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Ice Carving Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

For anyone interested in learning the art of ice carving, classes are offered by hospitality and culinary arts schools. Some schools have student clubs and ice carving teams that participate in competitions.

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Programs in hospitality management or culinary arts that feature ice carving classes that cover the fundamentals of carving a sculpture from a block of ice, introduce carving tools and demonstrate safety procedures. Learn about schools that offer these programs and factors to consider when deciding on a program.

Schools with Ice Carving Coursework

The following schools offer ice carving classes in their culinary programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham, WA 2-year, Public Associate's $3,389 (In-state), $8,728 (Out-of-state)
Grand Rapids Community College Grand Rapids, MI 2-year, Public Associate's $6,027 (In-state), $8,715 (Out-of-state)
Henry Ford College Dearborn, MI 2-year, Public Associate's $4,382 (In-state), $5,990 (Out-of-state)
Oakland Community College Bloomfield Hills, MI 2-year, Public Associate's $5,235 (In-state), $7,305 (Out-of-state)
Chattanooga State Chattanooga, TN 2-year, Public Associate's $3,973 (In-state), $15,373 (Out-of-state)

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Consider the following factors when looking for ice carving schools:

  • Many schools offer the opportunity for interested students from all majors to join an ice carving club or team where they can develop their skills and compete in regional festivals for experience.
  • Look for programs with ties to the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) that offers an apprenticeship program that allows culinary students to work with certified ice carving instructors.
  • Students may consider schools where the instructors specialize in ice carving or have professional experience in the art.
  • Students may need to consider the financial differences between attending a 2-year or 4-year school and plan accordingly.

Certificate in Culinary Arts

Ice carving might be taught as part of a garde manger certificate course that also covers cold foods and garnishes. Students learn how to use ice carving tools, including chainsaws, chisels, torches and angle grinders. Culinary arts certificate programs can usually be completed in 1-2 years, and provide training in food preparation through hands-on instruction and classroom demonstrations. Graduates of certificate programs have the appropriate training to obtain an entry-level position at a restaurant or hotel banquet kitchen.

Associate's Degrees in Culinary Arts and Technology

An associate's degree program in culinary arts or culinary technology provides similar training to certificate programs, but typically includes more in-depth courses and general education requirements. Banquet and catering courses may include ice carving, since sculptures are commonly used as decorations at special events. Some schools require a practicum in restaurant service, international cooking or customer service. In an ice carving practicum, a student might design ice sculptures for buffet presentations, weddings or other events.

Bachelor's Degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management

Some culinary and hospitality management schools supplement ice carving classes and labs with optional club activities. Ice carving teams are usually open to students from various departments at different skill levels. Bachelor's degree programs in culinary management are designed to prepare students for leadership positions, such as head chef or restaurant manager. Students might take hands-on courses in cooking labs or participate in internship programs carving ice for banquet facilities.

Students interested in learning ice carving can find classes within culinary arts and hospitality programs. While they are choosing a program to attend, students may want to consider things like instructors' experience with ice, apprenticeship programs and extracurricular activities, such as ice carving clubs and competitions.

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