Top Rated Culinary Arts School - Sacramento, CA

School and Ranking Information

Students in Sacramento, California, interested in pursuing culinary arts can find three programs within a 25-mile radius of the downtown area. Based on criteria such as graduation rate, number of degrees awarded, and available program information:

  • Winner: American River College (ARC) has the highest retention rate among first-time students, as well as the most degrees awarded in 2011-2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • Runner Up #1: San Joaquin Delta College (SJDC) is 41 miles from Sacramento, it boasts the highest graduation rate at 25%.
  • Runner Up #2: Cosumnes River College (CRC) had the lowest graduation rate, but it does offer a certificate and associate degree program in culinary arts.

School Comparison Chart

Category American River College San Joaquin Delta College Cosumnes River College
Location Sacramento, CA Stockton, CA (45.6 miles from downtown Sacramento) Sacramento, CA
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $1,104 (in-state), $7,200 (out-of-state)** $1,104 (in-state), $5,664 (out-of-state)** $1,104 (in-state), $7,200 (out-of-state)**
Culinary Arts Degree Levels Offered 1-year certificates and 1- to 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 1-year certificates and 1- to 2-year certificates; associate's degrees 1-year certificates; associate's degrees
Culinary Arts Degrees Awarded (all levels) in 2011-2012 66** 28** 10**
Most Popular Culinary Arts Degree Level in 2011-2012 1-Year Certificate in Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management (30 awarded)** Associate's in Culinary Arts (13 awarded)** 1-Year Certificate (5 awarded), Associate's in Culinary Arts Management (5 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2008 Entering Class 22%** 25%** 19%**
Noteworthy Produces more student transfers to UC Davis and CSU Sacramento than any other community college* Students gain experience through a student-run restaurant The school boasts a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and instructional lab

Sources: *American River College, **NCES College Navigator.

Winner: American River College

  • Students participate in the student-run award-winning restaurant the Oak Cafe
  • ARC had a 71% retention rate among full-time, first-time students in 2011, according to the NCES

ARC offers a degree or certificate program in culinary arts/restaurant management through its fine and applied arts division. The certificate program requires a minimum of 43 course units in areas such as food theory and preparation, fine baking and pastry, dining room management, and sanitation. Students seeking an associate's degree must complete the same requirements plus general education courses and an additional number of hours to meet the 60-unit minimum. Both programs require students to work a semester in the campus restaurant the Oak Café. The school also features a restaurant management certificate and baking certificate.

Runner-Up #1: San Joaquin Delta College

  • Students participate in the student-run campus restaurant, The Student Chef
  • Students have the opportunity to join the American Culinary Federation
  • SJDC has over 300 scholarships available to continuing and transfer students

SJDC students interested in culinary arts may pursue a Certificate of Achievement or Associate in Science in Culinary Arts through the arts and communication division. Those seeking a certificate must complete a minimum of 47 units including coursework in baking, menu planning, purchasing and receiving, and food service management. A graduate of the program will be recognized as a 'Culinarian' by the American Culinary Foundation and will be prepared to work as a chef's assistant or transfer to a 4-year school in pursuit of a hotel restaurant management degree. Students interested in an associate's degree must complete 68 units of coursework, including general education courses. The school also offers a baking and pastry certificate and associate's degree program.

Runner-Up #2: Cosumnes River College

  • Flexible class schedules for working adults
  • Students will experience hands-on training through catering activities and the campus cafeteria

CRC offers several options for those interested in culinary arts. Students may pursue an Associate in Arts in Culinary Management. This program requires 33 units of culinary arts coursework, in addition to general education classes and sufficient electives. Those interested in a Certificate of Proficiency can choose to specialize in basic culinary services or community nutrition, which require the completion of 13 or 16 units of coursework, respectively. Students can complete a Certificate of Achievement program that offers concentrations in cooking and supervision, as well as a Management Development Diploma through the National Restaurant Association that requires eight culinary arts courses.

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