Top School with a Professional Chef Training Program - Pasadena, CA

School and Ranking Information

There are about seven programs for aspiring chefs offered within 20 miles of Pasadena. Based on degrees conferred and programs available, the top schools in Pasadena are:

  • Winner: Los Angeles Trade Technical College is accredited by the American Culinary Foundation and has the most program graduates.
  • Runner Up #1: Cerritos College featured the second highest number of conferred culinary degrees and a premiere dining destination, the Café.
  • Runner Up #2: Pasadena College had the highest graduation rate.

School Comparison Chart

Category Los Angeles Trade Technical College Cerritos College Pasadena City College
Location Los Angeles, CA (12.8 miles from downtown Pasadena) Norwalk, CA (25.5 miles from downtown Pasadena) Pasadena, CA
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees 2012-2013 $1,220 (in-state), $6,160 (out-of-state)* $1,340 (in-state), $6,072 (out-of-state)* $1,152 (in-state), $6,504 (out-of-state)*
Degree Levels Offered Certificates; associate's degree Certificates; associate's degree Certificates
Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 125* 88* 4*
Most Popular Programs in 2011-2012 Certificate in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General (103 awarded)* Certificate in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General (42 awarded)* Certificate in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General (4 awarded)*
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Undergraduate Entering Class 15%* 22%* 37%*
Noteworthy LA Trade Tech is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC) One of the five largest community colleges in Los Angeles County Culinary arts instructor honored with faculty lecture award in 2009**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Pasadena City College.

Winner: Los Angeles Trade Technical College

  • The associate degree and certificate programs in culinary arts are recognized as exemplary programs by the ACFEFAC
  • The culinary arts program is more than 80 years old

Students can choose to earn an Associate of Science degree in either culinary arts (professional chef's training) or in professional baking. The associate's degree in culinary arts program consists of 48 credit hours of course work and experiential learning in the major culinary techniques, cooking fundamentals, and the basics of restaurant management. To earn the degree, students will also complete 18 general education credits in composition, history, government, and math. To earn a certificate of completion, students must complete 48 credits of study in culinary preparation, sanitation, nutrition, production, and restaurant management. The degree and certificate in professional baking have similar requirements; however, the focus of the professional course work is on the techniques, ingredients, and science of baking. In addition to classroom experiences, students gain hands-on training through labs and work experiences, as well as departmental activities like culinary competitions and field trips.

Runner-Up #1: Cerritos College

  • Students gain hands-on training by working in the school's dining facility, the Café
  • School ranks 3rd in California among Hispanic-serving community colleges, according to the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education in 2006

In the field of culinary arts, students can earn an Associate of Arts degree in culinary arts/chef's training or professional baking and pastry. The program consists of 60 credits of career-related coursework, general education courses, and elective courses. Certificates of achievement in chef's training (31 credits) and baking/pastry (18 credits) are another option, if students do not want to commit to a two-year program. The career-related coursework consists of basic training in food prep, sanitation, cooking or baking techniques, and food production. At the Café, students gain hands-on training in touch screen point-of-sale (POS) for orders, as well as assisting in planning menus and creating the food itself. Nearly 60% of students identify as Hispanic, with the remaining 40% divided fairly evenly among white, black and Asian students.

Runner-Up #2: Pasadena City College

  • Students participate in a daily kitchen lab
  • Lowest tuition and fees of the three schools with an in-state tuition rate of $1,152 in 2012-2013, according to the NCES

In each of the four semesters of the culinary arts program, students take one ten-credit course that consists of classroom learning and field or laboratory experience. Each semester builds on the previous, and students progress through a two-semester sequence from an introduction to food service to the basics of events management. PCC's curriculum does not include a separate baking/pastry track; however, short-term programs will lead to occupational skills certificates in baking and pastry, catering, and kitchen assistant.

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