Top Schools for Chef Training

Most chef training programs are offered at the undergraduate level; students usually earn an associate or bachelor's degree in culinary arts or a related field. However, there are a few graduate-level options as well.

School Overview

The Culinary Arts Institute of America is the oldest culinary school in the country and for that reason, is considered to be one of the best schools in the nation for aspiring chefs. The three other universities profiled below were selected because they earned high regional or national rankings from U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY

School Highlight: The Culinary Institute of America has an alumni network of over 49,000 people from all kinds of professions in the culinary industry.

As one of the world's premier culinary institutions, the Culinary Institute of America offers an Associate degree in culinary arts, an AOS for Advanced Career Experience students and a Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Culinary science. Graduates of the Culinary Institute of America have access to an alumni network consisting of top executive chefs, food writers, caterers, and pastry chefs. In addition to Hyde Park, the school has campuses in Texas and California, as well as an international location in Singapore. As of 2016, CIA alumni owned and operated more than 20 restaurants in the New York area.

Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI

School Highlight: Johnson and Wales University offers tutoring, a women's center and placement services for its students.

Johnson and Wales University (JWU) ranked 67th among the best regional universities in the North, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2017. In 2014, there were 14 JWU alumni nominated for a James Beard Award. JWU offers Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts. Four-year students can also major in culinary nutrition, food service management or food service entrepreneurship. Experiential learning takes place at JWU under the guidance of expert chef-instructors at campus locations in Miami, Charlotte and Denver.

Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

School Highlight: Drexel University is the nation's first major university to operate a fully wireless campus.

Drexel University offers the only mandatory co-op education program in the state of Pennsylvania, as well as study and internship programs in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Relevant programs include a B.S. in Culinary Arts or Culinary Science. Students can also pursue joint Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs and minors in food science and culinary arts. Drexel is home to the Academic Bistro, which includes several professional kitchens, a full-service dining room, wine cellar and bar. The school was ranked #96 among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

University of Alaska in Anchorage, AK

School Highlight: The university is home to a large multicultural center.

At the University of Alaska in Anchorage, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. The program, which is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation, includes practical training in cooking and baking as well as instruction in safety and sanitation procedures and facility management. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad at the Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy. As of 2017, the University of Alaska was ranked #73 among universities in the West region by U.S. News & World Report.

Top Culinary Schools

Here are some more well-regarded culinary schools:

  • Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN was the first college in Indiana.
  • Clark College in Vancouver, WA, is Washington's third-largest community technical college.
  • Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, TX, offers on- and off-campus classes.
  • Mohave Community College in Kingman, AZ, has an extensive distance-learning program.
  • Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, OR, has a student-run restaurant.
  • Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver, CO, has one of Colorado's highest graduation and job placement rates.

Aspiring chefs can find great culinary arts programs at career-focused schools and within community colleges or larger universities.

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