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Top School with a Culinary Arts Degree - Santa Monica, CA

Students interested in studying culinary arts in Santa Monica, CA, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition, and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

Although there are no schools with culinary arts programs directly in the city of Santa Monica, there are eight schools in some nearby cities. Based on program offerings and the number of certificates and degrees granted, the top 3 schools with culinary arts programs in the Santa Monica, CA, area are as follows:

  • Winner: Los Angeles Trade - Technical College (LATTC) maintains one of the country's longest running culinary arts departments and is the only area not-for-profit school accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC). LATTC granted the most culinary arts certificates and degrees during the 2011-2012 school year.
  • Runner Up #1: Cerritos College offers on-campus opportunities for students to gain practical experience. It has granted the second most culinary arts certificates and degrees in the area.
  • Runner Up #2: Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC) offers a culinary club and has granted the third highest amount of certificates and degrees in the area.

School Comparison Chart

Category Los Angeles Trade Technical College Cerritos College Los Angeles Harbor College
Location Los Angeles, CA (13.1 miles from Santa Monica) Norwalk, CA (24.7 miles from Santa Monica) Wilmington, CA (20.7 miles from Santa Monica)
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $1,220 (in-state), $6,160 (out-of-state)* $1,340 (in-state), $6,072 (out-of-state)* $1,220 (in-state), $6,160 (out-of-state)*
Culinary Arts Program Levels Offered Certificate; associate degree Certificate; associate degree Certificate; associate degree
Culinary Arts Certificates and Degrees Awarded (all levels) in 2011-2012 124* 88* 34*
Most Popular Culinary Arts Program (2011-2012) Culinary arts certificate (103 awarded)* Culinary arts certificate (42 awarded)* Culinary arts certificate (30 awarded)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2008 Entering Class 16%* 20%* 19%*
Noteworthy ACFEFAC accreditation means that graduates with a culinary arts A.A. degree can earn the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Culinarian credential without additional experience or taking an exam Offers professional programs in chef's training as well as bakery and pastry training Culinary students run and supervise an on-campus restaurant

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

Winner: Los Angeles Trade Technical College

  • Culinary arts programs awarded 'exemplary' status by ACFEFAC
  • The culinary program has been in existence for over 65 years
  • Offers multiple hands-on opportunities and an in-school work program

Los Angeles Trade Technical College offers certificate and associate degrees in culinary arts and professional baking. All 4 of the programs have ACFEFAC accreditation, and the culinary arts programs have ACFEFAC 'exemplary' status. LATTC's culinary arts department includes instructors, lecturers, and advisors with professional experience in the field providing students with access to real-world experience and advice. The program combines classroom lectures with hands-on experience in on-campus cafes, restaurants, and catering locations. The college also provides employment opportunities and career placement assistance for graduates.

Runner-Up #1: Cerritos College

  • Cerritos College has offered a culinary arts and baking program for over 25 years
  • Offers hands-on experience through on-campus restaurant and catering programs
  • College listed as one of the top 100 schools granting degrees to Hispanics by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine

Cerritos College offers a 31-credit Chef's Training Certificate of Achievement and an 18-credit Professional Baking and Pastry Certificate of Achievement. Students can complete general education courses and electives in addition to their certificate course requirements to earn an Associate in Arts degree. Culinary students can get hands-on learning opportunities by working in the on-campus Café Cerritos. In 2012, the culinary arts department at Cerritos College was featured by American Health Journal for including healthy cooking in its curriculum. The school also maintains connections within the culinary industry to provide students with employment advice and opportunities.

Runner-Up #2: Los Angeles Harbor College

  • An officer of the ACF's Chefs de Cuisine Association of California chapter serves as a faculty member for the program
  • LAHC student association has a chartered culinary club

Los Angeles Harbor College hosts a culinary arts department that offers an Associate in Science in Culinary Arts, a Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts and cook skills certificates. Students seeking ACF certification must complete a 200-hour internship after their second semester. In 2011, the school introduced a 5-year construction plan for the college that included a new student union building that will house the culinary arts program, including new kitchen and dining areas. In addition, the college engages employers in the field to gather information on job perspectives for graduating students.

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