points (OCP) given with job training||Both full-time and part-time classes offered|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Mid Florida Tech, ****Orlando Tech
Winner: Valencia College
- 61,000 square-foot facility
- All certificate courses offered may be applied towards completion of associate's degree
- Articulation agreements in place for credits to be transferred into Valencia at no additional cost
Valencia College offers an Associate in Science in Culinary Management as well as a culinary arts certificate, a culinary arts management certificate, and a chef's apprentice certificate. Students who have already completed the Food Safety Manager's certification as well as the ServSafe certification may be eligible to receive college credits at no cost. Additionally, a number of culinary programs from Orange County Public Schools Technical Education Centers may transfer into Valencia College's programs.
The college's culinary training facilities include classrooms, banquet rooms, and a 20-station high-tech demonstration kitchen. Classical, international, and American cuisines are all introduced as well as sanitation requirements and nutritional analysis. An Associate in Science in Baking and Pastry Management and a certificate in baking and pastry arts are also available to students, and they can prepare graduates for careers as pastry chefs.
Runner-Up #1: Mid Florida Tech
- Accredited by the American Culinary Federation
- Low student-to-faculty rate of 15:1
- Students must purchase two uniforms
Mid Florida Tech's 1,200-hour commercial food and culinary arts program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in either the commercial foods or culinary arts industries. In order to progress to the Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts 2 program, students must either pass or demonstrate mastery of the Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts 1 program offered by the college. Job training provides Occupational Completion Points (OCP), which give the student early completion options and are linked to employment opportunities. Prior to program completion, all students must meet basic skills as required by the State of Florida.
Runner-Up #2: Orlando Tech
- Low 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio
- Safety and Sanitation License earned
The 1,200-hour Orlando Tech Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts program teaches students entry-level food industry skills, including cooking, table service, inventory, and management. Classes are held Monday through Friday either full-time during the day or part-time either mornings or mid-day. Students must meet a level D for the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education). If further education is desired after program completion, credits awarded in this Orlando Tech program may transfer to Valencia College.