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Cooking Classes in San Jose, CA with School Options

The San Jose area has at least five colleges that offer cooking programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all within 40 miles of the city, to make an informed education decision.

San Jose, CA, Cooking Schools

Cooking classes are offered through certificate and associate's degree programs at several colleges in the San Jose area. This article looks at three private and public schools within a 50-minute drive of the city center. It also contains a table that gives information about these schools, such as their type, enrollment and costs. A short paragraph lists two other schools with cooking classes in the San Jose area.

  • The Center for Employment Training at the heart of downtown San Jose offers a culinary arts certificate program that prepares students for entry-level positions.
  • Students at Cabrillo College can pursue several types of certificates or an associate's degree in the field. Cabrillo is 37 miles from downtown San Jose.
  • About 40 miles from downtown San Jose, Laney College offers three certificate programs that include cooking courses.

Comparison of Schools

Students looking for cooking courses will need to consider several factors as they choose a school. The following table offers an overview of factors, including tuition, acceptance rates and graduation rates, in a concise format.

Center for Employment Training Cabrillo College Laney College
School Type <2-year; private not-for-profit 2-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 242* 11,836* 10,891*
Campus Setting Large city Midsize suburb Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $14,200 (for the culinary arts program)* $1,268 in-state; $7,028 out-of-state* $1,230 in-state; $7,110 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2017) 56%* 68%* 68%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions
Retention Rate (2017) 91% full-time* 72% full-time; 48% part-time* 62% full-time; 34% part-time*
Graduation Rate (students who began in 2014-2015) 81%* 26% (12% transfer-out rate)* 25% (10% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Center for Employment Training

The Center for Employment Training offers vocational training in a variety of fields, such as business, culinary arts, education, construction and allied health. It also provides GED training and veterans' education.

Culinary Arts Certificate

The culinary arts certificate program requires that students complete 810 hours of coursework. Students learn to prepare soups, vegetables, sauces and pastries. The program can be completed in seven months, and graduates are prepared for employment as cooks or baking and cooking helpers.

Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College offers certificate and associate's degree programs designed for career training or continuing education. Courses offered through Cabrillo's culinary arts and hospitality management programs cater to students who want to improve their cooking skills or pursue culinary arts careers.

Entry-Level Cook Skills Certificate

Students take three credit hours of classes to learn the basics of baking and appetizers, culinary arts and entrée preparation. The remaining 13 credit hours focus on advanced culinary techniques, sanitation and hands-on labs.

Entry-Level Catering Skills Certificate

The catering skills certificate program is a 16- to 19-credit program that introduces students to entree and baking preparation. Students also take courses in sanitation, beverage operations and garde manger.

Entry-Level Baking Skills Certificate

Courses in the 16-credit baking skills program cover topics in baking, cake decorating, chocolates and wedding cakes. The program ensures that students can plan menus and work as part of a team.

Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Certificate

The core curriculum in this 36- to 39-credit-hour certificate program includes coursework in baking and pastry arts, culinary arts and appetizer preparation. The program requires students to take the same cooking classes that associate's degree students do; however, it doesn't include electives and most of the general education requirements.

Associate of Science in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management

This 60-credit degree program has the same core curriculum as the culinary arts and hospitality management certificate program and includes such electives as sausage making, chocolates, garde manger, cake decorating and ethnic foods. Hospitality-related business courses make up the rest of the curriculum. Students gain hands-on food service experience at Cabrillo's Sesnon House.

Laney College

Laney College offers students the chance to pursue career training, general education, transfer education, co-op work experience and basic skills training. In addition to culinary arts, students can pursue programs in theater, real estate, music, media, dance cosmetology and communications.

Baking and Pastry Certificate

The baking and pastry certificate program is 43-44 credits and prepares students for careers in bakeries. Courses cover topics in nutrition, sanitation, breads, cake decorating and desserts. The curriculum also teaches students about recipes, food costs and culinary career strategies. If students complete an additional 19 credits of general education coursework, they can earn an Associate of Science degree instead of the certificate.

Restaurant Management Certificate

The 45-credit restaurant management certificate program takes four semesters to complete and combines theory coursework with laboratory experiences. Coursework ensures students have an understanding of heat cooking, ingredients, equipment, sanitation, soups, sauces and food presentation. Management courses cover topics in culinary math, dining room management and hospitality supervision.

Cooking Certificate of Proficiency

This certificate program requires only one year to complete and consists of 16 credits of study. Its coursework overlaps with that of the other two certificate programs at Laney, including courses in the fundamentals of the culinary arts, culinary math, hot cooking, determining costs for recipes and food, garde manger, soups and sauces, and cooking in large quantities.

More School Options

Students in the San Jose area can also pursue cooking courses at the City College of San Francisco and Diablo Valley College.


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